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Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice

The Appraisal Foundation, through its Appraisal Standards Board, publishes the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), which is the generally accepted set of performance standards for appraisers. It is these standards that are enforced by state governments and various professional appraisal organizations. Violation of the USPAP standards can lead to disciplinary action by government regulators and appraisal organizations. A copy of the USPAP can be obtained from The Appraisal Foundation web site store. See section Appraisal Related Web Sites.

The USPAP was one of the State appraisal courses that I took when I was starting out in appraising. I will use my own notes from my class notebook, along with my own comments and experience, as a guideline but I won't duplicate the USPAP course information. I will only highlight the most basic items that I made notes on while taking the class. These were the points raised by the class instructor's and my own experiences that I felt were important to write down and study. You should read through the full version of the USPAP and also take the State appraisal courses taught by their own instructors to get the most benefit from their expertise and training.

Unfortunately, some people have no concept of morals even after they take these courses. Just don't be one of those people and you'll make plenty of money in this business and you'll sleep well at night.

The whole idea behind this course is to teach students the ethical requirements and the accepted minimum standards to be responsible and honest real estate appraisers. Unfortunately, some people have no concept of morals even after they take these courses. Just don't be one of those people and you'll make plenty of money in this business and you'll sleep well.

    • The appraisal report must be portrayed in a meaningful manner that is understood by the client. You cannot let the entire report nor any one section of the appraisal report be used to mislead the client nor anyone else. It is also unethical to knowingly use, or allow an employee or third party to use a misleading appraisal report, even if you don't sign the report.

    • You cannot report a predetermined market value nor any oral market value estimates before doing a full appraisal. You cannot give an estimate of market value unless you do all of the aspects of an actual appraisal report. You're liable for any discrepancies if you quote someone a value and you end up being wrong. You're supposed to be an expert and professional in your field. So if someone asks you, "What's my house worth?" Just tell them that you cannot give them a market value estimate without doing all of the research and field work of a full appraisal report.

You cannot slant the estimate of market value, nor any other aspect of the appraisal report, to favor the client.

    • You cannot slant the estimate of market value, nor any other aspect of the appraisal report, to favor the client. This is a very important aspect to remember. Don't try to "move any deals along" or "fudge the numbers" to benefit your clients or a mortgage lender. If the market value estimate is not a price the client wants to hear, then that's too bad. You can't alter the appraisal report just to keep someone happy.

    • Regardless of the type of appraisal your doing or the fee charged for the services it must be done according to the Federal and State Appraisal Standards. You can't cut corners just because you're not getting paid a high fee for additional work needed.

    • You cannot base your appraisal fee on the amount of the market value estimate or any other stipulated result. You cannot have any undisclosed fees for a report. Regardless of the fee you charge, the work is always the same. You have to base your fees on the time and knowledge required to do the assignment, not on the value estimate. You can quote your fee on a range rather than a set price so you can have room for any additional work that is needed.

    • It's OK to give a client a range of the market value estimate only if the client requests it and understands it. For example, you can appraise a house to be worth $195,000 to $200,000 if the client understands this estimate. The client also must agree that you will use a range for the market value estimate.

    • You cannot advertise to the public in a false, misleading or exaggerated manner. For example, you can't advertise that your an MAI appraiser unless you actually have been given that designation.

    • You must act in a disinterested and impartial manner for the appraisal assignment and report. If you have any interest at all in the subject property, appraisal assignment and/or report other than your regular fee, then you must disclose everything to the client and state it in the report.

    • You must disclose everything in your appraisal report that is an ethical or standards requirement.

You cannot discuss the value estimate or any other information of the appraisal report with anyone other than the client. You must respect the confidential nature of the appraiser-client relationship.

  • You cannot discuss the value estimate or any other information of the appraisal report with anyone other than the client. This is another important point to keep in mind at all times. You must respect the confidential nature of the appraiser-client relationship. If you give out copies of an appraisal report to show a potential client the quality of your work, then you must first get the approval of the client the appraisal was for. An alternative is that you must "white out" the pertinent names and information, such as the property address, the client, the dates, and the estimate of value on that appraisal report.

  • You must retain your written records of the appraisal, and any consulting work, for a minimum of five years after the appraisal assignment. This is needed in the event that you have to go back and re-evaluate an old appraisal assignment or someone has questions on it later on after reviewing the report.

  • It is the responsibility of the appraiser, before accepting any assignment, to identify the appraisal problem and have the experience and knowledge required to competently complete the assignment. If not, then you must disclose your lack of knowledge and/or experience to the client before accepting the assignment. You must take the steps necessary to complete the assignment competently. For example, if you were hired to appraise a commercial property and you have no prior experience in commercial appraising, then you will have to get help from an experienced commercial appraiser for this assignment. Furthermore, you're required to tell the client about your lack of experience before you take the job.

  • An appraiser's files are his primary data source. Other data is a secondary source.

  • As you already know - You have to be consistent in your appraisal reports!!

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