April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
03 Feb 2021

Member Refers Member

Thank youWhen you joined NICA, you most likely read the list of Member Benefits. Though there are many benefits to being a member, we believe that giving referrals is one of the most beneficial. Whether it’s a service you don’t provide or the location of the inventory is too far away, using the Directory can help you find someone to who you can refer.

Our office received a letter from member Tricia Hoekwater, owner of Uniquely Yours Digital Solutions (dba Norcal Inventory), telling us of a referral she received from Donna Courtney, owner of Courtney Inventory, located almost 3,000 miles away, that turned into an excellent inventory job. Not only did Tricia show the benefits of members working together to benefit clients throughout the country, but she also provided some great tips for those who choose to tackle the arduous task of loss inventories.

Thank you, Tricia, for allowing us to share this letter…

“In 2020 my colleague, Donna Courtney, received an inquiry for a loss inventory that occurred outside of her normal work of South Carolina. The client was filing an insurance claim due to the California, San Rosa fires and needed help documenting the personal property that was lost. Donna referred the client to me as I was physically closer.

This opportunity required getting to know the client, their personal preferences, where they shop, their original home layout, and their sense of their possessions. During our meetings, I was able to establish a good rapport with the client from our initial meeting and each subsequent communication gave me more insight into the items they lost in the fire. This level of knowledge allowed me to efficiently spend my time researching the Internet for the same or similar items.  

With the client’s permission, I was able to deal with the insurance company on their behalf to ensure the proper documentation was being provided. Using an Excel worksheet template provided by the client and initial correspondence with the claims adjuster, I was able to document in detail each item listed in the insurance claim.

The client gave me “artistic license” to research and add items to the inventory for their review and approval.  As I submitted each update for review, I received positive feedback confirming that they had those items. This process would also jog their memory for more specifics on name brands and quantities.  As an example – while documenting their extensive wine collection, I was able to research specific wineries and vintages in the Sonoma Valley, where they lived, which met the price point provided by the client. This allowed the clients to confirm that they had owned specific bottles of wine. Knowing the client flipped houses, a second example involved researching tools and equipment that would be used in flipping a house. This included everything from handheld tools to heavy equipment and end of project cleaning supplies and tools.

The insurer required a great deal of detailed information including:

  • Item name
  • Item description
  • Quantity
  • Item price
  • Extended price
  • Source of information (url). 

I also included notes for each line item if there were changes to the insurer’s valuations or descriptions. The final report was 1 spreadsheet with 34 individual worksheets that linked back to two summary worksheets. 

This was a great experience. I enjoyed being able to take this tedious and time-consuming task off the client’s plate. I was able to save the clients’ money, allow them to release the stress of creating the inventory, and they were able to continue with their travels and other commitments.

A very special “Thank you” to Donna Courtney. This was an incredible experience and I am more than grateful for her referral.”

Again, we thank Tricia for sharing this great story. If you have a similar example of working together with other NICA members, please send them in so we can share them in future newsletters.

20 Feb 2019

Home Inventory Industry App Developed by NICA Member

Inventory AppNICA member Kevin Cope with Home Inventory Me, LLC is excited to announce his Crowdfunding campaign for the next generation Home Inventory app – designed specifically to meet the needs of the 3rd Party Asset Documentation Industry. 

Kevin stated, “This is not a Kickstarter or Indiegogo initiative, but rather, a ground-floor opportunity to become an actual shareholder in this revolutionary and exciting new venture.  Anyone is eligible to participate and the minimum investment starts at only $500.00.  Although a number of different cloud-based inventory app options exist in the marketplace today, there still remains the lack of an end-to-end automated solution for the typical Asset Documentation Provider due to the fact that the industry as a whole is still extremely disconnected.

“Our product aims to solve this problem with an enterprise/modular based automated contents inventory solution that includes the following features, to name just a few:  360° Inventory functionality, Optional QBO Integration (Estimates, Invoices, & Timesheets), Field force work scheduling with Calendar View and auto SMS/Email notifications, Field based permissions sharing, Bulk Edit Functionality, Barcode/QR Code Scan, Search, & Print, Independent Offline functionality and much much more.”

For more information, visit the Offering Page.

28 Dec 2016

Introducing the Appraisal Examiner Member Opportunity

working togetherAs an Associate Member of NICA, Nugent Appraisal Services has become quite active with NICA. Owner Ray Nugent stated that he saw value in developing a relationship between his personal property appraisal business and the home inventory professional. The process of compiling an inventory is similar to what is collected for an appraisal. Therefore, the cohesion is quite evident and he has proposed an Appraisal Examiner opportunity to us, the members of the National Inventory Certification Association.

There are two ways to work as an Examiner. One is while marketing  your inventory service to estate attorneys, insurance agents, financial planners, and others in your local area, state that you also provide certified appraisal services. If they only want an inventory, that’s great. If they need a few items appraised, you can now provide this as well. This keeps the client from needing to deal with two professionals (inventory service and appraiser), which eliminates the need for the client to hire a 2nd vendor and schedule a 2nd appointment. You then send the information collected about the items that need appraised to Ray Nugent; his professional staff will do the research and complete a USPAP compliant certified report.

The second opportunity is to serve directly as an Examiner for a job Nugent Appraisal has secured. They provide appraisals throughout the United States, which often requires them to travel. By working with inventory professionals, they can reduce their travel time and save the client these expenses as well. For the home inventory professional, it’s a perfect opportunity to add another income stream.

In addition to the current work they do throughout the country, Nugent is focusing on major metropolitan areas – currently Boston, Omaha/Lincoln, Indianapolis, New York City, and San Francisco – to build their business. When the attorney is in need of an appraisal, they call Nugent who will in turn contact the Examiner in the area to schedule the collection of information.

A course, Appraisal Examiner, is being co-authored by Ray Nugent. This will ensure that you receive complete and thorough information if you choose to pursue becoming an Examiner. Our intent is to have the course available by the end of January or early February.

This is a great example of how our Members and Associate Members can work together!

31 Aug 2016

Opportunity for Writers

WritingMembers! If you write articles or a business blog, we would love to share your information!  It can be as easy as emailing us a word document of the article, or just a link to a blog or article that’s on line. We’ll copy and paste it into the News page on the NICA website, and also share it on our social media sites.

This provides a variety of topics for NICA members and readers of our blog, highlights your expertise, and offers extra exposure for you, since we will link the article back to your website!

You can become a regular contributor or just send an article or two per year. Whatever works for you; we’ll be happy to share your work. Just send it to nica@nationalinventorycertificationassociation.com. To help us find them easily, please put “article” or “blog contribution” in the subject line. Also include a brief bio and a photo to accompany the article.

16 Sep 2015

Confidentiality – A Must For This Industry

CodeOfEthicsOne of the NICA and Inventory Industry Code of Conduct items states, “Do not disclose information about customers (i.e., data, photos, reports, etc.), in verbal or written form.” This code regarding client confidentiality was displayed very well recently by a member of the National Inventory Certification Association.

Some associations and certifying organizations require proof of client work before their members can receive certification. Due to the confidentiality expected in our industry, we do not (and never will) ask for copies of inventory documents. These are proprietary between the inventory service professional and their clients.

So, how do you handle a request from a potential clients to see a completed inventory when you promise that you won’t share this information with others? Do you show it to them anyway, especially when it could be a great opportunity to add a new person to your list of clients?

Declining the opportunity

A NICA member was asked by a potential client (“Mr. X”) for a copy of a completed home inventory that he could review. They offered to show Mr. X a sample of what the finished product would include, explaining the confidentiality expectations of our industry. He continued to request that he see a “real” one that was prepared for a client.

When our member further stated that there is identifying information in the written report and the photos, Mr. X suggested to just have that specific information be removed or blacked out. By doing this, the member would still be sharing confidential information and again explained that they could not abide by his wishes (how do you black out any possible identifying information in photos?).

This NICA member acted properly. Though it would have been a very lucrative job, this member declined the opportunity due to their professionalism and adherence to the Code of Ethics.