Will Harris

Appraisers go happily along, doing their best to exemplify the high standards that promote the public trust.  Unfortunately, almost all (myself included) wait until the last minute to do our license/certification renewal courses.  Some are frantically waiting to snatch the completion certificate out of the instructor’s hand, and speed to over-night or drive it to the state appraisal board.  I understand the need to stagger the renewal licensing of thousands of appraisers, to a few each month, to prevent over-whelming the licensing agency.  However, let us not forget that the licensing process is set-up for the convenience of the licensing agency, not the licensee.

January 1st of every even numbered year, an updated/tweaked/changed USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) becomes effective.  If your license renewal is due in the latter part of an odd numbered year, like mine is, and you wait until the last minute to renew, you may have been in violation of USPAP for almost the whole two years.  With that chain of events, you may have been in violation of our professional standards, for your whole career.

(1)  That revelation dawned on me many years ago.  Knowing that our renewal hours can be broken-up throughout the whole two years, I highly recommend that appraisers complete the 7-hour USPAP Update as soon as possible after January 1st, in even numbered years (more accurately, when USPAP is updated).  My dad used to say “it’s hard to build your reputation, and easy to loose it.”

In the last few months, I have encountered six or eight appraisers who have admitted that they were caught-up in this cycle.  As a result of a value disagreement, turned appraisal board complaint, the board noticed an unrelated USPAP violation.  Even though the complaint may have been found to be frivolous, the unrelated USPAP violation (minor or otherwise) caused the appraiser to receive a fine and take a class, frequently the 15-hour USPAP.  To make it worse, the class often did not count towards their renewal.  As we all know, time is money, but the ding to our reputation stings for a long time.

(2)  Two individuals, who had each been appraising for over 30 years, had violations that had been part of USPAP for many, many years.  They prompted me to recommend that appraisers take the full USPAP 15-hour course (not just the 7-hour update) every-other renewal cycle (every 4 years), thereby refreshing the portions that we haven’t heard since we were trainees.  However, I recently learned that, at least in Texas, the 15-hour full USPAP course is NOT “state approved” for renewals.  That doesn’t make sense to me, of course new appraisers are being taught up-to-date information in the 15-hour class, versus the updates-only in the 7-hour renewal.  Perhaps if enough appraisers, and others interested in quality valuation products, were to lobby the state licensing board (TALCB-Texas Appraiser Licensing & Certification Board), state legislators, and the Appraisal Foundation in DC (The Appraisal Foundation – Home Page), this error in logic could be corrected.  Come to think of it, 2014 is an election year, perhaps several incumbents or contenders could be persuaded to push for the correction.


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