Front & Center
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The story of my fee! Disclosure of my Fee is Front & Center
Remember those dreaded book reports in grade school? Remember the oral presentations in front of the class? We did not think much of it then, but this was the beginning of public speaking. Fast Forward to today: Our appraisal reports are similar to those dreaded book reports except there is no oral presentation, no public speaking. No way to BS your way through it because you only read the Cliff Notes, not the actual book itself.
We have come a long way and today we write reports that speak to the reader. No Cliff Notes, no text to highlight, but reports created by us based on our observations and research of the market. The standard forms do a simple basic function that are nowhere near adequate to tell our story, so appraisers expand to addendums, charts, graphs, photographs, etc. Appraisers tell the story of the property and the neighborhood.
When USPAP was revised a few years ago requiring appraisers to disclose prior service, the software vendors all came out with a USPAP Identification page. I, like many others, chose not to use this form and simply place my disclosure of prior service elsewhere in the report. After all, our reports were long enough. Last week, The Appraisal Foundation issued a Q & A on this very topic. I actually took the time read this one as there were discussions on this very topic recently in some forums and there was definitely a division of opinions.
Well, I must thank the Appraisal Foundation for clarifying what is expected and required. Not because I discovered I may not be in compliance by not having my disclosure as a signed certification, but I discovered a missed opportunity; a missed opportunity to tell another story. A Story that has absolutely nothing to do with the value of the property; the story of my fee!
Many states require the appraiser to disclose the fee paid within the report. I now use the USPAP Identification page for the prior service disclosure. I also utilize this page as my fee disclosure. You see the center portion of this page clearly states:
“Comments on Appraisal and Report Identification
Note any USPAP related issues requiring disclosure and any State mandated requirements”
Well my State requires I disclose the fee I was paid for the completion of the appraisal. Not only is my fee disclosed in this section, it is highlighted in BOLD type and is a larger font size. This page is now the very first page in my report!
My fee is Front and Center on the very first page. The story of my fee is told to the consumer, not buried on page 26.
By TJ Everett, Certified Real Estate Appraiser