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 assignment.
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 might tend to make appraisers inflate the value of homes or properties to increase their paycheck. We base our fees on liability (ours is greater than other real estate/loan professions - for a much smaller fee) and difficulty. Higher loan amounts (usually based on higher home value) require more research, detail & follow-up, to loan underwriting. In those cases, lenders also typicall order -- often at borrower expense -- a second appraisal, or field review. When that happens, rest assured, the first appraisal may be excellent -- it's a loan requirement. Think of it as getting a second opinion or quote before taking a risk or making a major purchase. Lenders have thier own internal and state/federal regulations as well. 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 value.
You can be assured of 100 percent ethical, professional service.
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