Neutral, Unbiased, & Not an Advocate for any Party
The issue of declining an assignment based on the homeowner’s race has come up among appraisers.
I believe the core issue is one of Appraiser Independence.
How many of us have arrived at a property to have an agent or homeowner make comments that caused us to reconsider whether we should proceed? Comments regarding a “number needed”, comments that seem confrontational, comments that call into question our qualifications or competence? I know I have left a property only to contact the client from my car to withdraw, as I felt like no matter what, my report would most likely be challenged, maybe even reported to my appraisal board, and because of those comments I could no longer do my job in the “neutral, unbiased way” I always do.
The point being that race of anyone in the transaction is NOT a value factor, just like the “number needed” is NOT a value factor. So why would anyone feel the need to bring it into a conversation, unless they intended to make it a factor?
Honestly, I have never thought about race in any way as I go about my job… until now. The way that this issue has been placed squarely on the shoulders of Appraisers has made us ALL have to think about it, possibly in ways that will restrict our ability to continue to do our job as the one person in a lending transaction that is NEUTRAL.
If I withdraw from an assignment because of Appraiser Independence issues, does that mean that another Appraiser after me may be less experienced or less qualified? Perhaps. And how does that benefit anyone?
Aren’t we all after the most qualified Appraiser? Will this issue make a non-black Appraiser less qualified to appraise the home of a black homeowner? Isn’t that being racially biased?
I’m sure we all as Appraisers have been almost “brainwashed” (for lack of a better term) to be “neutral, unbiased, and not an advocate for any party”. At least that’s what I was trained to do.
I’m not claiming that none of these complaints about appraisals are accurate, they may very well be. But it appears to me that no one is listening to both sides of the argument in order to accurately determine a course of action.
That’s what I’d like to see happen. And in the meantime, if comments are made regarding race in any way during the course of an appraisal, it just may cause the Appraiser to respectfully withdraw. Not because they are racist, or because they are biased… but because they feel they can no longer be that “independent, neutral” voice that we have always been counted on to be.
By LadyT. The author is a Certified Residential Appraiser.