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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Becoming an ISA CAPP is an Attainable and Worthwhile Goal

Steve Roach, JD, ISA CAPP
with Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg,
ISA CAPP, President
By Steve Roach, JD, ISA CAPP

Over the past few years in my appraisal practice, an increasing number of potential clients have asked if I’m certified. I’d explain that simply being a member of the International Society of Appraisers requires substantial coursework in appraising combined with practical experience in the objects being appraised, but the pesky question of being a “certified appraiser” kept coming up.

ISA’s Certified Appraiser of Personal Property – CAPP – is the highest level of membership in the organization, and applicants must prove competence by passing an exam, documenting 500 hours of appraisal experience and submitting an appraisal report or reports for peer review.

Even though my ISA AM status seemed sufficient for the needs of the individual projects, more gatekeepers are being told that they need to work with “certified appraisers.” In 2012, I started on the path to ISA CAPP with excitement and enthusiasm to spare. Then, life got in the way and I stalled because – as I’m sure many of you can relate – it was a challenge to expend time and resources towards something that didn’t have an immediate payoff.

Yet, each year at conference, when I’d see new CAPPs named at the awards luncheon, I’d think, I’ll start back up when I get home. It wasn’t until the Spring 2014 Board of Directors meeting that I saw my name on a list of uncompleted CAPPs. At that point I decided it was now or never and I started to study for my CAPP exam. For an added bit of accountability, I told fellow board member Karen Rabe, ISA CAPP, that I’d be a CAPP by the Assets 2015 conference.  Karen also leads ISA’s mentorship program, in case you need additional motivation to continue on ISA’s credentialing pathway.

The CAPP exam took the better part of an afternoon and, although it was challenging, it was a useful experience in that it forced me to refresh my knowledge on concepts that I didn’t use frequently in my appraisal practice, which focuses on rare coins and fine art.

Next came the submission of reports for peer review. That too was challenging, but thanks to the careful review of the three appraisers who donated their time and efforts to review my CAPP submissions – and the encouragement of Designation and Review chairperson Lorrie Semler, ISA CAPP – I made it through the process relatively unscathed and with a far better understanding of what makes a report excellent than when I entered the process.

The ISA CAPP process is not easy, but it is a meaningful activity that will test your knowledge of appraising. Especially as one progresses in a career, it’s harder to achieve tangible milestones. The ISA CAPP is a designation that is an attainable goal for an appraiser, and one that is certainly worthwhile to go for. 

Steve Roach, JD, ISA CAPP

Monday, April 20, 2015

Register Today: First Chubb Webinar on May 6

During the annual business meeting at this year’s Assets conference, our President Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg, ISA CAPP, announced that ISA would be participating in a series of webinars that would allow us to exchange advice and expertise with our Gold Sponsor and Affinity Business Party, Chubb Personal Insurance. We could not be more elated that Chubb has chosen ISA as the appraisal organization they trust to educate their community of agents, brokers, and collectors.

The first of these webinar presentations, “Changing Demographics in Collecting: Covering Passion and Investment Collections,” will be held on May 6 at 2:30 ET by Laura M. Doyle and Melissa Lalka, Chubb’s National Art Specialist and Worldwide Fine Art Manager, respectively. One of many installments in this continuing collaborative webinar series, this presentation (which is free to ISA members) will focus on evolving collector profiles – passion collectors vs. investment collectors – and risk management.

The webinar is now open for registration. Sign up and take part in what is only the start of a very fruitful continuing education partnership opportunity.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Looks Like We Struck a Chord!

Shelly Berman-Rubera
By Shelly Berman-Rubera, President of Small Business Results, ISA Affinity Business Partner

Dear ISA Members,

I am so proud to have presented the closing keynote at the ISA Assets 2015 conference in Philadelphia. Every attendee was raving about their experience.

In my presentation, “Growing and Propelling Your Appraisal Practice Revenue,” I addressed four major areas of ISA member concern. I hope it is helpful to reiterate the challenges presented and offer a summary of my suggestions here:

Q. How do we compete with free services offered by those less qualified?
A. We don’t! Those seeking free appraisal services are not our target client. We must have the courage to walk away from those clients that are not a right fit for our practice. Learn how to use the time to market to true prospects. ISA members and credentialing are at the cutting edge of the appraisal profession. We can’t work for free and can’t be compared to free or lesser priced appraisers. Educate those who would truly benefit from your level of service as to why your experience and credential should matter to them.

Q. How do we get to the gate keepers?
A. Our networking and outreach must be directed to obtaining beneficial introductions and opening the right doors. Focus on building reciprocal lasting relationships, rather than one-time meetings and pitches.

Q. How do we deal with time management?
A. I suggested that time management is emotional management, and when we manage our feelings and our client’s feelings, we are better equipped at managing our time. I also suggested looking at pricing and packaging. Selling a block of time might be an attractive offer to some clients.

Q. How do I market my business?
A. ISA has marketing pieces that can be co-branded with your business and can be found at the member resources page on the website. This month your organization launched a professional newsletter (login required) with educational content aimed at prospective referral sources. This is a powerful marketing tool that not only promotes the ISA credential but your own expertise as well. Personalize this with your photo and bio, attach to emails to industry referral sources like insurance brokers, estate attorneys and financial planners. Print it and hand out at local business industry meetings. And remember to follow up!

It is important to remember that random acts of kindness are lovely, but random acts of marketing are not effective. Please remember, you are the president of your company! Think strategically, make a commitment to developing systems and structures for everything you do.

My best to all of you, and let me know if I can help,

Shelly Berman-Rubera
President SBR-Small Business Results

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Chubb Personal Insurance Connoisseurship Series Featuring the Expertise of ISA Appraisers

By Libby Holloway, ISA CAPP

I believe that everyone who attends ISA’s annual conferences will agree that each year gets better. Not only are the speakers some of the premier experts in the country, but it seems that the last few years have been full of announcements that make my membership with ISA more valuable. We’ve gotten accustomed to going home each year with new marketing tools for our business, as well as new information about changes to USPAP and methodology.

This year, our President Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg, ISA CAPP, surprised us with an opportunity for our members to show that we are experts in our fields. During the annual business meeting, she announced that we will be participating in a series of webinars, exchanging expertise with our Gold Sponsor, Chubb Personal Insurance. We are looking for a few connoisseurs in our own ranks to provide webinars on a broad array of specialties of interest to collectors from coins to cars, Asian ceramics to Abstract Expressionism. A list of vetted webinars and topics will be shared with Chubb as a “menu” from which they may choose.

It is such an honor that Chubb has chosen ISA as the appraisal organization they trust to educate their community of agents, brokers and collectors. Their first webinar presentation to us will be held on May 6 at 2:30 ET by Laura Doyle, Chubb's National Fine Art Specialist, and Melissa Lalka, Chubb's Worldwide Fine Art Manager, on Changing Demographics in Collecting: Covering Passion and Investment Collections. The webinar is free to ISA members and is now open for registration.

Applicants must be members of ISA in good standing who have expertise in connoisseurship in a subject. Each presentation will be a 45-60 minute PowerPoint webinar. A successful applicant will have provided information that shows that they are not only an expert, but have a passion for their topic that translates to the audience. The application will request information on the proposed presentation to include a title, topic abstract, and a brief biography intended to show that the applicant is an expert in the topic area and has experience presenting for a group. We will ask for 2-3 references who have heard the person present and a short video, voice recording or webinar presentation. The applications will be vetted by a committee which will include a member who is not an appraiser but who is an expert in public speaking.

Apply to be a presenter

I will be chairing the committee and will be available to answer any questions you might have. Please feel free to contact me at

Friday, April 3, 2015

Ask Leon: I was asked to do a local radio show and need six points to give them to ask me questions. Any ideas?

ISA members are invited to send in their questions on all things appraising and education to Leon Castner, ISA CAPP. Leon will share his answers on the ISA Now Blog. Please send questions to

Question: I was asked to do a local radio show and need six points to give them to ask me questions. Any ideas?

Answer: The key to any good interview is having the right questions to answer. That means one should suggest the types of questions to ask. (This will not only ensure you have the correct answer, but does a lot of work for the interviewer. You make their job easier. They will be happy to use your questions.)

Here are six I would suggest:
  1. What makes a good appraiser?
  2. How can you make sure you get a good one?
  3. Do appraisers specialize in certain areas?
  4. Is there licensing for appraisers and is that important?
  5. Are there different types of values or costs for personal property?
  6. Does one need a written document when one gets an appraisal?
That’s certainly not all of them and maybe it isn’t even a great list, but it sure gets the ball rolling. It allows you to speak confidently about your qualifications, the uniqueness of ISA, and makes everyone look smarter, both you and the interviewer. They will thank you for it.

Trivial Pursuit II
Misconceptions taken from our Core Course Exam
These statements are ALL FALSE!
  1. Value is defined as the amount of money paid for an item of personal property.
  2. The IRS requires that an appraisal report for the intended use of filing for a charitable contribution include a statement of original cost.
  3. Revenue Procedure 96-15 outlines the format and types of market research required when writing Federal tax appraisals.
  4. Replacement cost new considers wear and tear and economic obsolescence.
  5. ISA appraisal standards mandate that all appraisal reports be in narrative form.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Glance Back at Assets 2015

We would like to begin by sending a huge Thank You to all those who joined us at Assets 2015 and helped make it the mile-marker conference it ultimately was. We are consistently reminded of the hard work, dedication and service that our membership gives to the profession and ISA each year, and the fellowship and educational content on display at this year’s annual meeting is a prime example of that collective camaraderie.

Our expectations were also surpassed by the city of Philadelphia and, more specifically, the special programming they assisted us in creating for our meeting’s attendees. One such program was the Mural Arts Tour, which allowed participants to get a taste of the rich, vibrant urban art community that Philadelphia is known for in a two-hour walking and trolley tour experience. Photos of the tour, taken by ISA member John Grow, ISA AM, may be found on the ISA Facebook page.

One of the highlights of this year’s conference was having the opportunity to recognize a handful of amazing ISA members for their contribution to the organization and to the industry as a whole. Held on Monday, March 23, the Awards Brunch was packed with appraisal professionals eager to congratulate the following award recipients:

Distinguished Service
Meredith Meuwly, ISA CAPP
Lorrie Semler, ISA CAPP

Daphne Rosenzweig, ISA CAPP

Outgoing Leadership and Service
Selma Paul, ISA CAPP
Aloysia Hamalainen, ISA CAPP

Young Leadership
Brady Dreasher, ISA AM

Lamp of Knowledge
John Buxton, ISA CAPP

FAE Award
Molly Snow, ISA CAPP

Media, Marketing & Publication
Steve Roach, ISA CAPP

Chapter of the Year
Canadian Chapter

Special Merit Awards
Karen Rabe, ISA CAPP
Kirsten Smolensky, ISA CAPP

Life Member
Marigold Lamb, ISA CAPP

President’s Award
Fred Winer, ISA CAPP
Maureen Winer, ISA AM

Photos of many of the award winners can be found on the ISA’s Facebook page.

Special recognition was also given to the newest CAPP class, several of whom were award recipients in their own right:

Miller Gaffney, ISA CAPP
Wendy Gerdau, ISA CAPP
Meredith Meuwly, ISA CAPP
Steve Roach, ISA CAPP
John Sexton, ISA CAPP
Ruthie Winston, ISA CAPP

Save the Date
We look forward to next year’s conference, “Expanding Horizons,” slated for April 15 – 18, 2016, in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. We hope to see you there!