Appraisal is a profession, and
appraisers are professionals. In our field as with any profession we are bound
by ethical considerations.
An appraiser's primary responsibility is to his or her
client. Normally, in residential practice, the appraiser's client is
the lender ordering the appraisal to decide whether to make the mortgage
loan. Appraisers have certain duties of confidentiality to their clients
-- as a homeowner, if you want a copy of an appraisal report, you normally have
to request it through your lender -- obligations of numerical accuracy
depending on the assignment parameters, an obligation to attain and maintain a
certain level of competency and education, and must generally conduct him or
herself as a professional. Here, we take
these ethical responsibilities very seriously.
Appraisers may also have fiduciary obligations to
third parties, such as homeowners, both buyers and sellers, or others.
Those third parties normally are spelled out in the appraisal assignment
itself. An appraiser's fiduciary duty is limited to those third parties who the
appraiser knows, based on the scope of work or other written parameters of the
There are ethical rules that have nothing to
do with clients and others. Appraisers must keep their work files for a
minimum of five years.
We only perform to the highest ethical standards
possible. We don't do assignments on contingency fees. That is, we
don't agree to do an appraisal report and get paid only if the loan
closes. We don't do assignments on percentage fees. That is
probably the appraisal profession’s biggest no-no, because it would tend to
make appraisers inflate the value of homes or properties to increase their
paycheck. We don't do that. Other unethical practices may be
defined by state law or professional societies to which an appraiser belongs.
The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal
Practice (USPAP) also defines as unethical the acceptance of an assignment that
is contingent on "the reporting of a pre-determined result (e.g., opinion of
value)," "a direction in assignment results that favors the cause of the
client," "the amount of a value opinion," and other things. This means
you can be assured we are working to objectively determine the home or property
You can be assured of 100 percent ethical,