Monday, December 8, 2014

Save the Date - 2015 Annual Installation Banquet

2015 New Year celebration ( / CC BY 3.0

Save the date for the 2015 Annual Installation Banquet! The banquet will be held at the Circuit Center on January 16.

For information or to register, please contact Kari at 412-563-1900 or

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Appraisal Institute Annual Meeting
July 27-29, 2015
Sheraton Dallas | Dallas, Texas

The Appraisal Institute is seeking proposals for presentations for its 2015 Annual Meeting in Dallas.

AI Connect is looking for highly skilled speakers who can address issues and topics of interest to the valuation profession. The Appraisal Institute highly values as presenters appraisal client representatives, government agency officials or leaders of real estate industry organizations.

Submissions must include bios, photos and contact information for all presenters and must include presentation title and abstract. All presentations will be assigned to one or more of the following tracks:
For more information on the types of sessions selected for previous AI Connect conferences, please go to:

Preference will be given to proposed presentations that highlight achievements or opportunities for the profession, address client issues or concerns, raise awareness about best practices or attempt to address a pressing issue or problem facing the profession. Presentations can be local, national or international in scope.

Presenters will receive complimentary registration for the day of their presentation. Presenters who plan to attend the entire 2015 AI Annual Meeting will receive a discount on registration; travel expenses will not be covered. 

All applications must be received by Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Questions? Contact Jasmina Nuhbegovic; 312-335-4184;

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New Appraisal Institute Book Addresses Latest Methods for Valuing Contaminated Properties

A news release from the Appraisal Institute

Properties impacted by contamination raise challenging appraisal issues, according to a new book from the nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers.

 “Valuing Contaminated Properties: An Appraisal Institute Anthology, Volume II” published this week by the Appraisal Institute helps appraisers understand the history and development of widely recognized and generally accepted methods for handling assignments involving contaminated properties.

 “This book is a definitive compilation of accepted appraisal knowledge on an important topic,” Appraisal Institute President Ken P. Wilson, MAI, SRA, wrote in the book’s foreword. “This updated anthology will help appraisers stay current and look toward a future of evolving strategies for dealing with environmental contamination.”

 “Valuing Contaminated Properties: An Appraisal Institute Anthology, Volume II,” edited by Richard J. Roddewig, MAI, CRE, is divided into chapters covering 10 different topics related to contamination. Practitioners will learn about recent trends in contaminated properties including:

  • the accepted understanding that contamination’s impact on value is largely temporary;
  • the shifting focus from appraising industrial and commercial source sites to appraising residential properties affected by contamination; and
  • the increased availability of online sales data and the new emphasis on using more market data in contamination assignments.

“Valuing Contaminated Properties: An Appraisal Institute Anthology, Volume II” (ISBN: 978-1-935328-58-2) is a 503-page softcover book. It is available for $75 ($60 for Appraisal Institute professionals). Call 888-756-4624 or order online.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Take me out the ballgame

Earning your SRA or MAI designation is a process that requires extensive coursework, a number of exams and hours of specialized experience. For those candidates seeking designation, your advisor may quickly rise to the number one position in your phone. Advisors help the candidates keep the process in perspective, answers questions and provide support during the journey to designation.

Last week, advisors and SRA and MAI candidates met up for the Pittsburgh Pirates game. It was a great night with wonderful food, fantastic people and a win by the Pirates!

Thanks to Chapter President, Dennis Cestra, SRA, IFA, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, and John Dudash, SRA, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, and Clay Cassidy, MAI, Integra Realty Resources, for planning and hosting the event.

The next meeting for advisors and candidates is October 14, 2014 at the Club at Nevillewood. For information, please contact Kari at (412) 563-1900.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Appraisal Institute Unveils Standards of Valuation Practice

CHICAGO (Aug. 26, 2014) – The nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers today announced to global users of real estate valuation services the availability of its Standards of Valuation Practice. The SVP can serve as an alternative for valuation professionals where national or other standards are not required.

“This is a huge step forward for the real estate valuation profession,” said Appraisal Institute President Ken P. Wilson, MAI, SRA. “The Standards of Valuation Practice will provide a high-quality, straight-forward option for appraisers that is principles-based and not rules-based.”

The Appraisal Institute’s policy-making Board of Directors adopted the proposed Standards of Valuation Practice at its Aug. 7-8 meeting in Austin, Texas. The Appraisal Institute had sought input on the proposed Standards of Valuation Practice during three comment periods in the preceding nine months.

The Standards of Valuation Practice:

  • Can be used as an alternative to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice or the International Valuation Standards when the use of USPAP or IVS is not required and the use of the SVP would be appropriate;
  • Will serve as an alternative set of standards that could be used, not an additional set of required standards; and
  • Will not supplant USPAP or other national standards.

“The SVP will establish a higher level of professional practice, engender public trust and facilitate the growth and advancement of the valuation profession,” said Wilson. “The SVP will recognize the broad area of practice of valuation professionals and the diverse needs of users of valuation services.”

Effective Jan. 1, 2015, Appraisal Institute Designated members, Candidates for Designation and Practicing Affiliates will be required to comply with either:

  • The Standards of Valuation Practice, promulgated by the Appraisal Institute, and the Certification Standard of the Appraisal Institute; or
  • Applicable national or international standards, and the Certification Standard of the Appraisal Institute.

The Appraisal Institute is the historic leader in establishing standards for the valuation profession. The Appraisal Institute’s two predecessor organizations, which unified in 1991, were among the first to establish standards for the valuation profession; the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers created standards in 1932 and the Society of Real Estate Appraisers did so in 1936. AIREA and the Society regularly revised and strengthened their Standards over the decades that followed.

The Standards of Valuation Practice are one of three strategic initiatives the Appraisal Institute announced in October 2013. The Appraisal Institute said then that it would:

  • issue proposed standards of valuation practice that could serve as an alternative for valuation professionals where national or other standards are not required;
  • expand delivery of Appraisal Institute education, becoming more proactive in identifying and pursuing appraisal educational opportunities; and
  • create a new certification organization to establish a future generation of cross-disciplinary valuation professionals and to enhance their marketability in a competitive job environment (which was accomplished with the May 2014 introduction of the International Center for Valuation Certification).

Read the Standards of Valuation Practice here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hitting the sticks

Thirty-six appraisers hit the sticks for the annual Appraisal Institute Golf Outing on July 28. It was a great outing despite the overcast sky and rain. Many thanks to Tom Frederick for organizing the outing. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Understanding the New Role of the Appraisal in Commercial Banking and Going Concern Allocations - Buffalo, NY Program

Our neighboring chapter, Western NY/Ontario Intl, is hosting a one-day seminar and social in Buffalo. All are welcome. Details below. 


Wednesday, August 6th, 2014 
Registration (Pastries/Coffee): 8:00 AM to 8:30 AM 
Seminar Begins: 8:30 AM 


Larkin at Exchange Building 
726 Exchange Street – Suite 804 
Barton Room 
Buffalo, New York 14210 

Cost: (Includes Lunch) 
$175 (AI/State CE Credit w/Certificate) 
$40 USE PROMO CODE: No CE Credit 
(Bankers, Lawyers, Real Estate Agents, etc. OR Appraisers not requiring AI or State CE Credit – NO CERTIFICATE) 


Part I – Appraisal in an Evolving Banking Environment: 3 Hours 
Presenter: Adam A. Alessi, MAI, MRICS 
Chief Appraiser, First Niagara Bank, N.A. 
  • A look at the post-2008 timeline for appraisal-related regulatory mandates and the response of the lending and appraisal communities; 
  • Case studies of valuation and compliance issues impacted or ignored by the regulatory environment 
  • First-hand accounts and perspectives of the realities of serving a borrowing base in this climate. 

Part II – Complex Properties: A Risk-Based Approach 
to Allocations and Investment: 4 Hours 
Presenter: Franz H. Ross, CBA, CVA, MRICS, 
Complex Asset Specialist, First Niagara Bank, N.A.

What are the unique characteristics of each complex property type? Discussion will include hotels, C-stores, healthcare properties, power plants, restaurant/banquet facilities, tank farms, data centers, golf courses, and other recreational properties. What special industry knowledge 
is needed to appraise each property type, and what unique metrics are applicable? 
  • The premise for giving the greatest weight to a risk based/cost based asset allocation methodology;
  • Attendees will receive the new ETEEM model, and be given instruction in its use; 
  • Understanding the importance of asset allocation metrics such as cost approach data, market rents, lease coverage ratios, management fees and others; 
  • Best practices in an income analysis that is universal to all income properties. 
  • How to prove cap rates of “going-concerns” and of intangible assets using available BV data. 
Continuing Education
Approved for 7 Hours of Continuing Education by:
  • The Appraisal Institute
Pending Approval for 7 Hours of Continuing Education by: 
  • NYS Continuing Education 
  • Pennsylvania CE 

Post Class Gathering/Social, hosted by the WNY/Ontario Chapter of the Appraisal Institute: 

Larkin Square – Filling Station 

Hors d’oeuvres and Cash Bar 

Live at Larkin featuring 

The Steam Donkeys and Shaky Stage

For more information please contact Yolanda Perez, Executive Secretary at 716-544-0497.

Friday, July 11, 2014

FORE! Pittsburgh Metro Chapter's Annual Golf Outing is July 28

Don’t miss the Pittsburgh Metro Chapter Appraisal Institute Annual Golf Outing!

Monday, July 28, 2014

12:30 p.m. Shotgun Start

South Hills Country Club
4305 Brownsville Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15236

Cost: $135.00/person (includes green fees, riding cart, driving range, locker room facilities, dinner buffet and prizes).  Lunch is not included.

Send reservations and payment to:
Pittsburgh Metropolitan Chapter Appraisal Institute
1427 W. Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15226

DINNER ONLY:  $40.00

Questions: Contact Tom Frederick at 412-244-7700 or  

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pittsburgh Real Estate Appraisers meet with Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18)

On July 3, 2014, a group of appraisers from the chapter meet with Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18) at Pub & Pizza. The discussion centered on legislation that may have a negative impact on the appraisal profession, including recent actions taken by the Small Business Administration (SBA) regarding Standard Operating Procedure 50-10F relating to appraisals of special purpose properties ("Collateral," Part II (C) (5)).

Members of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Chapter of the Appraisal Institute also talked to Congressman Murphy about two major bills that were introduced to address housing finance reform:

  • Senate Bill 1217, the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act, known as "Johnson-Crapo," and 
  • House Bill 2767, the Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowners Act or "PATH Act." 
Johnson-Crapo authorizes Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporate (FMIC), the proposed entity which would replace the GSEs, to establish, operate and maintain a database for the collection, public use and dissemination of mortgage loan information. This provision would allow the FMIC to build upon the Uniform Appraisal dataset initiative established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and allow information contained in all appraisals for loans sold to the FMIC to be made available to consumers, financial institutions, appraisers, appraisal management companies and automated valuation companies, among others.

The PATH Act contains a similar and less specific database. 

The Appraisal Institute is concerned about how this information might be used by those interacting with appraisals, or those with a vested interest in the transaction. 

Congressman Murphy addressed the group's concerns and asked that they keep him apprised of other legislation that would impact the appraisal profession. He also encouraged the group to send emails to their legislators that specifically state how they would like to see the legislation written, noting that that's often how legislation is drafted. 

We invite you to contact your Senators and Representatives about protecting the integrity of the appraisal by not allowing appraisal information in the repository to be made publicly available. Find your legislator: 



Learn more about the issues on the Appraisal Institute's website

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Meet Congressman Tim Murphy - July 3 at Pub and Pizza

Member will have the opportunity to meet with Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18) on July 3 at Pub and Pizza. Pub and Pizza is located at 329 Castle Shannon Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA. 

Congressman Murphy represents the 18th District of Pennsylvania. 

For more information, please call Kari at 412-563-1900.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Noeline Fuller Region VI Scholarship

Don't miss out on the opportunity to get $500 for an upcoming course in Region VI!

Noeline Fuller Region VI Scholarship

Noeline Fuller, MAI, SRA was a chapter president who served on regional and national committees throughout her career.  The Noeline Fuller Region VI Scholarship is a $500 voucher for Qualifying Education or Advanced Education, which can be used for any QE or AE course offered in Region VI.Click here for Scholarship information and application.

The $500 scholarship can be used for a Qualifying or Advanced Education Course at a Region VI chapter offering.

Chapters Included in Region VI:

Central PA
Metro New Jersey
Northeast New Jersey
Northeast PA
Northwest PA
Philadelphia Metropolitan
Southern New Jersey
Washington DC Metropolitan

Click here for the AI Education course list.

Contact Debra Miller at for more information about the Noeline Fuller Scholarship.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Leadership Development and Advisory Council (LDAC), 2014 by Michael Leahy, PR Chair of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Chapter of the Appraisal Institute

LDAC 2014

The 2014 Leadership Development and Advisory Council (LDAC) took place last month (May 19th-21st).  I was honored to be among the 100 appraisers from around the United States and Puerto Rico to be in attendance for this three day think tank and lobbying event.  This year’s discussions developed by the Appraisal Institute Steering Committee were as follows:
  1. Defining and Promoting the AI Designated Member Difference
  2. Embracing and Using Technology – Becoming a Technology Savvy Real Estate Appraiser
  3. Defusing the Succession Time Bomb - Solving the Trainee/Supervisor Dilemma
  4. Create New and Expand Existing Client Relationships (through unique, value added enhancements and market diversification that cause AI Designated members to stand out from other appraisers)
The discussions were lively, informative and provided a lot of interesting perspectives from appraisers working in various fields and locals.  The resulting discussions, led by a panel of capable discussion leaders, will be distilled and presented to the Appraisal Institute’s Steering Committee to help shape the focus and direction of the Appraisal Institute in the future.

Michael Leahy and U.S. Representative Tom Murphy

In addition to the internal discussions, the Appraisal Institute turned the LDAC attendees loose on Capitol Hill where we broke into regional groups to lobby our respective Congressmen on the following issues impacting the appraisal profession.  This year, we focused to on two issues:
  1. Small Business Administration (SBA) “Going Concern” Appraisal Policy Change
  2. “Protecting the Integrity of the Appraisal” through Government Sponsored Entity (GSE) reform bills addressing the proposed Uniform Mortgage Database.
The first issue addressed a loophole that currently exists in SBA policy regarding the valuation of special purpose properties, i.e. loans that fall under the 7(a) program, which currently prevent appraisers from providing going concern valuations for special purpose properties (hotels, car washes, etc.) thus requiring small businesses to hire two separate valuation professionals.  This loophole increases costs and is a particular burden to small business. 

The second issue relates to bills that are in the respective Chambers of Congress, the “Corker-Warner” bill in the Senate and the “Path Act” in the house, both of which contain language related to and allowing for appraisal data to be collected in a publically accessible database.  This is problematic for a myriad of reasons ranging from personal privacy to the misappropriation of data.  In both bodies we urged our Congressman to address that language to ensure that the database is not open to public and private entities outside of the GSE.

Impromptu Bike Tour

While the LDAC experience is and endurance test at times, all work and no play would make “Jack” a dull, dull boy.  Needless to say, everyone, including the Appraisal Institute staff, does everything in their power to make the event as enjoyable as possible.  I strongly encourage everyone to participate in this event if the opportunity arises. 

Pennsylvania Lobby Team
I cannot thank the staff of the Appraisal Institute as well as my fellow LDAC participants for a wonderful, enlightening and fulfilling experience, particularly the excellent group of professionals from the PA lobbying team, (left to right): Erin Hannan, MAI; Susanne Curran, MAI and Michele Glower, MAI.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mark Smeltzer Honored as Appraisal Institute’s ‘Volunteer of Distinction’

Mark Smeltzer, SRAMark V. Smeltzer, SRA, was recognized as the Appraisal Institute’s June “Volunteer of Distinction” for Region VI. 

Smeltzer has been Pittsburgh Metropolitan Chapter Education chair since 2005. He was alternate regional representative from 2012-13. He served as chapter president in 2004, vice president in 2003, second vice president in 2002, and secretary and treasurer in 2001. 

Smeltzer has been director of operations at Ditio, Inc., in Pittsburgh since 2011. He has been involved in the real estate valuation profession for 39 years. He holds a master’s of business administration from the Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, and a bachelor’s degree in economics and business from Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, Pa. He joined the Appraisal Institute in 1987, and received his SRA designation in 1989. 

Thank you for all of your work for the chapter and congratulations on this prestigious honor!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Region VI Recap by Sara Gaskill, MAI, Vice President of the Pittsburgh Metro Chapter of the Appraisal Institute

The Joint Regional Meeting between Regions IV and VI was held April 4 & 5 in Southbury, CT.  Chapter President Dennis Cestra and Vice President Sara Gaskill were in attendance.

The weekend began Friday afternoon with separate meetings for the two regions.  The Region VI meeting was led by chair Tom Reynolds, III and vice chair Robert Robidoux. Chapter presidents were asked to present a 10 minute report on the state of their chapter.  Several issues were discussed including:

  • The new CE point system: In January 2014, Regulation 10 changed the way CE hours are recorded.  Education is no longer tracked as “hours” but rather “points”.  A Designated Member must complete in his or her 5 year cycle the Standards Requirement, the Ethics Requirement and the 500-Points Requirement. The reasoning behind switching to the points system was to encourage members to attend more advanced level courses – More points are offered the more advanced classes.
  • Noeline Fuller Region VI Scholarship: The region will be funding the $500 scholarship again this year for qualifying education.  The deadline to submit your application is June 30, 2014.  Click here for the application.
  • Capstone:  All 2014 programs are sold out!  The 2015 Capstone schedule is planned for release in June.  Sign up quickly!

National Report: National Vice President Scott Robinson reported on the State of the Appraisal Institute in the joint meeting with the two regions.  

  • National rolled out a new website in February.  All the kinks have been worked out – check it out!
  • New courses available and coming soon include: 
    • Application and Interpretation of Simple Linear Regression (15 hours) – Available Aug. 15
    • Advanced Spreadsheet Modeling for Valuation Applications (15 hours) – Available now
    • International Valuation Standards Overview (8 hours) – Available Now
    • Two-day Advanced Income Capitalization/A (15 hours) – Coming 2015
    • Two-day Advanced Income Capitalization/B (15 hours) – Coming 2015
  • Candidates are required to attend one meeting or event per year.  Candidates must upload that they attended a chapter-sponsored meeting themselves to receive credit.
  • The Review Theory courses are in great demand nationally.  Pittsburgh will be offering Review Theory Residential on Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 and the Review Theory General is set for October 29-31. The courses will be taught by Mark Smeltzer.  Talk to Kari Ballenger for more details.  
  • The AI is continuing working towards improving the relationship with the Appraisal Foundation without compromising 1st amendment. 
  • The national meeting will be in Austin, TX August 4-6, 2014.

2014 Region VI National Representatives
Thomas Reynolds, SRPA – Chair 
Robert Robidoux, MAI, SRA – Vice Chair 
Ryan Hlubb, SRA – Third Director
Russell Sterling, MAI – Past Chair 
Roland Johnson, SRA – National Nominating Committee
Region VI Positions: 
Region Finance Officer – Ryan Hlubb, SRA 
Region Government Relations Liaison – Donald Boucher, SRA

Region VI members who serve on National Committees for 2014:

ADQC – Reaves Lukens, III, MAI (Chair) 
Professional Standards and Guidance - J. Brian O’Donnell, MAI 
Nominating – Roland Johnson, SRA 
Strategic Planning – Reaves Lukens, III, MAI
International Relations – Michele Glower, MAI
AI Holdings – Thomas Reynolds, III, SRPA 
Education Trust – J. Brian O’Donnell, MAI and Terry Dunkin, MAI, SRA 
Relief Foundation - Carlos J. Ortiz and Russell Sterling, MAI