Palumbo On USPAP is written by Joe Palumbo, SRA, a long time appraisal colleague and friend who is also an Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB) certified instructor and a user of appraisal services. Joe is well-versed on the ever changing landscape of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice [USPAP].

…Jonathan Miller

Although I am supposed to be managing a process, it is quite often that I “get my hands dirty” and dive in.

Reviewing appraisals and conversing with appraisers keeps me close to the issues of the market as well as helping me get a handle on the realities and challenges of dealing with a nationwide professional vendor panel. Most of the time this is a pleasure and very reassuring: I get to observe new markets, some of which are NOT declining, yes that is correct, not a typo, and I also have discussions with highly skilled appraisers who enlighten me on their markets via articulate thorough (appraisal) analysis so my risk is mitigated as best it can be. To those TRUE business partners I say thanks and I look forward to the next challenge for us to work on TOGETHER.

Unfortunately, like always here are some bad apples. Those who accept appraisal assignments with a sense of entitlement, who also tend to fail miserably in communicating let alone solve the appraisal problem. And just so we are clear here we are NOT talking about questioning someone’s “value”. In the relocation business it is standard protocol to obtain two or three appraisals and then query each appraiser based on what was observed as it relates to facts about the subject, market conditions, trends, common comparables used etc. The summary of responses is recorded so that the “intended user”, an employing corporation, can (try) to make sense of this highly subjective process. A lot of the questions we (in-house staff) ask we already know the answers to and how they impact the analysis (if at all) but we ask anyway so the client and employee can gain some reassurances on some real estate related misconceptions and such. We are not a management company and we pay market fees and allow for ample completion time. All we ask in return is thorough credible appraisals in a timely manner and endurance of the back-end process.

The specifics of my “bad experience” involve my query of an appraiser’s room count as it related to what was reported by the two others. Seems this gentleman included both an above ground laundry and utility room as part of the “room count”, where HIS local peers did not. Item of note here is the both realtors did NOT exaggerate the room count via this method of counting. When I pointed that out and merely suggested that he “clarify, explain why, or possibly modify his room count”, I was met with a terse one line response “per USPAP to change the room that would be misleading”. The terse response to that one question was followed by a petulant response to the several other items noted in contrast to the other reports. Since this is not my first day on the job, nor the first such role I have had as a manager of the appraisal process, I promptly finalized the summary of my findings internally so as to “pull up the anchor” and move on. CLEARLY this is not even a USPAP I figured I would have some fun with this guy. This kind of response to this kind of issue makes me wonder what some people are thinking and why there is such a sense of entitlement. I wrote back: “thank you sir for your response, I appreciate it. No worries on the room count issue, but I just want to clarify one thing: Acting unprofessional and petulant and providing a response like this the worse USPAP crime going: YOU”RE MISLEADING ME into thinking you belong in the appraisal profession!! Maybe you have done the best appraisal I will ever read, and the valuation conclusion is rock-solid but that gets lost in dialogues like this”.

Don’t get me wrong, I know everyone has a bad day every now and then. Unfortunately unlike my last appraisal management gig where fee panels can cover 90% of the (pre-determined) lending area, I have no idea where the next “move” will be. We qualify and engage within a small window and trust tremendously in those we engage. 2008 has revealed this type of response and attitude more than one would like to see. I get it: is very tough out there right now. Just remember no matter what business you are in that angry and unprofessional does not work. Angry sends a message beyond what you think and begs the question of empathy VS apathy. Also. when you quote USPAP be carefulthere may be a hidden meaning to what you quote.


  1. Edd Gillespie October 24, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Thanks Joe,

    The profession needs to hear your lecture over and again. Along with it, be sure to tell the designated guys not all of the industry problems stem from licensing. Unprofessionlism is an industry problem that has nothing to do with licensing or not licensing. It cannot be emphasized enough.

    Appraisers are making subjective conclusions at all times in many ways, hopefully they have learned by now that those conclusions need support far in excess of their “feelings” and that even with support what they have to say is still open to inquery.

    Obviously, the appraiser you speak of was in over his head, but somebody hired him cheap and fast I betcha. It seems to me mortgage clients are more interested in those two criteria and quality is something appraisers like you, after the fact, are concerned with.

    I find it unfortunate that mortgage clients do not respect professional conclusions enough to pay appraisers a living. If mortgage lenders want professional appraisers they are available I’m sure-if permitted sufficient time to appraise professionally at a respectable fee.

    There is certainly room for individual appraisers to improve their “bedside” manners, but until the profession decides to meaningfully enforce it’s standards and raise the bar to entry into and remaining in the profession I suspect you will find yourself lecturing.

    There is a two pronged (at least) solution to your complaint. I’m certainly in favor of what you advise, but it is a little much to expect from what you have available to you and until whoever hired the appraiser is willing to pay for something better.

    Until mortgage clients seek out and pay for professionals to appraise, my guess is they will get incompetence and attitude and I bet the profession will willingly accommodate the demand, even if the profession has to come up with some kind of “spin” to do it.

    Looks to me like you got what I bet was paid for, but keep trying. There may be a few pros out there who are willing to work cheap and fast, but there can’t be too many who are able or willing to continue given the inordinate mortgage pressures.

    Thanks for insisting the profession not fall flat on its face. Keep up the good work.

  2. Joe Palumbo October 24, 2008 at 1:37 pm


    Thanks just a clarification.

    This is a a relo deal, so I understand the mortgage (fee) analogy but we hired this guy at a fee of 11% over our nationwide average for AN ERC Appraisal. We have “standard fee” where I work but a market expectation.

  3. Edd Gillespie October 24, 2008 at 4:27 pm


    I understand market expectations and I think it has application only if appraisals were widgets. But alas, they are not. I don’t know what your nationwide average is, but 11% of $500.00 is only $55.00, less than what it costs to fill my tank with gas now days, to say nothing of taking the family out for a fancy meal at Chili’s.

    Appraisals are, as you observe, professional opinions. I suggest that market expectations should begin with pricing the very best that is available and then paying only for what can be afforded. Of course, rationally, expectations must diminish accordingly. I think we recently heard something about pigs and lipstick that obtains.

    Not to push the widget analogy too far, but Ugos aren’t Cadillacs even if you can’t tell the difference from the puffing. Is it possible you got what was paid for when something different was required?

    Turn time and fee are most definitely a part of the Scope of Work, notwithstanding wide-spread denials to the contrary. I insist.

    Again, thanks for keeping professionalism on the front burner. The profession needs to be reminded of it, constantly.

    I wonder if appraisers were required to be trained as professionals and could count on being be paid as professionals are paid if your effort would get a boost.

    I support what you told the guy about his lack of professionalism. The much harder part will be getting the guys, relo or mortgage (pretty much peas in a pod), who hired him to listen to my thoughts on how professionals should be treated.

    I mean if they want to pay for a BPO or an AVM, why not just order one of those? Or are those even cheaper?

  4. Joe Palumbo October 29, 2008 at 10:53 am

    OK let me say it again.Widgets or not……
    WE PAID HIM WHAT he asked for which happened to be 11% over the nationwide average of $578. You inferred that he was underpaid and that was root cause.

    Had he asked for $650….or $750 we would have paid that…yada yada. Further ….your issues seems to be more mortgage related. The solution there is to support that the industry needs something it rarely shows… solidarity as it relates to fees. I feel bad for you because you seem to have been “beaten up out there”.

  5. Jack Schlenk December 1, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    As the review appraiser/reader of appraisal reports I have suggestions for the report appraiser. Does your report answer these
    questions, Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How? When I review
    a appraisal report each line and/ or section of the appraisal report must these questions.

    Canned or boiler plate verbage does not convince the me the reader Why and How the said verbage supports any option.

    Explain, Explain, Where the data came from, Why it supports, and
    What it supports in your opinion.

    Re-Read the completed appraisal report. If the appraisal report supports with the proper data, and answers the questions, Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How, there should never be a problem with that report.

    Jack Schlenk (read Jack Schlenk Blog”Appraisal Value or Market Value = Sales Price”)

  6. Shane Trotta January 8, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    I don’t know if these responses are from relo appraisers are not, but any relo appraiser should know we will be questioned (right or wrong) and e should be ready to explain ourselves; defend when we are convinced and understand when we have missed something. This is something that makes me enjoy relocation appraising. An appraiser with an ego is the worst thing to happen to industry like this. I’m confident, but I love to discuss options, interpretations, or just plain explanations. This is why I have been pursuing relocation appraisal work as much as possible.

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