Honesty and Integrity: Real Property Valuations
Appraising is typically a long term career. Requirements to become a licensed appraiser have increased more than ever before. So it goes without question these days that real estate appraisal can definitely be dubbed a profession rather than a trade. In our field, as with any profession, we are bound by an ethical code.
We have many responsibilities as appraisers but our main duty is to our clients. Typically, in residential practice, the lender places the order to the appraiser, becoming the appraiser's client. Certain matters pertaining to an assignment can only be discussed with an appraiser's client. As a a homeowner, if you want to review an appraisal report, you should get it from your lender. Other responsibilities also include, accurate sums appropriate to the parameters of the assignment, attaining and maintaining a certain level of competency and education, and of course, the appraiser must behave in a professional manner. Maintaining high ethics and client confidentiality is just normal course of business for us at Real Property Valuations.
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There are some scenarios in which appraisers will have fiduciary responsibilities to third parties, including homeowners, buyers and sellers, or others. Those third parties normally are listed in the appraisal assignment itself. An appraiser's fiduciary responsibility is restricted to those third parties who the appraiser knows, based on the scope of work or other written parameters of the order.
There are also ethical standards that have nothing to do with whom we share information. For example, appraisers must store their work files for a minimum of five years - something else Real Property Valuations makes a part of their standard routine.
When working on an order, we follow the highest ethical standards possible. We have a responsibility not to do assignments on contingency fees. That is, we can't agree to do an appraisal report and collect payment on the contingency of the loan closing. We can't do assignments on percentage fees. That is perhaps the appraisal professions biggest no-no, because it would tend to make appraisers raise the value of homes or properties to increase their fee. We set ourselves to a higher standard. 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 states a violation in ethics as 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," as well as other situations. We follow these rules to the letter which means you can be confident we are going above and beyond to objectively determine the home or property value.
With Real Property Valuations, you can be assured of 100 percent ethical, honest service.