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Monday, February 29, 2016

What You Should Know If You are a First-Time Assets Attendee

By Libby Holloway, ISA CAPP

Whether you’ve been a member for three years or three weeks, if you haven’t ever attended Assets yet, you haven’t really taken an important step towards becoming part of the ISA family.

Of all the benefits that come with membership, perhaps the greatest is having direct access to other professionals with appraisal expertise that differs from your own. One can easily find a person through our website, but it is so much easier to take advantage of the Find a Member resource if you are a familiar face. The annual conference committee not only plans informative lectures to equip you with further education (and the confidence that comes with it) but also makes a point of setting aside time for attendees to meet fellow members, speakers, sponsors and advertisers. Those of us who are conference veterans know how important these relationships are.

The first night of Assets, first-time conference attendees are invited to a reception and given a chance to meet each other, as well as a few of the staff members and ISA leaders who will be on hand to help you get started. These contacts will do their best to help first-timers meet other members who may have the same area of expertise but have more years of experience under their belt. There will also be various groups that form to go out for dinner. If you don't know anyone at conference, it may be worth it to consider signing up when you register and getting a head start on networking. There will be plenty of friendly faces to meet, and the dinner groups are not exclusively for first-timers. I encourage everyone to check their registration materials carefully to ensure that you don't miss any events or opportunities.

Whether you’re a first-time attendee or a pro when it comes to finding your way around conference, there is another very important aspect of conference attendance that can help your success: believe it or not, becoming a member of a committee can help you succeed. 

Getting involved in ISA leadership is a rewarding way to meet people while making a difference in the industry. No matter what your talent, there is a place for you. Most groups are open and welcome those seeking information about them during the meeting. A good first step is joining the division committee you specialize in, like ISA's Fine Art Division or the Antiques and Residential Contents Division. Being a member of these committees not only gives you a say in what and how targeted learning experiences are formed but also helps you stay alert to changes in the  industry. Perhaps you have a suggestion regarding how ISA is marketed. Maybe you have a strategy for implementing some exciting member benefits. Don't let your ideas go to waste. Join a committee and share.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Membership Matters

By Perri Guthrie, ISA CAPP, Vice President

When I think about it, ISA is all about membership. As a society of appraisers, ISA’s mission is to “Advance Excellence in the personal property appraisal profession.” This means us!

Dedicated committee volunteers, ISA Sentergroup staff and our board of directors are all continuously working together to offer opportunities to advance our methodology training and product knowledge. We have also generated a broad scope of marketing tools for members’ appraisal practices and have enhanced individual market share reach by way of active social media platforms. ISA resources that include online and onsite educational course offerings, webinars, annual conferences, mentoring and networking programs continue to provide us with a full spectrum of 21st century professional connectivity.

That said, ISA membership is not merely about a list of services, it is also about experiences. By embracing collaboration, ISA membership adds significant value to members’ businesses and lives. As many of you know, our ISA culture encourages its members to share their ah-ha moments. Our growth and development as appraisers, and our better understanding of sometimes complex appraisal puzzles, are linked to these experiences: a fellow ISA member presents a unique and difficult appraisal assignment at conference; a certified ISA member generously offers his or her expertise to a newcomer; an ISA member, although a great distance away, is there in a moment by video conferencing to discuss project strategy and approach with colleagues. I believe we have all been the beneficiaries of these consequential connections. These priceless attributes of our membership, these critical “inside” opportunities and relationships afforded to our members, are often overlooked and can be difficult to calibrate in a dollar-and-cent equation of our annual membership fee.

As we continue to grow our own appraisal practices, ISA continues to work to develop membership to the benefit of our collective welfare. By building our membership, we can sustain our commitments, advance our core set of values, bring vitality to our society, and explore new business opportunities together.

Without ISA educational programs, without a set of standards for qualified personal property appraisers, without a network of like-minded colleagues and without the advocacy and support of ISA, I think it would be fair to say that the extent of our knowledge and breadth of our abilities as personal property appraisers would be greatly diminished.

ISA’s Membership Development Committee, chaired by Michelle Conliffe, ISA CAPP, with the support of Kirsten Rabe Smolensky, JD, ISA CAPP, has been diligently working on member recruitment. The committee is NOT asking for money, but rather for people. It is our worthy organization of people, those with personal property appraisal desire and/or expertise, who strengthen ISA and make membership matter!

However, the efforts of the Membership Development Committee need not be restricted to committee outreach alone. All members are ISA ambassadors, and all members can be good stewards of our organization by sharing its benefits with others who may share similar professional interests.

Do you have an acquaintance that is in need of an open door to an independent profession? Or do you perhaps know a student looking for job inspiration and seeking a career path? Have you worked with another professional in a related field who might find appraisal methodology education attractive? By sharing your ISA membership experiences with these individuals, you help contribute to the life and spirit of our organization.

In a recent report regarding not-for-profit organization sustainability, a survey question was asked: “What is the single most important reason people give as to why they have joined an organization?” The greatest number answered: Somebody asked me.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Five Things You Will Miss if You Skip Assets 2016

By Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP, President

It goes without saying that if you forgo Assets 2016, Expanding Horizons, you'll miss out a host of things that you may already be aware of—a stellar educational program lined with top appraisal industry speakers, a chance to meet both new and tried-and-true vendors, and the opportunity for excellent networking with guests and fellow members. But there are a handful of conference experiences that you might not even realize you are missing out on. 

Here's a list of just 5 reasons to not skip this year's conference.

1. Dallas Art Fair (8th year)
— April 14-17
Listen to what others who aren’t easily impressed said about last year’s fair.

Nate Freeman of The New York Observer: "It’s a city where an unending stream of openings, loft parties and after parties attended by an impressive number of visiting New Yorkers, signaled the arrival of Dallas, to the must-attend art world circuit."

The Town & Country Social Calendar: "With new international exhibitors, including Galerie Perrotin, this fair is the one to watch."

Lisa Perry with Women's Wear Daily: "I’m very surprised and delighted by what is going on in Dallas with the arts scenes. It’s very cool, very interesting. There was a great vibe, great energy last night at the Art Fair."

Need I say more? You can attend the Dallas Art Fair by signing up for the ISA Fine Art Tour (Friday, April 15).

2. Surprise Vendor Give-Away for Conference Attendees
I’m having a hard time keeping this a secret, but let me give you a hint: If you are at conference, you are going to receive a gift from one of our sponsors that promises to be a game that will save your appraisal business time and money! I can’t wait to see your reaction when you find out what it is.

3. Main Street Arts Fair April 14-17
Don’t let the name fool youit’s not just all about art. The Main Street Arts Fair is an annual favorite held in downtown Fort Worth stretching five blocks and consisting of booths displaying art and assorted other goodies, every food choice imaginable and literally hundreds of performers on three stages, rockin' and rollin' for four days at the city's largest music festival. It will be easy to get there toojust walk out of the hotel and you're there. It will stretch from the Hilton all the way down to Sundance Square. While we want you to attend all of our scheduled programs, it would be a fun thing to enjoy after hours, complete with the chance to grab a quick dinner without having to sit in a restaurant.
4. Monday BBQ and Margarita Tour — Monday, April 18
For the first time ever at conference, we have scheduled a Monday night event for those who are still in the Dallas area, whether it's for the Requalification course or simply because you're not leaving until Tuesday. Our guide “Billy Bob” Delp will entertain you as he tours highlights of Fort Worth and takes you to the best spots for Texas barbecue and margaritas. Price includes transportation, food, and gratuity for our tour leader. (Alcohol is not included, except at the final stop of the tour.) You can find more information here.

5. Freshen Up Your Professional Photo — April 16 & 17
Natalia Nakamura, my portrait photographer and the person who took the picture you see at the top of this post, makes everyone look good! (Seriously, I think she has a magic camera.) She has agreed to take conference attendees' pictures, so come update your photo for business cards and your website for $60.

Register for Assets 2016 today and open yourself to an array of experiences...some programmed with the conference, others hosted by the city itself. It's going to be a fantastic time!

Friday, February 5, 2016

ASK LEON: Can paintings by artists with no published sale records be sold at a charity's silent auction for fair market value?

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

A potential client has just donated two paintings that will be sold at silent auction for a non-profit. There are no published sale records of paintings' artists. Can the items sell for the FMV? That is assuming they exceed $5000 and need an appraisal?

Answer: That’s a tricky question since it’s a charity auction. Sometimes items bring far more than their fair market value (FMV) because it is a charity and the money is going to a good cause. People get caught up in the event action. Sometimes items bring far less than their FMV because it’s the wrong market and people don’t appreciate or even know about the item. For example, I used to be the auctioneer at many live charity auctions. It always seemed that original artwork by a non-published or listed artist did poorly, unless it was one of local reputation that everyone knew about. Sports memorabilia, tickets to a sporting event, and signed balls by famous players always did better than FMV, often due to the type of crowd and the impression that the items were worth more than they really were. In some instances, due to the drinks and hospitality offered at the event, local competition developed among community figures, and bidding became a game of outlasting the other party, with each table of revelers egging the bidder on. Good for the charity, but not remotely viable for use as a comparable.

You must remember that the buyers of goods at charity auctions are only allowed to deduct any amounts over the fair market value of the items. This creates an additional dilemma in that they want to get a good deal (under fair market value), but they can only deduct the amount if it isn’t a good deal (over fair market value).

The conclusion is that charity auction results are usually not good indicators of fair market value. There are too many variables in the situation. Better to find comparable sales or use a parallels in another venue to establish the fair market value of the items.