When you speak with potential appraisers about engaging in a valuation effort, whether it’s for machinery & equipment, personal or real property, business, or anything else, you should be asking if their work complies with USPAP standards. Before you ask the question, though, here is an overview of what USPAP means so you can better understand the importance of this appraisal requirement.
What is USPAP
USPAP is short for Universal Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice and is considered a type of quality control to a formal valuation process. It was established prior to the Savings and Loan Crisis in the late 1980s and then taken over by a committee called The Appraisal Foundation (TAF) to ensure that artificial inflation of an appraisal did not grow out of control again as it did during that period.
The standards that comprise USPAP are updated every year which allows it to stay current with changes in the industry and any new regulations. Though it's mainly used in the US, it has been adopted in whole or part by a large number of professional appraisal organizations in other countries. Its focus is not on controlling the actual methods an appraiser utilizes but on specific standards for the appraiser’s qualifications, ethics, scope-of-work rules, report writing requirements, record-keeping, client disclosures, signed certifications, and related topics.
There are specific standards that pertain to all types of appraisals and can vary by valuation discipline, including machinery & equipment, business, real property, and personal property. As an accredited appraiser, whether you are a Senior ASA with the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) or affiliated with another valuation group, you are required to meet the qualifications for USPAP. This begins with a 15-hour course for first-time professionals, with continued compliance every two years to ensure the appraiser stays abreast of new developments. The follow-up courses are 7 hours long, however, if you miss one of these 2 year periods, you are required to go back and take the 15-hour course again.
The appraiser is issued a certificate after each course, which can be provided to you upon request. Once you have confirmed the valuation professional is USPAP compliant, you will have confidence that he or she is well-educated and experienced in the appraisal profession, and can deliver a well-researched, supportable report.
Becoming an accredited appraiser requires continuing education not only in USPAP but as an ASA professional as well. By understanding the USPAP Appraisal Standards and how they impact your valuation in terms of the individuals involved in the work effort, you gain valuable insight into the importance of engaging with the right people to complete this for you.