spacer graphic
APPRAISORS® Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct
 
PREAMBLE
 
The role and mission of the Arizona Association of Real Estate Appraisers (AAREA) is to protect the appraisal profession by providing guidance, assistance and support to appraisers so that each appraiser can become the best appraiser that he or she can be. The higher the quality of the appraiser and the appraisal product, the more protection there is for the public and the higher the public trust in the services provided by the appraisal profession. With the understanding of that role, AAREA has developed the APPRAISORS’® Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

The role of the appraiser is to assist the client in making a decision or determining a course of action by providing accurate, unbiased information presented in such a manner as to be useful to the client and users of appraisal services. In the role of appraiser, the appraiser is not the client’s advocate. The role of the appraiser is to be a neutral party and a source of information collected and presented in an unbiased manner. It is the role of the appraiser to be honest in his/her research and presentation, to do the right thing with regard to the scope of work needed to complete an assignment, and to present to the client or user of the appraiser’s services information that the appraiser would want to know if he/she were the client or user of the service provided. In addition, AAREA recognizes that appraisers do not work in a vacuum and that they must interact with their clients, other appraisers and other individuals both inside and outside the real estate profession in order to gain the knowledge necessary to produce high quality results. To fulfill this role, the appraiser must hold to high ethical standards and high standards of professional conduct. The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice is acknowledged to set the minimum standards of the appraisal profession, in other words, what one would need to do to get a passing grade. AAREA contends that clients, users of appraisal services, and the public deserve more, and that appraisers who are dedicated to providing more should be recognized with a designation which substantiates their commitment to high standards as presented in the APPRAISORS’® Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

The guiding principles of the APPRAISORS’® Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct are honesty, respect for others, respect for the profession, and personal integrity. These principles guide the conduct of APPRAISORS ® in their interaction with lenders and other clients, borrowers, sellers, real estate agents, other real estate professionals, individuals with whom they come in contact in the course of business, and other APPRAISORS®.

 
ARTICLE 1: INTERACTION WITH LENDERS AND OTHER CLIENTS
 
The client-APPRAISOR® relationship is the foundation of the appraisal profession. This relationship only has meaning if it is based on the guiding principles of honesty, respect for others, respect for the profession and personal integrity, hereafter referred to as ‘the principles’.

A. An APPRAISOR® is honest and not misleading when accepting an assignment, developing a report and writing a report.

1. It is assumed an APPRAISOR® is competent to complete an assignment when an assignment is accepted. Competency includes, but is not limited to, understanding what the assignment is, geographic competency, what forms may be necessary if required in the assignment, and the ability to produce a USPAP compliant report. Should the APPRAISOR® not be competent, or discover during the process of developing the report, the APPRAISOR® must immediately disclose this to the client and discuss with the client a resolution which may include gaining competency through affiliation with another appraiser or independent education, or withdrawing from the assignment.

2. An APPRAISOR® shall be realistic and honest when agreeing on a time frame within which to complete an assignment. If the timeframe required by the client does not allow for the research, development and writing of the report to be adequate to produce a quality report, the APPRAISOR® must decline the assignment or renegotiate the time frame to allow for the production of a quality report. If during the development or writing of the report the APPRAISOR® finds that the time frame is not sufficient, the APPRAISOR® must notify the client immediately.

Comment: APPRAISORS® must be responsible for managing their time and the turn times to which they agree. On occasion circumstances will arise that delay the process. This should be a rarity and when it does occur it should be communicated immediately. If deadlines are regularly missed, an APPRAISOR® needs to adjust his/her practice so as to cultivate a relationship of trust professionalism.

3. An APPRAISOR® shall be honest and unbiased in the writing of the report. The APPRAISOR must ‘tell it like it is’ even though it may not be what the client wants to hear. This statement does not preclude the APPRAISOR® using tact in narrative descriptions or analysis.

Comment: Bias is not only relative to favoring an opinion of value, one party over another party, or the attainment of a certain result; bias also is relative to having unsupported opinions regarding elements relative to a property.

Examples: Two story houses are worth less than one story houses. Three bedrooms are always/never worth more than two bedroom homes of the same size. These may or may not be true, but the APPRAISOR® must have evidence to support his/her conclusions.

4. An APPRAISOR® shall not agree to conditions that are known at the time of agreement not to be possible.

5. An APPRAISOR® shall be honest in dealing with those individuals with whom the APPRAISOR® comes in contact during the development of the assignment. An APPRAISOR® does not lie or mislead in order to get information. An APPRAISOR® does not lie or mislead in order to placate an angry client, borrower, seller or intended user.

B. An appraisal shall not exaggerate, mislead, misrepresent or conceal facts that are pertinent to the development and reporting of an assignment or other in other areas of appraisal practice such a consulting, supervising or instructing.

 
ARTICLE 2: RESPECT FOR OTHERS
 
At all times an APPRAISOR® shall show respect for and to others with whom the APPRAISOR® comes in contact during the course of professional activities.

A. An APPRAISOR® shall refrain from disparaging a client, an intended user, or another appraiser.

1. An APPRAISOR® may make a statement of fact, but the APPRAISOR® shall not attribute intent or motive.

Comment: For example, an APPRAISOR® might state that the APPRAISOR® was not paid in a timely manner. That is a statement of fact. An APPRAISOR® shall not attribute intent or motive such as stating, “___________ (name of client) likes to use the money instead of paying APPRAISORS®.” That statement goes to intent.

For example: An APPRAISOR® shall not make a general statement such as, “John Doe does terrible work.” This is a judgmental statement. If and when asked, the appropriate response would be, “I have seen John Doe’s reports and have found some issues.” This would be a statement of fact.

B. An APPRAISOR® shall be courteous and pleasant to those whose homes or businesses the APPRAISOR® inspects.

C. An APPRAISOR® shall be courteous and pleasant to other real estate professionals.

D. An APPRAISOR® shall provide assistance to another APPRAISOR if asked.

Comment: When in the course of business an APPRAISOR® seeks advice from another APPRAISOR®, the APPRAISOR® from whom the advice is being sought will respond honestly and provide assistance if the APPRAISOR® is capable of doing so and if the request is reasonable and would not require a financial or time burden on the APPRAISOR®. APPRAISOR’s® understand that the quality of any APPRAISOR’s® work reflects on the profession as a whole and that each APPRAISSOR® can contribute to the profession by assisting another APPRAISOR®.

G. An APPRAISOR® shall treat others as he/she wishes to be treated.

H. An APPRAISOR® shall be aware of and respect cultural differences.

I. An APPRAISOR® shall communicate on a professional level. Slang, rough language, and foul language are to be avoided.

 
ARTICLE 3:ASSIGNMENT PROTOCOL
 
With the advent of Appraisal Management Companies and automated appraisal requests, appraisals are often ordered and the appraisal process managed through computers with no personal contact between the appraiser and another individual. Automated ordering and management systems have their own protocol which is typically outlined in the Assignment Conditions provided to the appraiser prior to or on acceptance of an assignment. In accepting the assignment, the APPPRAISOR obligates himself/herself to adhering to the assignment conditions and communication responsibilities required by the client.

In those cases where there is no assignment protocol provided by the client, the following shall serve as protocol for behavior. The purpose of these protocols is to raise the level of professionalism and to provide the APPRAISOR with guidance which prevent misunderstandings that could lead to Complaints.

A. GENERAL CONDUCT

1. An APPRAISOR® shall respond promptly to non-automatic emails and phone calls.
2. An APPRAISOR® shall communicate promptly regarding issues that are relative to an assignment.
3. An APPRAISOR® shall schedule and spend sufficient time at a subject property to fulfill the requirements of the inspection and to answer questions and communicate with the occupants.
4. An APPRAISOR® shall keep his/her word regarding deadlines and other commitments. Should this not be possible for reasons that were not present when the commitment was made, the APPRAISOR® shall notify those individuals/clients immediately.
5. When an engagement letter is not provided by the client, as in when the appraiser accepts a telephone order, the APPRAISOR® shall initiate an email or letter including but not limited to the following:
a. The client and other intended users
b. The intended use of the report
c. The subject property
d. The effective date if not the date of inspection.
e. A brief description of the scope of work to be undertaken by the APPRAISOR®
f. The anticipated time frame for inspection, development and delivery of the report
g. Request for permission for another to view the propert, such as Trainee or another appraiser who will be working on the assignment.
h. State the contact information for viewing if the client is not to meet the appraiser on the property and an inspection is part of the assignment.
i. Fee and fee schedule if appropriate.

6. An APPRAISOR® shall keep records of all written correspondence in his/her workfiles and maintain a log of verbal communications
7. An APPRAISOR® shall schedule the appointment as soon as time permits and notify the client of the appointment.
8. An APPRAISOR® shall call if he/she is delayed or must cancel or reschedule an appointment.
9. Fees: The APPRAISOR® and client shall agree to a fee dependent on the work anticipated. Should the assignment evolve into more work the fee may be renegotiated with the client. A statement to this effect should be made on the engagement letter.
10. A receipt shall be provided to those who pay with cash at the time of inspection.
11. If the appraiser cannot meet the terms of the engagement, monies in excess of those negotiated to compensate the appraiser for work done shall be returned to the client promptly.

B. CONDUCT DURING AN INSPECTION

1. An APPRAISOR® shall always knock or ring the doorbell prior to entering a subject property even though the property is on a lockbox and/or the APPRAISOR® has been informed the property is vacant.

2. An APPRAISOR® shall introduce himself/herself to the occupant, owner, agent when he/she arrives at the subject property.

3 An APPRAISOR® shall offer a business card on introduction

4. An APPRAISOR® shall outline to the occupants the procedures of the APPRAISOR® in conducting his/her inspection

Example: The APPRAISOR® describes the procedures while at the property which would include measuring the property, taking pictures of the interior and exterior, making notes regarding the subject property, asking questions regarding the property that are relative to the appraisal such as the age of the roof, heating/cooling system, updates, etc. At no time during an inspection shall the APPRAISOR® make statements regarding the estimated value of the property or of the improvements.

5. An APPRAISOR® shall request permission to open any closed doors or use any facilities if the property is not vacant or explain the procedure that will be used during the inspection.

6. An APPRAISOR® shall always inform the occupant, owner, agent when he/she is ready to leave the property.

7. An APPRAISOR® shall leave the subject property as it was found unless directed otherwise.

Example: Lights should be turned off if they were not on when the appraiser arrived. If the heating system was checked, then the thermostat should be returned to original position.

8. Keys should be returned to the lockbox, agent, or owner promptly.

9. An APPRAISOR® shall show respect for the subject property.

Example: An APPRAISOR® removes his/her shoes if there is a chance they will bring dirt into the house.

 
ARTICLE 4: CONDUCT RELATIVE TO THE PROFESSION
 
A. An APPRAISOR® shall promote high ethical standards and professional conduct within the appraisal profession.

B. An APPRAISOR® recognizes that his/her conduct is a major factor in promoting public trust of the appraisal profession. Therefore an APPRAISOR® shall behave in a responsible, respectful and professional manner and be fair in his/her conduct of business.

C. An APPRAISOR® shall avoid behavior that would be detrimental to the appraisal profession or would be detrimental to the public trust.

D. An APPRAISOR® shall take care to adhere to the five rules outlined in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice: The Ethics Rule, the Competency Rule, the Scope of Work Rule, the Workfile Rule, the Jurisdictional Exception Rule

Comment: An APPRAISOR® shall take special care to avoid appraising properties that are outside of the appraiser’s competency either by geography or type without first notifying the client and second, if it is decided to continue with the assignment, gain expertise and perform the appraisal in a competent manner making note of same within the report.

E. An APPRAISOR® shall not take assignment for which he/she knows he/she does not have the time to finish within the assignment conditions of the client.

F. An APPRAISOR® shall know and abide by the laws relating to Appraisal Practice in which the APPRAISOR® is operating as an appraiser.

G. An APPRAISOR® shall not advertise or solicit business using false or misleading statements with respect to designations, representations of services, education, training, expertise, or background.

H. An APPRAISOR® shall identify himself/herself as an APPRAISOR when appropriate in contact with the public and those in the real estate profession.

 
ARTICLE 5: PROFESSIONAL ATTIRE
 
An APPRAISOR® knows that first impressions count. Professional attire is a significant part of being regarded as a professional and a good representative of the appraisal profession. The APPRAISOR® knows that he/she not only represents his/her own company, but the company that hired the APPRAISOR® and that attire as well as conduct will be judged by those who meet the APPRAISOR® in a professional capacity. Article 5 relates to professional attire. It has been included as a guide that will enhance the reputation of the individual appraisal as well as the appraisal profession.

A. Shaggy, dirty, ripped, torn, and/or stained clothing is to be avoided.

B. The APPRAISOR® shall arrive clean and well groomed for an appointment or whenever the APPRAISOR® is representing himself/herself as a member of the appraisal profession.

C. Shoes/boots shall be appropriate to the assignment Flip-flops are never appropriate.

D. Men shall take their hats off in the house or ask permission to leave them on.

E. Sunglasses shall not be worn during an interior inspection unless the sunglasses are prescription and the APPRAISOR® does not have regular glasses available. In this case the APPRAISOR® shall explain to the occupant the reason for wearing sunglasses in the house.

Comment: It is generally accepted courteous behavior to remove one’s sunglasses when introducing oneself or carrying on a conversation. If the sunglasses are prescription, this should be explained.

F. Men shall wear collared shirts.

G. Women shall not wear miniskirts, or short shorts.

H. Gym clothing is not appropriate for an APPRAISOR® when conducting business.

I. Women shall not wear clothing that is sexually suggestive such as low cut blouses or spaghetti strap tops

J. When attending meetings and classes where a dress code has not been established, an APPRAISOR® shall dress in business casual, otherwise the dress code established shall be followed.

K. When appearing before the Arizona Board of Appraisal the APPRAISOR® shall show respect for the Board by dressing in business casual or business attire.

Comment: The Board of Appraisal is the deciding agency on the career of an individual appraiser. The APPRAISOR® should dress as if the future of his/her career depends on his professional conduct and appearance because, in fact, these contribute to the Board’s consideration of the professionalism of the appraiser.

 
ARTICLE 6. VIOLATIONS, COMPLAINTS, MEDIATION
 
Within any body of professionals there may be disagreements regarding how another professional may conduct his/her business. If such a disagreement occurs, an APPRAISOR® shall first seek remedy through AAREA before filing a complaint or inquiry with the state regulatory board or agency. The reason is that the belief is held that most disagreements can be resolved through mediation and that the purpose of a professional organization is to improve the profession. This can most effectively be done through awareness and counsel to correct any deficiencies rather than punishment or censure. Holding this belief, the following outlines the procedures for filing an inquiry regarding the conduct of another APPRAISOR®.

While in the course of business if an APPRAISOR® discovers or believes another APPRAISOR® has violated any portion of the APPRAISORS’® CODE OF ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT, the APPRAISOR® may lodge an inquiry into the professional conduct of said other APPRAISOR® with the AAREA Board.

A. The inquiry must be in writing to AAREA or other professional organization that may be named.

B. The inquiry cannot be anonymous but the name of the APPRAISOR® will be withheld upon request.

C. The AAREA Board may then
1) dismiss the inquiry;
2) refer the inquiry to the AAREA Peer Review Committee.
3) ask the APPRAISOR® in question for an interview regarding the allegations.

D. Should the AAREA Board decide to dismiss the inquiry, the alleging party will be notified. It will be at the discretion of the Board whether to notify the APPRAISOR® of any allegation lodged against him/her.

E. In all other cases the APPRAISOR® against whom the allegation is lodged shall be notified of the allegation and asked to respond.

F. The Peer Review Committee shall set up the protocol for reviewing complaints.

G. After due process The Peer Review Committee shall provide the AAREA Board with a summary of its findings. Should the findings rise to a level where the Peer Review Committee recommends removal of the APPRAISOR® from the roles of the Association; the decision will be made by the AAREA Board of Directors.

spacer graphic
spacer graphic
AAREA Logo