Appraisals: Why USPAP Matters

Posted on August 6, 2020

Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) is a set of ethical and performance standards to guide real estate, business, and personal property appraisers. The purpose of USPAP is to promote and maintain a high level of public trust in the appraisal practice. These standards are published by the Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) of The Appraisal Foundation (TAF).


USPAP standards were adopted by Congress in 1989 Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA)  to provide guidelines for the procedures and ethics for appraisers. The use of USPAP is required by law for state-licensed, state-certified appraisers involved in federally-related real estate transactions, and voluntary for personal property and business appraisals. While USPAP standards are optional for personal property and business appraisals, EPS applies the USPAP standards in all appraisal reports.


Appraisers certified in USPAP are required to have a high level of appraising competency. A rigorous 15-hour National USPAP Course and a written exam must be passed for certification. To maintain a USPAP certificate, appraisers are required to take a 7-Hour National USPAP Update Course every two years. To be a member of the International Society of Appraisers (ISA), one must have the competency required by the USPAP standards.


The USPAP standards include obligations for development and reporting of real property appraisals, appraisal review, mass appraisals, personal property appraisals, and business appraisals as well as:


Definitions establishing the terminology used within standards and in appraisal reports,


Ethics Rule to promote and preserve public trust through integrity and impartiality,


Record Keeping Rule to prepare a workfile for appraisal review,


Competency Rule to ensure the assignment will be performed properly,


Scope of Work Rule to ensure the problem is defined and solved with credibility,


Jurisdictional Exception Rule to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.


USPAP appraisers take a pledge to follow the standards of USPAP in writing appraisal reports, protecting the interests of the client. USPAP reports are meaningful, unbiased, and detailed. As part of a USPAP report, the appraiser must assemble a detailed workfile to document the report's specifics and any information that impacted the appraisal.


USPAP defines appraisal review standards to be applied by an appraiser performing review. These standards can be used as supporting evidence for motions dismissing opposing appraisals when appropriate. An appraisal opinion written to USPAP standards for litigation can lead to favorable judgments. EPS generates USPAP compliant appraisal reports that are impartial and defendable.