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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

President's New Year Message: A Year of Accomplishment - What's On the Horizon for ISA

Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg,
ISA CAPP, President
Happy New Year ISA! 2014 has been a year of significant accomplishment for our society. Substantial advancements are also in the planning stages for 2015 with increased benefits and services to members, expanded education offerings, and increased industry recognition. Here's a wrap-up of what we've achieved in 2014 and what to expect from 2015.

Where We Are Today
  • With more than 800 members, ISA is distinguished as the professional organization of choice for personal property appraisers in the United States and Canada. Nothing speaks more convincingly: The majority of personal property appraisers continue to choose ISA for our training and professional association.
  • For the first time in our history, sponsor exhibition space is sold out eight weeks in advance of our annual conference! Only a handful of advertising opportunities to partner with ISA at conference remain. New partners this year include Artnet, Chubb, Eli Wilner & Co., Freeman's Auction, Great Gatsby's,, Prices 4 Antiques, The Potomack Company, Stevens Company, William Bunch Auctions and Worthpoint, while our longstanding supporters, Bonham's, Collector Systems,, Heritage, Jackson's, and Quinns maintain their commitment to ISA. 
    This is an indisputable indicator that networking with loyal ISA appraisers is increasingly recognized as a significant opportunity for industry allies. It also speaks to the strength of our conference program. Many thanks to our Resource Development Committee chair, Fred Winer, for organizing the RDC's directed efforts over the past two years to this dramatic result.
  • In March, 2014, we completed a three-year process of significantly tightening and raising our credentialing and requalification policies. Our requalification requirement is the most rigorous in the industry. In addition to 85 hours of continuing education and current USPAP compliance, every ISA member is required to attend our 15 hour requalification course every five years. Our Requalification Course covers advancements in appraisal theory and methodology and reports are submitted for peer and instructor review. In choosing to strictly enforce our unique requalification requirements, ISA demonstrates faith in the professionalism of our members and your commitment to advancing excellence. Requiring uniform adherence to our standards also ensures that the public's trust in the ISA credential is well placed. 
  • Our unique approach of marrying appraisal theory and methodology to advanced product knowledge, and a collaborative culture of shared expertise, is gaining recognition as the gold standard in the discipline of appraising.
  • Another very strong financial year, where we have added significantly to ISA's reserves and long-term economic health and security.
What's New and on the Horizon: Education and Credentialing
  • In 2014, more than 500 members participated in ISA's online and onsite courses. Hundreds of members have now participated in our new, state-of-the-art, dynamic online learning system, including 68 new members who have begun our Core Course in Appraisal Theory and Methodology at their own pace. Our 2014 Educational Roundup may be found here.
  • In 2014, ISA instructors Leon Castner and Cathy Peters became qualified by the AQB to teach USPAP, enabling ISA to offer members USPAP compliance in-house.
  • Also for the first time, USPAP 15 hour and 7 hour courses are available to our members through our online platform.
  • ISA's Requalification Course is now available online, allowing members who are challenged to find the time or resources to travel to requalify, an affordable and accessible way to maintain our hard-earned credential. 
  • Expanded Asian Studies courses are in development. ISA's Asian Studies Week 2015 will be held at the Northern Illinois University campus in Naperville, Illinois. In June, two courses will be offered: Dr. Daphne Rosenzweig's course: The Appraisal of Japanese Prints, and a new course developed by Susan Lahey, A Foundation in Asian Ceramics. A total of six related courses are planned to be available by Spring 2016. An Asian Studies Specialty will be available to candidates who complete a minimum number of required courses. 
  • The Appraisal of Antiques and Residential Contents Course Manual has begun a full color
    update and content revision under a taskforce chaired by ISA Board Secretary, Libby Holloway. Substantial new content will be added including comprehensive chapters on research methodology, comparable selection criteria, and advanced report writing. 
  • An Educational Taskforce, chaired by Judith Martin, ISA CAPP, reviewed our credentialing process and suggested adjustments to our report submission standards, which were adopted by the Board. The taskforce represented a broad spectrum of ISA members including board members, committee chairs and our Director of Education. CAPP candidates will now submit a single Broad Evidence Appraisal Report. This accomplishes the objective of testing proper methodology for different types of assignments. It prepares our CAPPs for assignments for litigation support and positions ISA as a leader in methodology training for our highest level of credentialing. A summary of the new requirements may be found here.
  • ISA held several highly successful educational webinars, including How to Write a Broad Evidence Report by Leon Castner, ISA CAPP, which was attended by 70 ISA appraisers and colleagues. If you missed it, sign up for the archived version here.
What's New and On the Horizon: Services to Members
  • Website optimization and enhancement: Members are reporting a noticeable increase in referrals from the ISA webpages. This is not surprising. As analytics reveal, hits to our Find an ISA Member search have increased by 544% over last year. Direct links from Google have increased by 664% over last year (8,212 vs. 1,236).  Newly elected Board member Perri Guthrie has taken on the project of reviewing our entire website. Look for updates and enhancements in 2015. 
  • ISA has continued to focus on assisting members to successfully market their appraisal practices. Each year at conference we unveil a new, professionally designed resource. This year, we have produced an ISA client-oriented newsletter, focused on specialized, appraisal-related content of interest to gatekeepers and prospective and existing appraisal clients. This positions our members as experts in the appraisal industry, which has the potential to be more effective in building credibility than direct promotion. Like all other ISA promotional materials, the newsletter will be customizable and available to all ISA members through the Member Resources link on the website. 
  • For a complete list of how ISA is working to help members market our practices, see this blog post, and don't miss Small Business Results President, Shelly Berman-Rubera's presentation at Assets on Growing and Propelling your Appraisal Practice.
  • The ISA Membership Committee and staff are in the process of designing an integrated plan
    our first formal membership recruitment campaign. Over the past few years, ISA has benefited by an infusion of new members, bringing vitality and new ideas for programs and benefits for members to our society. We are investigating what has attracted these new members, and how we can encourage this wave of enthusiasm for ISA to continue to benefit our society. Judith Martin will be chairing the committee.
What's New and On the Horizon: Industry Recognition, Standing and Collaboration
  • ISA is in the process of designing a directed campaign to raise the profile of the ISA credential with industry users in the Insurance, Estate Planning and Legal Communities. Look for details and announcements over the next few months, including a series of webinars comprising a Professional Education Exchange between ISA and Chubb.
  • The first in a collaborative series of educational programs with industry leaders and experts
    was launched with a strongly-attended webinar offered by Eli Wilner on frame valuation and the reconstruction of the monumental frame for Washington Crossing the Delaware.
  • ISA's application for sponsorship in The Appraisal Foundation was approved early in 2014. This allowed our society a meaningful voice in the development of new proposed Minimum Criteria Standards for Personal Property Appraisers. Formal sponsorship increases ISA's credibility as an industry leader, and allows for more significant input into advocating for appropriate standards. 
  • The Affinity Business Partner (ABP) program is attracting new business alliances and sources of referrals for ISA members, and is formalizing our relationships with existing friends and sponsors.
  • Our conference roster of speakers reads like a Who’s Who of industry leaders, each recruited for recognized expertise in discovering, weighing and applying the often-overlooked critical impacts to value: Provenance, Quality, Rarity, Originality, Condition and Current Market Trends. Included are renowned scholars from Winterthur, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, premiere gallerists, distinguished principals and departments heads from Christie’s, Freeman’s, Gurr Johns, the IRS, NYU, and Rago. Please visit our conference program here.
What's On the Horizon: Implementation of ISA's Three-Year Strategic Plan

In November 2014, the ISA Board of Directors, Education Director and ISA staff participated in a strategic planning retreat to prioritize and plan for the continuing success of our Society. At our March meeting, your board will review, finalize and formally approve the plan. The wording of the mission of our society may change slightly, but remains focused on advancing appraisal excellence. Once approved, the strategic plan will be available to members. Highlights include advancing ISA's industry standing among users of appraisal services, growing membership to 1000 by the close of 2016, and continuing to increase benefits for members, including expanded educational programming.

A taskforce chaired by Board Vice-President Christine Guernsey will work with Executive Director Joe Jackson and staff to identify specific goals and plan strategies to ensure implementation of ISA's Strategic Three-Year Plan.  
A Call to Volunteerism: Be the Change You Hope to See in ISA!

I close my second New Year's post as your President, with a call to volunteerism. Implementation of
our strategic plan, increasing benefits to members, raising our educational standards, growing membership: All are achievements dependent on the time and efforts of dedicated volunteer members donating many hundreds of hours a year with the singular goal of advancing our society.

Be the change you hope to see in ISA! In a few weeks, ISA Vice President Christine Guernsey will be blogging to you about specific volunteer opportunities. We need more human resources to continue on the path of advancing our Society. If you approve of the direction of ISA, join us! If you don't, join us and help redirect!

I wish us all a healthy and prosperous 2015 as we continue to grow together. I look forward to seeing you in Philadelphia, to continue our legacy of sharing a cocktail and a war story, laughing and learning together.  

Warmest wishes,

Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg, ISA CAPP
ISA President

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Growing and Propelling Your Appraisal Practice - Part 2: A Business Design for Appraisal Success

By Darlene Hines, ISA CAPP

Darlene Hines, ISA CAPP
This blog is one of a three-part series of ISA NOW posts on business development. Read Part 1 by ISA President, Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg, “Growing and Propelling Your Appraisal Practice - Part 1: Time and Gatekeepers.” And stay tuned for Part 3: "Unique Business Challenges for Appraisers and Underlying Opportunities."

During my earlier years in the South, coming from a family of ten siblings and limited income, I always dreamed of having the opportunity of someday walking through big, beautiful houses. This opportunity was granted through the appraisal profession. After joining the ISA in the fall of 1997, I knew I had entered a new and exciting career. I had a very strong desire to make this business work.  

After completing the Core Courses and Antiques and Residential Contents Course in 1998, I became an Accredited Member and started appraising. My goal was to have my CAPP status (Certified Appraiser) in three years. In 2001, I received my CAPP. I would like to share a few things that worked for our business, Nostalgia Antiques Appraisal Services, LLC.

SETTING GOALS: Goals should be set high enough for you to achieve great things. A good example that has worked for me is to focus on achieving the high-value appraisal jobs while coordinating smaller ones. This may be necessary until you obtain a steady workflow. Living in a large city, I would schedule all appraisals in the same area on the same day to cut down on travel time. One day a week, I would schedule the one-to-five small-item clients in my office on the same day. I planned time each day to review my goals and my strategies for how to accomplish them.

MAKING THE GOALS EXCITING & CHALLENGING: Another goal was to become active in the ISA, but on my time. Many times we let obstacles define our destiny, so we settle for goals that may be mediocre. If your efforts are mediocre or average so too will be the payoff. When I first attended an ISA conference reception, being the only African American, it was an eye-opener to say the least. It appeared as if everyone was in groups talking to each other and I was just standing around, ready to go back to my room, thinking to myself, “Where are the people who look like me?” Then I remembered what my mother always said, “No person can determine what situation you may be in, only God, so make the best of it.” So with great enthusiasm, I began introducing myself to the people in the room, getting to know them. Over the years, I have made many great friends and contacts in ISA while serving on the Board of Directors and various committees.

NOT OVERESTIMATING THE COMPETITION AND UNDERESTIMATING MYSELF: We are better than we sometimes think. I recall my first appraisal was a client who wanted his coins appraised. I was very uncertain how to handle this situation, so I called my ISA instructor, Shirley Northern. She gave me the best advice anyone could give. She said, “you are an appraiser, the process for appraising is the same.  Take the account and call one of your ISA colleagues that appraises coins.” The light bulb had turned on.

STOPPED WAITING FOR THE PHONE TO RING AND NETWORKED: Join a structured and social networking group. Business Networking International (BNI) and my local Chamber of Commerce were good choices for me. There are BNI groups in just about every city. This is a structured networking group that meets at the same time each week, conduct a 1.5 hour meeting and pass referrals. Only one person from each profession is accepted. The Chamber of Commerce is more of a social networking group. Also, join other organizations that may have members that you are targeting. I recently attended the Financial Advisors and Estate Planners Council event at the Detroit Institute of Art (a suggestion made by Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg at Assets 2014). I met eight new attorneys and trust officers. I have recently been accepted as an associate member of this organization and received one large appraisal assignment.

Networking should be a planned, focused experience. Decide who you want to meet and build a business relationship. I plan to meet three people at every event I attend. We exchange cards, meet one to one for coffee, tea, or lunch to learn more about each other’s businesses. I also ask if we can connect on LinkedIn and Facebook. We plan another meeting a month later to continue to build the business relationship.

UTILIZING A WEBSITE & SOCIAL MEDIA: Over 60% of my business comes from my website and social media. Start a Facebook and LinkedIn page for your business. Invite your friends to “like” your Facebook business page. Be sure to log in for 15 minutes each day to check activity, respond to post and articles. Post new information helpful to your target audience and not so much about you. Log into your LinkedIn page about 15 minutes per day to make sure to follow your company, get status updates and posts. Or hire someone to do it for you.

STAYING IN FRONT OF OUR CLIENTS FOR REPEAT BUSINESS: Always send a card to your clients thanking them for their business. Follow up with a call asking for a testimonial or have them complete a survey. Make a list of your most valuable 25 clients and keep them in front of you. On the front cover of each of my appraisals, near the bottom edge I type “NEXT APPRAISAL UPDATE DUE…..” with a two-year-out date. I also put a reminder in my computer file.

RETURNING PHONE CALLS: Create a system so you are able to return calls within 24-48 hours. Many times we are too busy to return calls but taking the time is important. You may need to hire an assistant or intern. I usually help callers find other solutions if we cannot help them. Many of these callers refer us to other clients that can use our service. After all, part of our profession is being problem solvers. You never want your business to have the reputation of not returning calls. I have received several clients because the appraiser did not return the call.

MENTORING AND DEVELOPING A TEAM: We developed a team of other ISA appraisers in the area and interns that want to learn more about appraising. We plan monthly team meetings or seminars with the interns. The interns are trained to perform clerical duties during our appraisal process. The local ISA appraisers assist with research & data intake. I also team with other appraisers to complete appraisal projects.

TRYING TO DO OUR BEST WORK: Make sure your work has a professional appearance and is written to the current ISA and USPAP standards. Invest in a binding machine to give the appraisal a professional look or have it done at the office supply store. We have professional brochures and business cards, an embossing tool for our documents, and use Collectorpro software.

CONCLUSION: Many times due to adverse situations and lifestyles, we struggle to make our businesses work. Not everyone can appraise full time and may need to seek other financial options. I have given you only a few practical things that worked for me. I started this process at a time in my life when I was working full time, raising a family, working on a master’s degree, and appraising part-time. At the same time, my husband was developing the antique store business. My goal was to be a full-time appraiser at our antique store. As a result of a shift in the market a few years ago, the store is no longer operating, but our appraisal business remains. The real key to this success was faith in God; re-directing our focus, setting goals; achieving those goals hour by hour, week by week, and year by year; while remaining active within the profession; being consistent, creating excitement, and making it work.

At this stage of my life, the focus is to reach back and mentor others in the profession to be successful.

Author’s website:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Philadelphia: The City of Murals

Brady Dreasher, ISA AM
By Brady Dreasher, ISA AM

Street artists work when they can, sometimes around the clock, during the day but mostly at night, under street lighting, amid all weather conditions and unforgiving laws that most wouldn't dare go up against. I believe that says a lot about their underlying passion for producing art -- mural art. 

They find the largest and sometimes most undesirable medium base possible and turn it into something that causes people to excavate walls and pay large sums of money to acquire. Real Estate moguls like Tony Goldman (also curator of Houston Bowery Wall), Thierry Guetta a.k.a. Mr. Brainwash, and their counterparts have all capitalized on these opportunities, creating a cross-over effect from personal, intellectual property into commercial property appraisals.

Street artist, Eduardo Kobra, works in Wynwood Arts District on Nov. 29, 2011. Photo by Brady Dreasher

The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program is much bigger than what I could ever expand upon here in a blog. In short, the organization hires unemployed, often troubled inner city youth (over 1,800 annually) to assist professional artists in the creation of murals in the hopes of creating income, skills, optimism, culture and community for those who may not otherwise have those opportunities, while at the same time raising land values and brightening the neighborhood. Murals change the overall mood of the inner city neighborhoods to one of hope and vibrancy. The director, Jane Golden, is widely considered an expert in urban transformation through art and has been featured time and time again in many publications. Watch a segment here on Squawk Box on CNBC that aired in November of 2014.

First stages of prep work for Katharina Grosse mural: Photo by Steve Weinik with Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
RJ Rushmore at Mural Arts - who will be assisting Nancy Davis with the Mural Arts Tour at Assets 2015 - will be discussing the legal precedents, consequences and elements of finding, removing, buying, selling and collecting street art as we tour the city via foot and trolley. Appraisers, consultants, curators and auction consignment departments will likely find this tour insightful and helpful in many ways.

Mural Arts Tour: Photo from City of Philadelphia: Mural Arts Program
The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program is arguably the first program with this type of core mission, but more importantly, it’s the largest Mural Arts Program in the world, having produced more than 3,600 murals around the globe. Take a Philadelphia-style trolley ride visiting murals by Kenny Scharf, How and NOSM, Gaia, Freddy Sam, Shepard Fairey, Jetsonorama and many other great muralists.

If you're interested in learning more about any of the following topics, your $40 will be well spent on the Mural Arts Tour, taking place Thursday, March 19, from 1:00-3:00pm.
  • Restoration
  • Appraising
  • Graffiti
  • Collection Management
  • Authentications
  • Public Murals
  • Installations
  • Consulting
  • Street Art
  • Curators
  • Protocols for Auction Consignment Departments
  • Urban Art
  • Assisting Corporate Collections & Collectors
  • Nonprofits
  • Collection management
  • Acquisitions
  • Urban Renewal

Sign up here for this tour specifically designed for those in our industry.