Equipment Appraisal Blog | Understanding Machinery Appraisals

Equipment Appraisal: Clients and Intended Users

Posted by Equipment Appraisal Services on Mon, May 13, 2024 @ 07:30 AM

Professional appraiser working with client and intended user

Every appraisal engagement needs to clearly define the scope of work before it can begin, as several things need to be clarified upfront. Two of these areas involve designating the specific client who will sign the contract and have control over the process, as well as the intended users, who, besides the client, will be additional parties allowed to have access to the report.

This may sound straightforward, and in some cases, it is, however, there are several instances where it won’t be clear in the early stages how this will need to be set up. For example, if the owner of the equipment is looking to obtain a loan to secure additional working capital for his business, there will undoubtedly be a bank or leasing company in the middle of the transaction that may prefer to be the primary client. The equipment owner can be listed as an intended user, which allows the bank to share the appraisal with them after it is finalized and delivered. The appraiser should not discuss the values or share the report directly with the owner at any time, without the bank client’s permission. This can be a bit tricky though, given much of the information the appraiser needs to complete the assignment will be coming directly from the owner.

In this same instance, there may be underwriters of the loan, such as the Small Business Administration (SBA) or the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), who have their due diligence to perform as part of the approval process and will want a copy of the report. The valuation professional should be certain they include these parties as intended users, and avoid communicating with the underwriters directly.

Another example might be with legal cases and/or estate settlements, with attorneys involved in the transaction, as well as trustees and partners. The same type of discussion should take place early on to clarify who the direct client will be as well as the additional intended users. This is not always done the same way, and it will be at the discretion of all parties to make it clear to the appraiser how they prefer to structure this.

The appraiser needs to control this process to a certain extent and make it evident that the client will be the primary party receiving the report, and the intended users should not be directly involved unless they are critical to obtaining certain data. If the intended users request a copy of the appraisal report, the client should be made aware and ideally be the one who sends the report to them.

In general, try to avoid co-client agreements as they will likely become even more convoluted than having multiple intended users. As the appraiser, when in doubt, always contact the client first and discuss any communications and requests coming from the intended users before you act on them and make it clear to everyone that the client has the final say in how the document flow should be handled.

Tags: accredited appraisers, appraisal report