Ready, Set, Get Your CAPP!

Ready, Set, Get Your CAPP!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019 in Education

One of the best ways you can advance your career is to get your certification in appraising personal property. ISA's credentialing program ends with the Certified Member credential, known as CAPP, the highest level of membership with ISA. Earning your CAPP credential involves professional training and shows that you are committed and competent in your area of expertise.

I am a graduate of the 2018 CAPP class. My initial interest in pursuing the CAPP credential was to show my commitment to advance my skills as an appraiser and to put myself in a better position to market my services and abilities. In addition, I wanted to be professionally competitive with my peers and mentors. After completing the CAPP requirements, I realized the process is designed to be about more than just obtaining ISA's highest membership designation. Earning the CAPP credential expanded my knowledge and honed my skills as a personal property appraiser.

The CAPP Process

The process of getting your CAPP designation will strengthen your foundation as a competent appraiser. No matter what your skill level is, ISA's certification program is designed to advance your knowledge of appraisal methodology, analytical skills, and report writing.

The CAPP process includes three areas of accomplishment: experience in conducting appraisals, passing a written exam, and submitting a multi-objective appraisal report.

The exam: All CAPP applicants must write an exam covering the application of appraisal methodologies and strategies outlined in ISA's Core Course manual. I found the preparation for the exam to be a great tool to review appraisal topics I typically cover, and it helped me further develop my knowledge of appraisal topics that always interested me, but which I had seldom been hired to address professionally. As a bonus, my studies were applicable to my clients' interests and my current appraisal projects.

The exam format is written to account for different strengths of the test taker. Meaning, the test taker may find one section challenging but will have an opportunity to balance their grade and show their depth of knowledge in a different section. The exam is designed to push you and test you.

The appraisal project: The requirement is to complete an assigned multi-objective appraisal project. The process involves writing a complex report outlining the possible variables that can be identified and supported for five objects using the broad evidence rule.

Everyone's background is different, and my background includes being hired for appraisal projects with little variation. Meaning, I am very accomplished with my day to day appraisal projects. Although I had studied the application of a broad evidence rule, this was my first time incorporating the rule into an extensive multi-objective appraisal report.

The instructor assigned to review and coordinate the assessment of my multi-objective appraisal kindly took the time to connect with me before my appraisal submission was finalized. The time spent and the guidance provided helped me with my understanding of the appraisal project and how recent updates supported the objectives of the report. The instructor feedback motivated me to problem solve and address weak areas in my report so that my appraisal submission was cohesive, clear, and concise.

When working through the CAPP process, my biggest obstacle was time: juggling my workload, while meeting the CAPP requirements and keeping up with my personal and professional responsibilities. My biggest professional challenge was starting and completing the appraisal assignment. A disservice I did to myself was to work on the appraisal assignment over brief periodic breaks in my work schedule versus completing the report within an organized block of time.

While the CAPP process can be challenging, it improved my approach to appraisal projects and how I communicate with my clients. It also allowed me to take advantage of the resources and relationships within ISA. If you have the initiative to learn and improve, the ISA education team is going to take the time to positively foster your professional goals.

Takeaways after Earning My CAPP Credential

  1. Take time to periodically re-read the Core Course Manual. Going through the CAPP process, I found value in fine-tuning my appraisal methodology and strategies by re-acquainting myself with the basics and updates outlined in the Core Course manual.
  2. Your appraisal assignment will continue to provide value. My CAPP appraisal has become an equally valuable reference tool as my ISA Core Course Manual. The report was written with the application of recent ISA and USPAP updates and outlines multiple objectives that are relatable to a variety of appraisal projects.
  3. Guidance and mentorship are available. I needed additional guidance to complete the appraisal assignment. I was extremely impressed with my CAPP reviewer's ability to alleviate my anxieties while providing professional guidance.
  4. Your report writing will improve. The entire process has led to the execution of more sophisticated appraisal projects and report writing.
  5. You'll take Requalification to the next level. If you have the time and self-initiative, the CAPP process will both requalify your credentials and elevate your appraisal skills.

Advice for Anyone Thinking About Becoming a CAPP

  1. Carve out the time and take advantage of the learning opportunities that are associated with becoming a Certified Appraiser through ISA.
  2. Ask a CAPP in good standing to mentor you through the designation process.
  3. Do not underestimate the learning curve on the appropriate application of ISA and USPAP updates to support the assigned appraisal project.
  4. Remember that the ISA instructors and reviewers have been selected because they like teaching and they want the personal property appraisal field to grow with knowledgeable and successful professionals.
  5. Be open to new challenges. I found the professional challenges that are part of the CAPP process to be valuable hands-on training. Combined with confidential feedback, I was able to identify and to improve on my weaknesses.

After completing the CAPP process, I gained a professional credential, but more importantly, the process further developed my appraisal methodologies, analytical skills, and report writing. From my perspective, there are only benefits to acquiring your CAPP. Please let me know if you have any questions. GOOD LUCK!

Want to learn more about how advancing your membership can benefit your career in personal property appraising? Information on ISA's credentialing process is available here.

Barbara Blades-Lines, ISA CAPP has been involved in appraising Colonial to Contemporary silver, furniture, ceramics, maps, and paintings for over 25 years. She resides in Houston, Texas.


  1. CAPP
  2. credentialing
  3. Education
  4. Core Course

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