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Monday, January 30, 2017

Introducing the ISA Ambassador Program

From members who joined only last week to veteran CAPPs, ISA is committed to helping every member feel valued. A large part of this commitment is ensuring that each member is given the tools to learn and develop as a professional appraiser. 

While the ISA website, especially the ISA Means Business Toolbox and Forum, is a great resource for most questions that arise, there are times when a member may want a more personal support system. To provide for those needs, ISA has launched the Ambassador Program.

ISA’s Ambassadors are members who have reached the AM or CAPP level of membership and are happy to share their experience and provide support on navigating the Society and the appraisal business in general. Ambassadors will guide members through the ISA Credentialing Pathway, the basics of starting a small business, and how to use ISA’s marketing tools to promote themselves. This dedicated Ambassador will provide one-on-one support to members by answering day-to-day questions and helping them achieve overall success in their professional appraisal career.

To request an Ambassador or to become an Ambassador, visit the Ambassador Program page on the ISA website.

If you have any questions about membership status, requalification deadlines and course registration, please feel free to call ISA headquarters at 312-981-6778. All questions about methodology and report writing should be addressed to the Director of Education at

Here’s to great success for each of us this year!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Welcome to ISA!

The ISA is proud to introduce you to the newest appraisers to obtain an ISA membership. Please join us in publicly welcoming them to the Society!
Mary Kohnke
Bartlett, IL
Larissa Wild Gould
Eagle, CO
Olga Belyaeva
Chicago, IL
Charles Davis
Louisville, KY
Renee Banks
Linden, NJ
Elaina Grinwald
Dallas, TX
Laura Toops
Merrillville, IN
Amy Hoover
St. Louis, MO
Brendan Ryan
San Jose, CA
Shelah Allen
Tacoma, WA
Gabrielle Segal
New York, NY
Elin Hamalainen
Rockville, MD
Leah Carey
Toronto, ON
Lennie Pressman
New York, NY
Donnie Kim
Richmond Hill, ON
Charles Tinsley
Bedford, TX
Keith Rainer
Memphis, TN
Bianca Morabito
Boca Raton, FL
Sonjia Weinstein
Laramie, WY

Thursday, January 19, 2017

ASK AN INSTRUCTOR: Is blockage necessary on a large charitable donation report?

ISA members are invited to send in their questions on all things appraising and education to ISA's instructors. One of ISA's instructors will share answers on the ISA Now Blog. Please send questions to

Question: I need help. Is blockage necessary on a charitable donation report?  I have a client who is donating a large number of prints by the same artist to a museum. I’m not sure if I need to apply a blockage discount, but it also doesn’t make sense that the client would receive a tax credit on the full amount.  What do you think?

Answer: My rule of thumb is that if I would apply blockage for the same property in an estate tax situation, then I would also apply blockage in a charitable donation situation. Remember – fair market value is fair market value whether you are writing an estate tax, gift tax, or charitable donation appraisal report.  The IRS has the same definition for fair market value in each of these situations, thus the value determined should be the same as well.  If it’s not fair for the client to pay taxes on a large group of property, then it’s also not fair for the client to receive a large tax credit on the same property. 

- Meredith Meuwly, ISA Director of Education

Thursday, January 12, 2017

President's Message 2017

Happy New Year!

May 2017 be the best year ever for all of your appraisal businesses!

Membership in ISA continues to get better every year, and 2017 will be no exception. ISA is the largest of the top three professional personal property appraisal organizations, with chapters and members across the United States, Canada and abroad. Being a member of ISA means increased opportunities for professional growth and business success through education and networking with affiliated professionals.

Our organization is a collegial one, filled with members who actively volunteer at all levels to help our organization continually improve its programming, educational offerings and business strategies for its membership. In addition, ISA has a strong Board of Directors. We are a group of nine of your colleagues, listening to your needs and creating programs that will help you become the most successful, competent and trusted appraisers in our industry.

Over the past couple of years, we have heard your desire for programs and products that bring you more assignments, grow your business and generate more public recognition of the ISA credential. To that end, ISA has improved our Find an ISA Member tool, increasing your exposure to the public by allowing site visitors to search for an appraiser by credentials, location, specialties, services and what they appraise. We have provided access to marketing templates and business forms and worked hard at raising public awareness of the characteristics and value of a qualified appraiser.

ISA is committed to supporting its members, from building their businesses to improving credentialing, methodology skills, and giving our members a distinct advantage over their competition. Last year we introduced the ISA Means Business Toolbox, designed to help members create and maintain thriving, up-to-date appraisal businesses. The Toolbox includes marketing tips, templates for promotional materials and business guides that offer practical recommendations on how to deal with competition and access the gatekeepers who can send the best appraisal assignments to you. Best of all, the ISA Toolbox is absolutely free to all of our members.

I am proud to say that ISA members, more than any other organization, excel in connecting and helping each other, even across great distances. To further increase those member-to-member connections, GoToWebinar is now available to all of our Chapters as a way to allow “distance-challenged” members a way to participate remotely in monthly Chapter meetings and keep in touch with other appraisers. Our Canadian and North Texas Chapters use this video-conferencing system successfully and highly recommend it to other Chapters. If you would like to incorporate this technology into your Chapter meetings, please contact Michelle VanAlstyne at our headquarters office to get set up.

Our newest members are as important to us as our longstanding members. We want all of our new members to feel welcomed, understand our credentialing procedures, and learn how they can become actively involved in ISA. Based on the success of ISA’s Mentor Program, we have expanded our outreach services to now include the Ambassador Program. Ambassadors (AM and CAPP members) volunteer to help new members navigate ISA and all the tools our organization provides for their success. Our Mentors (ISA instructors) are always available to answer methodology questions and give advice to anyone who is in the process of becoming accredited with ISA.

As part of ISA’s commitment to expanding networking opportunities for its members as well as enriching its credentialing process, we will be launching a new Job Board at Assets 2017. Through this Job Board, experienced appraisers can find temporary, contracted help from trained appraisers to assist with research, editing and writing for large projects. ISA appraisers working towards AM status will be able to count the hours worked on these assignments toward their credentialing-hour requirements.

Assets, ISA’s annual conference, is the most important opportunity our members have for advanced appraisal education and networking. I highly encourage all of you to join your fellow appraisers at The Architecture of Appraising, Assets 2017, March 31 – April 3 in Chicago. This year’s conference is shaping up to be our best yet!

Our Assets 2017 program includes several new aspects this year. A third Sunday breakout track has been added for Generalists, along with the current Fine Art and Antiques, Furnishings + Decorative Arts breakouts. This Generalists track was added to address the needs of those who want more specific product knowledge and to learn more about successfully running estate sales. Information on luxury and estate jewelry is included in the program to better meet the needs of our members who appraise jewelry. During the conference, we will also update members on the new credentialing requirements coming from The Appraisal Foundation which go into effect January 2018.

We have also added a new pre-conference class running from March 30 to March 31 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago on the A-Zs of being an Expert Appraisal Witness. The class is presented by SEAK Inc., the expert witness training company. Class size is limited and it’s filling up fast, so register soon! ISA members will receive a special discount on the course fee.

The night of Thursday, March 30, will include a pre-conference cocktail hour with a panel of estate planners and attorneys as well as appraisers who work closely with The Appraisal Foundation and estate industry. They will discuss what new directions estate planners and attorneys are headed in 2017 and how best to work with these professionals.

Along with all the new conference upgrades, your favorite aspects of Assets will still be there as you mingle and catch up with friends and colleagues. Please visit the website for more details and contact this year’s Chair, Elise Olonia, with any questions you have about our program.

ISA’s goal is to have a membership full of successful, active and engaged members. It’s 2017 and there has never been a better time to be a member of ISA.

Wishing you all the best,

Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP
President, ISA Board of Directors