April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
16 May 2018

Time To Plan For Your 2018 Taxes ( … Already???)

TaxesYour tax returns were just completed, and now you have to start thinking about 2018 (if you haven’t already). With the new tax legislation, it’s best to meet with your accountant in May or June at the latest. Since they just finished the 2017 season, it is a good idea to give him or her a few weeks of R&R before asking for an appointment.

When you do meet with them, even if not until June, you will most likely still have time to make any necessary adjustments. Based on articles written since the new legislation was signed by President Trump, it appears the majority of small business owners – including home inventory professionals – will benefit from the changes.

An article in Business News Daily is quite informative, so we have summarized a few key items. For the entire article, click on this link to learn more about small business taxes.

  • Deductions. The new bill provides a 20 percent deduction for pass-through businesses.
  • First-year bonus depreciation. This deduction is going from 50 to 100 percent. This means that businesses purchasing eligible equipment can deduct the full amount of the purchase, instead of writing off a portion of the expense each year (depreciating it). 

This article also included some helpful tips regarding taxes:

  • Consult with a CPA. A tax professional can ensure your business is taking advantage of all the deductions available and also make sure you’re paying everything you owe.
  • Think about taxes all year long. Small business owners should not treat income taxes as a once-a-year event. Waiting until the last minute makes tax preparation more complicated, and it might limit money-saving options. 
  • Don’t make assumptions. Tax planning, to some extent, is a gamble. Never make business decisions assuming that particular tax breaks will pass, or that certain policies will be enacted.
02 May 2018

De-cluttering: The Stuff You Have That Your Kids Don’t Want

Tricia HoekwaterDe-cluttering. It is always on my mind and I regularly look around my house for items to get rid of.  I don’t want to leave my kids with the unpleasant task of discarding a lot of clutter from my home.  I recently read an interesting NextAvenue article titled The Top 10 Items You Have That Your Kids Don’t Want by Elizabeth Stewart. It offers some helpful insight.

Your house, and what it contains, is a minefield in the eyes of your grown children. They can see from your example that collections of stuff are a curse; such objects are superfluous to a life well lived. They want a clean, clear field in which to live their lives. Your grown children will not agree to be the recipients of your downsizing if it means their upsizing.

No. 10: Books
Unless your grown kids are professors, they don’t want your books.

No. 9: Paper Ephemera
Things like family snapshots, old greeting cards and postcards are called paper ephemera.  Take all your family snapshots and have them made into digital files.

No. 8: Steamer Trunks, Sewing Machines and Film Projectors
Steamer Trunks are so abundant that they are not valuable, unless the maker is Louis Vuitton, Asprey, Goyard or some other famous luggage house.

Likewise, every family has an old sewing machine. I have never found ONE that was rare enough to be valuable. 

And every family has a projector for home movies. Thrift stores are full of these items, so, unless your family member was a professional and the item is top-notch, yours can go there as well.

No. 7: Porcelain Figurine Collections and Bradford Exchange “Cabinet” Plates
These collections of frogs, chickens, bells, shoes, flowers, bees, trolls, ladies in big gowns, pirates, monks, figures on steins, dogs, horses, pigs, 
cats, babies, Hummel’s, and Precious Moments are not desired by your grown children, grandchildren or any other relation. Even though they are filled with memories of those who gave them to your mom, they have no market value. And they do not fit into the Zen-like tranquil aesthetic of a 20- or 30-something’s home.

No. 6: Silver-Plated Objects
Your grown children will not polish silver-plate, this I can guarantee. If you give them covered casserole dishes, meat platters, candy dishes, serving bowls, tea services, gravy boats, butter dishes 
and candelabra, you will be persona-non-grata.

No. 5: Heavy, Dark, Antique Furniture
There is still a market for this sort of furniture, and that market, in the fashionable areas of the U.S., is most often the secondhand shop.

No. 4: Persian Rugs
The modern tranquility aimed for in the décor of the 20- to 30-somethings does not lend itself to a collection of multicolored (and sometimes threadbare) Persian rugs.

No. 3: Linens
Go ahead, offer to send your daughter five boxes of hand-embroidered pillowcases, guest towels, napkins, and table linens.  She might not even own an iron or ironing board, and she definitely doesn’t set that kind of table.

No. 2: Sterling Silver Flatware and Crystal Wine Services
Unless the scrap value for silver is high enough for a meltdown, matching sets of sterling flatware are hard to sell because they rarely go for “antique” value. Formal entertaining is not a priority these days.

No. 1: Fine Porcelain Dinnerware
Your grown children may not want to store four sets of fancy porcelain dinnerware, and frankly don’t see the glory in unpacking it once a year for a holiday or event.

SOURCE: The Top 10 Items You Have That Your Kids Don’t Want
Tricia Hoekwater is a Member of NICA and a Certified Inventory Specialist dedicated to providing peace of mind for home and business owners through the process of educating and helping people be prepared for life’s unexpected twists. Through her company, Uniquely Yours Digital Solutions, the services she offers are Home InventoryCollectibles InventoryDeclutteringPhoto Archiving and Paper Management systems.

11 Apr 2018

Colorado Member Achieves Industry CIS Designation

The National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member Mandy Wiedeman for achieving the Certified Inventory Specialist designation.

certifiedPRESS RELEASE – April 9, 2018 – The National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) is pleased to announce that Mandy Wiedeman, owner of Hearts Ease Home Inventory, has recently earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS). Completing this accomplishment confirms her knowledge that enables her 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. This knowledge and the ever-increasing busy lifestyles of homeowners and business owners alike create a growing demand for professional inventory service providers.

To earn the CIS designation, Wiedeman successfully completed 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. She then passed the Certification Exam, which is the final step in achieving this 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 she has gone the extra mile to ensure that Hearts Ease Home Inventory provides quality inventory services.

Wiedeman stated, “It was firsthand experience, serving as co-executor of a friend’s estate, that laid the foundation for Hearts Ease Home Inventory. In the aftermath of losing my friend and settling her estate, I carried a weight that abruptly exposed itself in the form of persistent, overwhelming anxiety and depression. Thoughts of responsibilities and identical commitments made to serve in this capacity for others stimulated a desperate sense of urgency to get my own affairs in order, and do so in a way that would alleviate potential impacts this process holds for surviving family and friends.”

Based in Fort Collins, Colorado, Hearts Ease Home Inventory offers residential and business asset inventory services for disaster preparedness and recovery, estate planning, estate settlement, and separation of assets for homes and businesses.

04 Apr 2018

A Great Time To Start Your Home Inventory Business

Nationwide Inventory Professionals LogoWith April being National Home Inventory Month, Associate Member Nationwide Inventory Professionals believes it’s a great time to start your home inventory business. Many subscribers to the NICA newsletter are researching the industry. For those who are planning to start your inventory service, this awareness month is a perfect time. With fellow professionals promoting the industry more than usual, the attention created will give a catalyst to get started.

And you say that April is just a few days away, right? With the Nationwide Inventory Professionals Business Package and License Agreement, you can be ready to do business within 30 days…before Home Inventory Month is over! You’ll receive:

  • Personalized website
  • Personalized newsletter distributed for you to your database
  • Shared logo that helps create brand recognition
  • Private website with a downloadable manual as well as business and marketing templates
  • Support and mentoring from the founders
  • And very important –1st year membership in NICA and all courses required to achieve certification as a CIS

What great timing … starting your home inventory business during National Home Inventory Month!

31 Mar 2018

National Home Inventory Month – April 2018

Home Inventory MonthNICA, as a member-driven association, has made great strides in bringing awareness about home inventories to the general public. To increase this awareness, a committee worked with Managing Director Cindy Hartman to establish National Home Inventory Month. One more shout-out to the committee members Debra Palmer, Jo Soard, and Tricia Hoekwater for a job well done – and in a very short time!

A press release was distributed mid-March, announcing that NICA declared April as National Home Inventory Month. We are very pleased that many other press release sites picked up the article and posted it on their sites. Members also shared the press release on their social media accounts – thank you to those who took the time to help promote it. The press release is also published on the News page of the NICA website, so you can easily share that article on your social media posts.

As April is just a few days away, the committee would like all home inventory professionals to watch for the NICA social media posts and share the information. There is also a prepared list of posts for members to share on their social media accounts along with graphics created specifically for National Home Inventory Month 2018.

Please visit the page dedicated to this awareness month on the NICA website. There is a brief section telling visitors the reasons for establishing this special month, followed by a list of activities every home inventory professional can embrace to help share the information and inform their followers.

National Home Inventory Month will be as successful as each home inventory professional decides to make it. This is a great opportunity to pull together and make a concerted effort as an industry to bring attention to the services each home inventory professional offers.

Let’s see the month of April full of activities, social media posts, press releases, and efforts to share the opportunities to create awareness. Please send photos of what you’re doing. If you don’t have photos but would like to share what you did to contribute to our industry’s recognition, send an email. We’ll include all member photos and contributions on the News page of the website and in the May newsletter.

08 Mar 2018

NICA Establishes National Home Inventory Month

CalendarThere was a great deal of interest from our members for NICA to pursue establishing a special day, week, or month designated for Home Inventory.

With your support, we have decided to pursue establishing a National Home Inventory Month, with the intent to help create awareness of the need for a home inventory and the benefits of being a NICA member.

The Committee members who determined the feasibility of this initiative and who are currently working on this program are:

The committee chose April to be the month designated as National Home Inventory Month. The committee agreed that instead of recognition just for a day or week, having the entire month would be more beneficial. This will allow all inventory professionals to promote their services for a longer period of time, which will help gain more recognition.

Another factor in choosing April was to avoid other established awareness months for related industries: National Safety Month (June), National Preparedness Month (September) and National Fire Prevention Month (October). It is also a “spring cleaning” season, which often ties into wanting an inventory once old items are discarded.

The focus for NICA as an association and each member as a professional home inventory service provider are:

  • To help develop awareness and understanding of the need for a home inventory.
  • To provide education to the public regarding the value of having thorough documents of one’s belongings, including how the insurance claim process works and why an inventory is essential for an equitable settlement.
  • Promote the many reasons for a home inventory: disaster preparedness and recovery, estate settlement, financial and estate planning, divorce/separation of assets, and pre-nuptials.
  • This will be achieved through one-on-one conversations, social media presence, scheduled speaking opportunities, and introducing this service to insurance agents, estate attorneys, personal property appraisers, and financial planners. 

The committee has a lot of work to do in March to be prepared for an April 1 launch of this special month. Thank you to these members for stepping up and serving our association and industry.

18 Jan 2018

Tennessee Inventory Professional Achieves Appraisal Examiner Certification

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

certified blue check markPRESS RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) is pleased to announce that Jenny Cossett, owner of Lighthouse Inventory Services, LLC, 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 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 Decherd, Tennessee, Lighthouse Inventory Services offers residential and business asset inventory services and appraisal services to the metropolitan areas of Chattanooga, Gatlinburg, Knoxville, and Nashville. Other states served are West Kentucky, North Georgia, and North Alabama.

11 Jan 2018

Texas Inventory Professional Achieves Industry Designation

The National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member Angela Austin for achieving the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist.

Red Ribbon-CertifiedThe National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) is pleased to announce that Angela Austin, owner of  Austin Inventory Specialists, has 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,  Austin successfully completed 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. She then passed the Certification Exam, which is the final step in achieving this distinction.

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 Austin has gone the extra mile to ensure that she provides quality inventory services.

Austin stated, “Over the past 16 years in the insurance industry, we have witnessed many catastrophic claims. Many of the clients were not prepared for such devastation. Insurance companies often require an inventory of items stolen, ruined or damaged. We recognize the importance of a client-centered inventory experience, which inspires us to create strong and long-lasting bonds with each of our customers.”

Based in  Denison, Texas, Austin Inventory Specialists offers residential and business asset inventory services in the Texoma area. 

 

19 Dec 2017

New Course: Insurance Knowledge for the Inventory Professional

Donna CourtneyIt’s here! We are very excited to have this often-requested course now available – Insurance Knowledge for the Inventory Professional. It includes basic education and knowledge about the insurance industry. This information will enable you to have a professional insurance discussion with your clients as an inventory specialist – not as an insurance agent.

We thank Donna Courtney for sharing her expertise with our association through writing this course. She comes with superb credentials. Donna is a NICA member, retired insurance agent, and now is the owner of Courtney Inventory in Little River, South Carolina. Having both the experience in P&C insurance and as an inventory professional, she understands what inventory specialists need to know to present the benefits of your service to prospects as well as to promote your business to insurance agents with confidence.

The course, written exclusively for the National Inventory Certification Association, will also help you establish the many reasons why a personal contents inventory is needed and includes claim scenarios and statistics surrounding recent wildfires, floods, and hurricanes in the United States. You will also be able to help your clients locate the area of their homeowner policy requiring them to provide an inventory in the event of a filed claim. In addition to becoming more informed about basic property insurance concepts and understanding the claims process, you learn how to effectively market your inventory services to insurance agents and restoration companies.

The course is presented in 3 modules:

Module 1: Insurance Coverages and Terms introduces you to insurance coverages, terms, and definitions and will help you to have a knowledgeable discussion with your clients about the need for a personal property inventory.  You will discover the importance of a spoken disclaimer whenever you have insurance conversations with your client.

Module 2: Insurance Claims gives statistical information on insurance claims and the recovery process, actual claim scenarios, the process required by most insurance companies to file a property loss, and where to find the personal property inventory requirement in most homeowner policies.

Module 3: How To Market to the Insurance Industry helps you in your marketing efforts by suggesting the how, when, why, and where to introduce your inventory business to property insurance agents. In addition, there are additional job sectors you may want to add to your marketing mix.

This course provides 3 CEUs, and a great way to help achieve your 5 CEUs required to retain your certification for 2017. If you already have achieved this requirement, you can take it in 2018 to help you achieve your 5 CEUs for next year.

Visit the link learn more about Insurance Knowledge for the Inventory Professional, as well as the variety of other courses provided by NICA.

07 Dec 2017

Tennessee Inventory Professional Achieves Industry CIS Designation

The National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member Jenny Cossett for achieving the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist.

Jenny CossettPRESS RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) is pleased to announce that Jenny Cossett, owner of Lighthouse Inventory Services, has recently earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS). Achieving this designation confirms knowledge to provide professional residential and small business contents inventory services.

 

To earn the CIS designation, Cossett successfully completed 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. She then passed the Certification Exam, which is the final step in achieving this designation.

 

Having an industry certification is not required for the contents inventory industry. However, 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 she has gone the extra mile to ensure that Lighthouse Inventory Services provides quality 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.

 

Cossett stated, “My experience as an insurance adjuster has shown me the need for people to have an inventory of the contents in their home and business. A major loss can be extremely harmful to their financials after facing a disaster.”

Based in  Decherd, Tennessee, Lighthouse Inventory Services provides residential and business asset inventory and appraisal services. Certified, bonded, and insured, they serve clients in Tennessee – including the metropolitan areas of Chattanooga, Gatlinburg, Knoxville, and Nashville. Other states served are West Kentucky, North Georgia, and North Alabama.