As an appraiser, my primary responsibility is to my client. In mortgage appraisals, the client is the lender ordering the appraisal, as they need 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. When I am appraising for non mortgage assignments, my client is the party that contracts for my services. Of course, they get report copies directly from me.
Other duties include obligations of numerical accuracy depending on the assignment parameters, an obligation to attain and maintain a certain level of competency and education, and a responsibility for conduct appropriate for a professional. I 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. In my reports I identify the intended users in the Comments Addendum page. 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.
I only perform to the highest ethical standards possible. I don't do assignments on contingency fees. That is, I don't agree to do an appraisal report and get paid only if the loan closes. I 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. I don't do that. Other unethical practices may be defined by state law. More information can be found on the web site for the North Carolina Appraisal Board.
The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) also define as unethical the acceptance of an assignment that is contingent on "the reporting of a predetermined 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 I am working to objectively determine the home or property value. These rules are promulgated by the Appraisal Foundation, the author of USPAP.
My work is transparent, confidential, and thorough. I stay very aware of all rules that govern the appraisal profession. My goal is keep appraising for a long time, and knowing the rules helps insure my longevity.
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