Honesty and Integrity: Skinner Appraisals

Appraising is a profession, and appraisers are professionals. The rigors of becoming a licensed appraiser have become more difficult than ever before. So it goes without question in this day and age that real estate appraisal can certainly be called a profession rather than a trade. In our field, as with any profession, we are bound by an ethical code.

We have many obligations as appraisers but first and foremost we answer to our clients. Typically, in residential practice, the appraiser's client is the lender ordering the appraisal. Appraisers are privy to a lot of information, and like an attorney can only discuss many matters with their client. As a homeowner, if you desire to review the appraisal document, you generally have to request it from your lender. Other responsibilities also include, accurate sums appropriate to the parameters of the assignment, acquiring and maintaining a particular level of competency and education, and of course, the appraiser must behave in a professional manner. Here at Skinner Appraisals, we take these ethical responsibilities very to heart.

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Appraisers may also have fiduciary obligations to third parties, including homeowners, buyers and sellers, or others. Typically the third parties are specifically defined in the appraisal report. An appraiser's fiduciary duty is restricted to those third parties who the appraiser knows, based on the scope of work or other written parameters of the order.

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

When busy with an appraisal, we follow the highest ethical standards possible. We never do assignments on contingency fees. That is, we don't agree to do an appraisal report and get paid only if the loan closes. Another practice that's restricted is doing assignments on percentage fees. That is perhaps the appraisal industries biggest taboo, because it would invite fraudulent practices since raising the estimate of the home would inflate the fee. We don't do that. Other unethical practices may be established by state law or professional organizations that the appraiser belongs.

The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) also states unethical behavior 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 provide an unbiased determination of the home or property value.

With Skinner Appraisals, you won't have any doubts that you're receiving 100 percent ethical, honest service.