April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
05 Oct 2017

Appraisal Examiner Certification Earned by Easley, South Carolina Member

The National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member Randy Bagwell of Accurate Inventory for achieving the designation of Certified Appraisal Examiner.

Randy BagwellPRESS RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) is pleased to announce that Randy Bagwell, owner of Accurate Inventory, has recently been awarded the designation of Certified Appraisal Examiner (CAE). The purpose of a CAE designation is to establish recognition for this specialized service.

 

The growth of the personal property inventory industry has created an opportunity for contents inventory professionals to serve as Appraisal Examiners. This certification provides the education and the credentials needed to properly assist appraisers. The appraisal firms can locate and subcontract certified, qualified examiners to assist with the collection of descriptions and photos of items to be appraised. From this information provided by the inventory professional, appraisers are then able to create a certified report.

 

When completing an inventory service for residential and commercial clients, the inventory professional is often asked if they know the value of items, or if they can refer an appraiser. The CAE designation signifies that these contents inventory professionals have the knowledge required to collect and then submit the necessary information for an appraiser to assign value. This allows for a two-way referral opportunity between these two industries.

 

To help ensure that the inventory service provider is prepared to serve the appraisal industry, the Education Committee, consisting of NICA members, an established property appraiser, and the Association Directors, determined the requirements to achieve an Appraisal Examiner Certification.

 

Only those who have earned their Certified Inventory Expert (CIE) or Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS) designation are eligible to apply for this additional level. The inventory professional is also required to successfully complete the Customer Service and Appraisal Examiner courses, plus an elective chosen from the NICA curriculum. The Appraisal Examiner course was co-written by a property appraiser to ensure integrity and provide hands-on processes for accurate collection of information.

 

Based in Easley, South Carolina, Bagwell offers residential and business asset inventory services as well as appraisal examiner services to South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia.

28 Sep 2017

Working With Your Associate Members

MembershipAssociate Members of the National Inventory Certification Association have invested in their membership, just as each inventory professional has. They see the value in our industry, and the value in working with each of us. Their support of each member as well as the contents inventory industry is appreciated. Consider your needs as a home inventory professional and review the websites of those who support us and have chosen to work with NICA and all members.

Do you want an additional income stream? Nugent Appraisal!

Do you need a new or ADA compliant website? Mary Gillen!

Do you want to help save the plan and have a new service to introduce to your contacts? Renovation Angel!

Do you need or want to have legal assistance for your personal and/or business needs? LegalShield!

Are you ready to start your home inventory business or know someone who is? Nationwide Inventory Professionals!

In a previous post, Mary Gillen shared information about website ADA compliance. We value the relationship we’ve developed and her eagerness to share his knowledge. Watch for future blog posts as these Associate Members contribute.

22 Sep 2017

Wellington, Florida Member Achieves Appraisal Examiner Certification

The National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member Dwight Saxon for achieving the designation of Certified Appraisal Examiner.

 

Dwight SaxonPRESS RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) is pleased to announce that Dwight Saxon, owner of Saxon’s Inventory, has recently earned the designation of Certified Appraisal Examiner (CAE).

Growth of the personal property inventory industry has created an opportunity for contents inventory professionals to serve as Appraisal Examiners. The purpose of a CAE designation is to establish recognition for this specialized service. This certification provides the education and the credentials needed to properly assist appraisers.

This enables appraisal firms to locate and subcontract certified, qualified examiners to assist with the collection of descriptions and photos of items to be appraised. The appraisers are then able to create an accurate Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) compliant certified report from this information provided by the inventory professional. Additionally, the home inventory professional is able to grow their businesses through additional revenue opportunities.

When completing an inventory service for residential and commercial clients, the inventory professional is often asked if they know the value of items, or if they can refer an appraiser. The CAE designation signifies that these contents inventory professionals have the knowledge required to collect and then submit the necessary information for an appraiser to assign value. This allows for a two-way referral opportunity between these two industries.

To help ensure that the inventory service provider is prepared to serve the appraisal industry, the NICA Education Committee, consisting of NICA members, an established property appraiser, and the Association Directors, determined the requirements to achieve an Appraiser Examiner Certification.

Only those who have earned their Certified Inventory Expert (CIE) or Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS) designation are eligible to apply for this additional level. The inventory professional is also required to successfully complete the Customer Service and Appraisal Examiner courses, plus an elective chosen from the NICA curriculum. The Appraisal Examiner course was co-written by a property appraiser to ensure integrity and provide hands-on processes for accurate collection of information.

Based in Wellington, Florida, Saxon’s Inventory offers residential and business asset inventory services and appraisal services to Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, and Saint Lucie Counties. 

15 Sep 2017

Delaware Inventory Professionals Achieve Certification

The National Inventory Certification Association congratulates owners of First State Inventory for achieving the designation of Certified Inventory Specialists.

Jim Stinchecum and Vince StinchecumPRESS RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) is pleased to announce that brothers Jim Stinchecum and Vince Stinchecum, owners of First State Inventory, have recently earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS). Achieving this designation confirms knowledge to provide quality residential and small business contents professional inventory services.

There is an increasing awareness of the necessity and benefits of having a prepared photographic and written record of one’s personal property. This knowledge and the ever-increasing busy lifestyles of homeowners and business owners alike create a growing demand for a professional inventory service provider.

To earn the CIS designation,  the Stinchecums successfully completed the required courses developed by NICA, agreed to conduct business according to the asset industry Code of Ethics, and accumulated a minimum number of Continuing Education Units. Jim and Vince then passed the Certification Exam, which is the final step in achieving the CIS designation.

Having an industry certification is not required for the contents inventory industry. Choosing to invest in  continuing education shows a desire to learn and excel as a personal property inventory professional. Earning these credentials informs clients that they have gone the extra mile to ensure that First State Inventory provides quality inventory services.

Jim stated, “Vince and I have served clients through our previous businesses, and always enjoyed providing quality services. Combining our skills, customer service backgrounds, and desire to help others fits well with this new adventure in the home inventory industry. In addition to preparedness for a disaster, Vince added, “having a written document and photos of all of one’s assets is also essential for many other life events and business activities.”

Based in Lewes, Delaware, First State Inventory offers residential and business asset inventory services.

 

13 Sep 2017

Benefits of and Marketing Your Appraisal Examiner Certification

Red Ribbon-CertifiedWe recently recognized our members who have achieved their Appraisal Examiner Certification. That prompted a few to call the National Inventory Certification Association office asking what this certification is, and the benefit of achieving the designation of CAE. Others have asked if there are other opportunities in addition to assisting Associate Member Nugent Appraisal by documenting the items they’ve been hired to appraise.

Benefits of the CAE designation

Since your inventory services are most likely the single revenue stream, you will be adding a skill set that enables you to serve the appraisal industry quickly and with knowledge.

These two industries go hand-in-hand. There are three main types of jobs:

  1. An inventory of the contents in a home or business.
  2. Only designated items to be appraised.
  3. The entire household or business needing inventoried with specific items needing appraised.

Being able to serve all three needs enables you to reap the revenue benefits, and call in the appraisal services as needed. Instead of providing only an inventory service, achieving your CAE enables you to gain revenue by being the point person and outsourcing the appraisal.

Additionally, when Nugent Appraisal secures an appraisal job, they will find who has achieved the CAE designation in that geographic area.

Marketing Your Examiner Service

There are a variety of ways to market this add-on service.

Include appraisal services on your website.

  • Add the CAE designation to your name on business cards, website, brochures, email signature line, etc.
  • Educate about the need for this service when posting about your business on Social Media.
  • Send a notice to your current client base informing them of your new appraisal service.
  • Notify the referral sources you currently work with, stressing that they now only have to work with one vendor rather than two.
  • When providing your inventory service to a new client, mention that you also offer appraisal services and can save them money (because you’ll have already collected the information the appraiser will need).
  • Notify appraisers in your area and offer to be a subcontractor/independent contractor for them.

When you are in a home or business as an Appraisal Examiner, it is completely appropriate for you to discuss your home inventory company. Take the time to share the many benefits of having a thorough record of all their contents, in addition to the items being appraised.

The majority of people don’t know that they will be required to provide a detailed item-by-item list of everything they will need to have replaced after a loss. Offering a brief education can turn an appraisal examiner client into an inventory client as well.

06 Sep 2017

Pennsylvania Inventory Professional Achieves Appraisal Examiner Certification

The National Inventory Certification Association announces that member Lavon Kearney has earned the designation of Certified Appraisal Examiner.

Lavon KearneyPRESS RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) is pleased to announce that Lavon Kearney, owner of Serenity Assured Inventory Solution, has recently earned the designation of Certified Appraisal Examiner (CAE).

Growth of the personal property inventory industry has created an opportunity for contents inventory professionals to serve as Appraisal Examiners. The purpose of a CAE designation is to establish recognition for this specialized service. This certification provides the education and the credentials needed to properly assist appraisers.

This enables appraisal firms to locate and subcontract certified, qualified examiners to assist with the collection of descriptions and photos of items to be appraised. The appraisers are then able to create an accurate Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) compliant certified report from this information provided by the inventory professional. Additionally, the home inventory professional is able to grow their businesses through additional revenue opportunities.

When completing an inventory service for residential and commercial clients, the inventory professional is often asked if they know the value of items, or if they can refer an appraiser. The CAE designation signifies that these contents inventory professionals have the knowledge required to collect and then submit the necessary information for an appraiser to assign value. This allows for a two-way referral opportunity between these two industries.

To help ensure that the inventory service provider is prepared to serve the appraisal industry, the NICA Education Committee, consisting of NICA members, an established property appraiser, and the Association Directors, determined the requirements to achieve an Appraiser Examiner Certification.

Only those who have earned their Certified Inventory Expert (CIE) or Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS) designation are eligible to apply for this additional level. The inventory professional is also required to successfully complete the Customer Service and Appraisal Examiner courses, plus an elective chosen from the NICA curriculum. The Appraisal Examiner course was co-written by a property appraiser to ensure integrity and provide hands-on processes for accurate collection of information.

Lavon stated, “Whether someone wants just one item appraised, a few items, or a whole house, I am now able to confidently and professionally collect the information and forward it to a USPAP certified appraiser. I am very excited about this additional service I can now offer my clients.”

Based in Export, Pennsylvania, Serenity Assured Inventory Solution offers residential and business asset inventory services to the metropolitan Pittsburgh area. 

21 Aug 2017

Easley, South Carolina Inventory Professional Earns CIS Designation

The National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member Randy Bagwell for achieving the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist.

 

Randy BagwellPRESS RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) is pleased to announce that Randy Bagwell, owner of Accurate Inventory, has recently earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS). Achieving this designation confirms his knowledge to provide quality residential and small business contents professional inventory services.

There is an increasing awareness of the necessity and benefits of having a prepared photographic and written record of one’s personal property. This knowledge and the ever-increasing busy lifestyles of homeowners and business owners alike create a growing demand for a professional inventory service provider.

To earn the CIS designation, Bagwell passed specified courses developed by NICA, agreed to conduct business according to the asset industry Code of Ethics, and accumulated the required number of Continuing Education Units. He then passed the Certification Exam, which is the final step in achieving this designation.

Achieving certification is not required for the contents inventory professional. Choosing to invest in  continuing education shows  Bagwell’s desire to learn the industry. This informs his clients that he has gone the extra mile to ensure  Accurate Inventory provides quality inventory services.

Bagwell stated, “As a retired insurance adjuster, I have seen the financial loss people face due to being unable to remember every item in their house after a fire, tornado, or other disaster. I am enjoying the opportunity to help people prepare. It’s a great feeling knowing I’ve helped them preserve their financial future.”

Based in Easley, South Carolina, Accurate Inventory offers residential and business asset inventory services in South Carolina, Northern Georgia, and Southern North Carolina

16 Aug 2017

Code of Ethics: Customer Service

We are very pleased about the growth of the National Inventory Certification Association, and with that grow has been the addition of Associate Members. Five have joined us to date, so we felt it was a good time to mention this Customer Service Code of Ethics statement:

Serve customers with respect and courtesy.

As we are all aware, there is often more than one customer or client per project. When working with or for an Associate Member, you have two direct clients.

The first customer is obviously the client. When you are providing a service for another company, you are in essence representing that company as well as your own. Always provide the ultimate in customer service, such as being on time, removing or asking if you should remove your shoes, being courteous, etc.

The second customer is the Associate Member or other company that has hired you to perform your service. Once you’ve completed your part of the project, it is of utmost importance to complete your tasks professionally and on time, and delivering them to the customer as expected/requested.

Example including an Associate Member

For example, Nugent Appraisal hires you for an Appraisal Examiner project. You serve the homeowner customer by providing your service, and doing so on time, efficiently, and politely. Nugent is also a customer, as you are providing them with your expertise and the photos and typed report. This report must be presented to Nugent professionally and on time, so they in return can complete their part of the project completed and delivered to the homeowner by the promised date.

For both (or more) customers you will have with each job, remember to:

  • Respond to all correspondence quickly and completely
  • Confirm your appointment
  • Notify the hiring company when you have completed your on-site process
  • Clarify any questions prior to or while on the job (if possible)
  • Notify the appropriate person if you have difficulties

Keeping all customers in mind at all times will ensure a successful relationship with our Associate Members and the opportunity to work with them (or any company who sub-contracts you) again.
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11 Aug 2017

Florida Inventory Professional Achieves Certification

The National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member Dwight Saxon for achieving the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist.

PRESS RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association™ (NICA) is pleased to announce that Dwight Saxon, owner of  Saxon’s Inventory, has recently earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS). Achieving this designation confirms his knowledge to provide quality residential and small business contents inventory services.

 

There is an increasing awareness of the necessity and benefits of having a prepared photographic and written record of one’s personal property prompted. This knowledge and the ever-increasing busy lifestyles of homeowners and business owners alike create a growing demand for a professional inventory service provider.

 

To earn the CIS home inventory industry designation, Saxon passed specified courses developed by NICA, agreed to conduct business according to the asset industry Code of Ethics, and accumulated a required number of Continuing Education Units. He then passed the Certification Exam, which is the final step in achieving this designation.

 

Being industry certified is not required for the contents inventory professional. Choosing to invest in  continuing education shows  Saxon’s desire to learn the industry. This informs his clients that he has gone the extra mile to ensure that Saxon’s Inventory provides quality inventory services.  He stated, “As a retired firefighter, I saw so many people lose everything they own. If each of these people would have had a document of their belongings, I know the recovery process would have been easier, faster, and more financially equitable. I can now help people prepare in case they face a loss; it’s a great feeling knowing what good my service will do for others.”

 

Based in Wellington, Florida, Saxon’s Inventory offers residential and business asset inventory services throughout Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, and Saint Lucie Counties.

09 Aug 2017

The Real Power of Accessible Websites: Not Just Compliance Protection, But Increased Business

A few years ago a colleague I respect named Gordon emailed a message to let me know he was having trouble reading the content of my-then-new website. I thought the website was well-designed and beautiful.

“Mary, I found the wide, column-to-column centered text difficult to read. I had a stroke 16 months ago and have narrow vision in my left eye and none in my right. I use margins to help me guide my one good eye. The only criticism might be a website with higher contrast menu links and short length content paragraphs.”

What a wake-up call for me…as it should be for all business owners who have websites. I was grateful Gordon emailed to tell me about the problems he was having understanding my site content.

How many other people with disabilities…dexterity, cognition or sensory issues…had a hard time using my website and simply hit the browser back button, never to return?

Is this happening to you? Do you know?

SOME HISTORY

I have been developing websites since 1995. I eventually became familiar with 508 compliance…meaning all users, regardless of disability status, should be able to access your website content, be it text, video, podcasts, etc. For years I integrated the basic recommendations into the websites I designed. I thought it was enough. But there was something missing. Thanks to Gordon, I realized my website design/content was frustrating possible prospects and scaring away additional business. I needed to do more.

REALITY: Folks with disabilities are also professionals who have money to spend. 

According to Fifth Quadrant Analytics:

“The disability market represents 1.3 billion people globally who face challenges across three general areas—dexterity, cognition or sensory issues. Equivalent in size to the population of China, the disability market represents an annual disposable income of $1 trillion—and $544 billion in the US alone.”

That’s a lot of people…and a ton of disposable income.

REALITY: Accessibility makes good business sense.

Goodwill, smart business, and pending governmental regulation should compel organizations to make websites accessible to all potential customers.

If your website is designed to generate revenue, obtain email addresses for newsletter subscriptions, and invite prospects to fill out forms, accessibility compliance can help increase conversions because you have designed for all people.

Without a compliant web presence, you are frustrating possible prospects and losing business.

REALITY: SEO Benefit.

A little-known benefit of accessibility compliance is an SEO boost. Search engine optimization relies on web crawlers that read a website. These web crawlers have an easier time crawling sites that are accessible because they have a straightforward design, text-based versions of media, and clear descriptors. Their structure also allows crawlers to access and evaluate content more easily. As a result, websites are indexed more accurately and are more likely to appear as a relevant result in a web search.

WELCOME TO WCAG 2.0

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) are published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international standards organization for the Internet.

These guidelines specify how to make content accessible, primarily for people with disabilities, but also for all user agents (also known as web browsers), including assistive technology devices.

So I dug in to the WCAG 2.0 A, AA & AAA specifications and studied. I created new layouts, tested HTML5 code, hammered on JavaScript and CSS3 stylesheets, figured out how to apply accessibility to code generated by content management systems like WordPress. All along testing what I had learned on all sorts of devices using online tools and assistive technology devices.

REALITY: Compliance laws are changing.

Until now, website accessibility hasn’t been a big concern for most business owners and marketers. But legislative changes are on the way. As of February 2018, The Department of Justice (DOJ) will take the position that websites offering goods or services to consumers are places of public accommodation and must be accessible to the disabled as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA and its regulations do not specifically address websites. The DOJ, however, says that websites offering goods or services to consumers must be accessible by complying with guidelines from Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 A & AA. Whether the DOJ will implement web accessibility standards is not a matter of “if,” but “when.” However, waiting until it’s the law may make your site legally vulnerable in the meantime if you aren’t in compliance, as organizations such as Winn Dixie, Chick-fil-A, Realtor.com, Peapod, Target, Reebok, and the NBA have already found out. All have already been sued for website accessibility non-compliance.

REALITY: What Disabilities Do You Have to Consider When Developing a Website?

Just as a brick ‘n mortar store has accessible wheelchair ramps and restrooms to accommodate folks with disabilities, a website should be able to serve all website content to those who want to access the informatio. Take into account these disability types your website design/content needs to serve:

Visual – blindness, impaired vision, color-blindness

— Blind people will need the content of the screen to be converted to text with available voiceover.
— Partially sighted people may require that the contrast be altered or use a screen reader to magnify it.
— Colorblind people will need the means to differentiate between colors.

Hearing – deafness and hard of hearing

— Deaf users need subtitles or sign language.
— People with impaired hearing would need a clearer and louder audio.

Motor – inability to use a mouse, slow response times, limited fine motor control.

— Those with impaired movement would need to use voice input or other input devices.

Cognitive – learning disabilities, poor or impaired memory, inability to focus on large amounts of information.

— Those with cognitive impairments would benefit from simple layouts, which are clear and consistent.

Epilepsy

— Elements that use flashing light would need to be disabled by a user with epilepsy.

REALITY: If you are promoting your products and services via the web, you need an accessible website…now.

You might be hesitant to overhaul your website to be accessible because of the effort involved. However, undergoing an update can positively benefit your bottom line. When more people (and web crawlers) can access a website, the site can generate more business. Use website accessibility guidelines to increase your company’s reach. It is possible to meet the needs of more potential customers, regardless of disability, by improving the usability and accessibility of your website.

NEXT STEP: Have your existing website professionally tested for WCAG 2.0 A & AA accessibility.

Be sure you are provided with a full report and a series of checklists that you can provide to your web developer so your site can be fixed to fit compliance regulations.

 

Mary GillenMary Gillen is an Associate Member of NICA offering her services as a web developer of accessible responsive websites. Mary can provide a page-by-page accessibility audit of your website:

WCAG 2.0: 110 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines

Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 47 accessibility checkpoints.

Mary IDENTIFIES changes or updates that need to be made in order to comply with ADA Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 A, AA & AAA Guidelines. She provides you with a full report and a series of checklists that identify items on your website that need to be fixed in order to be compliant. These checklists will also guide your web developers on how to fix these accessibility issues. Mary also provides Website Remediation Services. Once testing is done, Mary can IMPLEMENT the necessary changes across your website to make it compliant. She will then run a final test to VALIDATE that the changes made meet accessibility requirements. She can then DEVELOP a customized plan for on-going accessibility monitoring and support.

Visit Mary’s AccessibleWebSiteServices.com <link: http://accessiblewebsiteservices.com> website to find out more.