Honesty and Integrity: Appraisal West

Appraising is, by and large, a long term career. The rigors of becoming a licensed appraiser have increased more than ever in the past. That's why it goes without question these days that real estate appraisal can definitely be dubbed a profession as opposed to a trade. In our field, as with any profession, we are bound by ethical considerations.

An appraiser's main obligation is to his or her client. Typically, in residential practice, the appraiser's client is the lender ordering the appraisal. Appraisers have certain duties of confidentiality to their clients, and as a homeowner, if you would like to obtain a copy of the appraisal document, you generally have to request it from your lender. Other responsibilities also include, numerical accuracy depending on the scope of the assignment, reaching and keeping a certain level of competency and education, and of course, the appraiser must behave in a professional manner. Maintaining high ethics is is what we do everyday at Appraisal West.

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Appraisers may also have fiduciary obligations to third parties, such as homeowners, buyers and sellers, or others. Generally the third parties are clearly defined in the appraisal report. An appraiser's fiduciary duty is only to those parties who the appraiser is aware of, based on the scope of work or other things in the framework of the assignment.

Appraisers also have rules outside of boundaries of clients and others. For example, appraisers must store their work files for at least five years - at Appraisal West you can rest assured that we adhere to that rule.

We demand the highest ethical standards possible from ourselves. We don't do assignments on contingency fees. That is, we are not able to agree to do an appraisal report and get paid only if the loan closes. We don't do assignments on percentage fees. That is perhaps the appraisal industries most important rule, because it would invite appraisal fraud since raising the estimate of the home would up the fee. We don't do that. Other improper 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," in addition to other situations We follow these rules to the letter which means you can rest easy knowing we are doing everything we can to objectively determine the home or property value.

As soon as you engage Appraisal West we'll make sure you're getting the professional service you expect along with the ethical handling of appraisals that we're known for.