Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal (USPAP)

 

We are bound by the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal (USPAP) and uphold the highest of ethics in all we do. For a better understanding of the USPAP, please visit The Appraisal Foundation.

An appraiser's primary responsibility is their 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 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 assignment.

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 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 value.

You can be assured of 100 percent ethical, professional service.

What is USPAP?

USPAP, which you might hear pronounced like "YOOS-pap," is the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. USPAP is published and maintained by the Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) of the Appraisal Foundation, a non-governmental entity charged by Congress with promulgating appraisal standards.

USPAP is revised periodically, usually annually, and almost never radically. It includes sections covering rules, such as an Ethics Rule, a Departure Rule, and a Competency Rule. It includes Standards, 10 of them, each covering in detail different functions an appraiser might perform ("Real Property Appraisal, Reporting"; "Business Appraisal, Development"). It includes 10 Statements, some retired, which are used to clarify or supplement the Standards. It also includes Advisory Opinions, such as "When does USPAP apply in valuation services?" and "Clarification of the client in a federally related transaction," which describe real-life problems and how they would be governed under the Rules and Standards of USPAP.

Every appraiser is charged with knowing and following USPAP, usually by operation of state law, and must complete Continuing Education periodically to relearn the basics and become familiar with new Advisory Opinions and annual changes to USPAP. USPAP may be considered the Bible of appraisal practice.