Being an Appraiser With a Disability

How Does ADA Affect Appraisers? Being an Appraiser With a DisabilityHere are some thoughts on something I know nothing about, but want to get some answers. How does the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) affect real estate appraisers? This act exists to help those with disabilities to have the same advantages of those who do not (at least as much as possible). At the time it first past, there was grumbling from those who had to spend the money to retrofit their buildings into compliance. There were cheers from those who before could not access buildings, elevators, stairwells who now could. My opinion is that the benefits outweighed the costs – but that’s my opinion.

All that said, how does the ADA help appraisers? Or, does it help us at all? How does the ADA protect appraisers? Does it protect us at all? My research indicates that most of the data on these questions refer to commercial real estate appraisal, not residential such as we do. So where do we look for an answer?

Some of you know that about 10-years ago, my Dad was involved in a bad motorcycle accident. As a result, long story short, he had to give up appraising since he could not get around physically after the accident – it was too painful. Anyway, he retired early from the business, took his Social Security and, despite his entrepreneurial orientation, after a long career, got out of the real estate appraisal business altogether. Here is my question: Could my Dad have hired other appraisers to do inspections for him, thus allowing him to stay at his desk? There he would have done the analytics of the appraisal from the data the inspecting appraiser provided to him, and then written the appraisal report.

Now, we all know that USPAP does not require us to inspect the property; it merely requires us to disclose if we did not. Yet, despite this, many lenders demand a personal inspection of the property. Typically, this means the appraiser who inspects the property also signs the report. Could I have inspected the property, given him all of that data, and then let him write the report? We’d both sign it, with the proper disclosure of who inspected the property and who did not. Would that have worked? I think so but need your thoughts on the issue.

So, would the ADA have applied here? I do not know, frankly. Please take the time to share your thoughts with me since you may have a take on this I never thought of. For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 76 A Question About Appraisers With Disabilities. I appreciate all your help and input on this!

Dustin Harris
Latest posts by Dustin Harris (see all)
Dustin Harris

Dustin Harris

A multi-business owner and residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc. He owns and operates The Appraiser Coach where he personally advises and mentors other appraisers. His principles and methodologies are also taught in an online, Mastermind group. He and his wife reside in Idaho with their four children. Dustin Harris on

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9 Responses

  1. Baggins Baggins says:

    Round robin distribution where you don’t get another one until you finish the last and get back in line, this helps eliminate assignment bias and provides better access for elderly and disabled appraisers. That only happens when the distributor has a fair fee and turn times up front.

    For inspection requirements it would seem apparent that the person helping must have some measure of experience since there is an additional limitation regarding some of the essential hands on training. If lenders managed distribution more responsibly, it would seem that integrating disabled and elderly appraiser persons into the lineup would become more routine as a matter of fact. Rising deminis may hit the elderly and disabled the hardest, there will be no more simple work with predictable challenges. Cheers.

  2. Avatar marion says:


    you need an ADA lawyer to answer your question, not a USPAP over rides lending regs, when USPAP requires you to follow lending regs answers.

    But while your are doing that, might as well have more fun and look up Affirmative Action requirements for lenders and lender subcontractors and start questioning if AMCs are meeting those affirmative action requirements.

    Lots of fun legal questions can be asked of appraisers, doesn’t mean a dang thing without an attorney.

  3. I think he could have. IF he was able to ride in the vehicle and had another onsite person I think he’d be ok even where lender policy required the ‘person signing on left to inspect the property.’

    (1) The best solution would be to do it with lender concurrence.
    (2) Next best might be to have a licensed trainee inspect (while Dad was in the car) and invoking the American with Disabilities Act citing reasonable accommodation must be made. That to assure competency of field inspections a fully competent trainee (or license holding assistant ) Did a Real-time video of everything not visible from the car as well as portions that were visible from a car using FACETIME or similar product enabling your dad to see what the appraiser saw. The same method could be used inside the house.
    (3) An argument (or at least argument for special consideration) could be separately made for a similar inspection type if your dad is not able to ride in a car.

    The American Guild of Appraisers has at least one member we know of with limited physical abilities (wheelchair bound) who uses another licensed appraiser as an assistant to inspect the property (with disclosure). I can’t answer much more because I never had reason to ask more. I’m guessing it could also be economic to do so. $100 per house if not signing; negotiable amount above if researching; opining on comps and writing portions of the report. Using Clickforms Mobile or a similar app he could even get report well started before they ever left the property with real potential to do a couple a day.

    When I worked at IRS we had a completely blind presenter giving a 45-minute complex powerpoint demonstration. He was great! Professionally competent, but also humorously able to demonstrate that what we saw as an impediment, was nothing of the kind for him. ALL large public meetings also had sign language translators.

  4. Avatar marion says:

    Don’t be picking on the AF. Besides, the BC used to post here, and look how he kept getting exposed for using fake names. HA, you guys ran him off. The trick to the AF is to clean your cache and all temporary files and surfing history, before you go, and as soon as you leave. That way it’s not a problem and the only ads you see are generic ones that may be linked to something in the thread you are reading. No big deal.

    But really, AMCs need to give up this crap of fake news presented by fake appraisers.

    Nobody believes them anymore.


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Being an Appraiser With a Disability

by Dustin Harris time to read: 2 min