The Appraisal Standards Board (ASB), an independent board of The Appraisal Foundation, announced today they would explore the concept of creating standards for evaluations. The ASB stated, “Currently, there are no uniform standards for appraisers to follow when conducting an evaluation, which leads to greater risk to the safety and soundness of the real estate transaction and diminished protections for consumers.” We sat down with David Bunton, President of The Appraisal Foundation, to further discuss a public hearing that will happen October 18, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Buzz: Thank you for answering our questions today. To begin, can we have your history in this industry?
David: I served as the senior staff member of The Appraisal Foundation since May of 1990. Prior to joining The Appraisal Foundation, I served as the Vice President of Government Affairs and Communications for the Federal Asset Disposition Association. I also previously served as a legislative assistant in the United States Senate for eight years and was a Congressional Chief of Staff in the House of Representatives for four years.
Buzz: These concerns that have been brought up directly relate to exactly what appraisers are worried about today. How does The Appraisal Foundation learn of such issues?
David: As you may know, The Appraisal Foundation is an organization of organizations. We have nearly 100 organizations that include our Sponsoring Organizations, members of a not-for-profit council called The Appraisal Foundation Advisory Council, and members of a for-profit council called the Industry Advisory Council. These organizations, as well as feedback we solicit and receive from the general public, are able to share concerns or issues related to the appraisal profession. Furthermore, all public meetings of our independent boards, the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) and Appraisal Standards Board (ASB), are livestreamed free of charge. Finally, we are very active in social media, and appraisers engage with our accounts on a daily basis.
Buzz: Was there something specific that prompted the speaking up for evaluations to have standards? Why now?
David: This is a pressing issue for the profession. As the leader in appraisal standards and appraiser qualifications, we knew it was time to begin the discussion. As you know, the ASB is comprised of working appraisers. They are earning their living as appraisers. So they are facing the same challenges that all appraisers face. Furthermore, they speak at meetings and conferences on behalf of the ASB, so they are hearing from appraisers every day. They were hearing about challenges in the marketplace with lenders looking for different valuation products, yet obligated by state law to provide a Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) compliant product.
Buzz: What are you hoping to learn from the concept paper and the public hearing? What are the major benefits to having standards on evaluations?
David: We want appraisers to be able conduct a valuation assignment, whether it is an appraisal or an evaluation, which is in accordance with USPAP. We don’t want an appraiser to have to choose between following the law versus having a business. No appraiser should have to make that choice. Appraisers should be fulfilling their critical mission which is to provide an objective, independent opinion of value in the real estate transaction that protects both the lender and consumer. By completing that appraisal and/or evaluation in accordance to USPAP, they are ensuring the public trust in valuation and their opinion is subject to oversight by a publicly accountable board.
Buzz: Why should appraisers get involved with the discussion about evaluations?
David: Appraisers are already involved in the discussion. Many appraisers currently perform evaluations, but there is a lack of professional standards related to performing such assignments. An appraiser who is concerned about the work and safeguarding the public trust in valuation understands why this discussion is so important. Furthermore, this is very important—no decision has been made. The Appraisal Standards Board wants to hear from as many appraisers and stakeholders as possible. Everyone who will be impacted should weigh in. This is why we are issuing a concept paper first, then holding a public hearing that will be livestreamed so everyone can watch, listen, and provide input. As with all of our decisions, The Appraisal Foundation is dedicated to transparency at every step in this process. Appraisers’ voices are vital to shaping an outcome that is beneficial to appraisers, lenders, and to protecting the public trust.
Thank you again to David Bunton for answering our questions. Make sure to watch the live hearing on October 18, 2019 at 9 am. Have any comments or would you like to submit an article of your own? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.