Recently, appraisers and collectors have noticed numerous advertisements and promotional material from other personal property appraisers who may have completed a Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) course and describe themselves as a “USPAP Certified Appraiser.” Others may deem their appraisal reports “USPAP Certified Appraisals.” Both of these terms are incorrect and are not approved by the three major personal property appraisal organizations: the International Society of Appraisers, the Appraisers Association of American and the American Society of Appraisers.
“USPAP Certified Appraiser” and “USPAP Certified Appraisal” statements are not designated as a credential and should not be used as one. Users of appraisers, such as collectors, accountants, attorneys, insurance firms etc. should certainly proceed with caution if they see an appraiser stating they are “USPAP Certified” as it may be an indication the personal property appraiser is either not properly trained or is being misleading by relying on a false credential.
The use of these false designations and credentials by personal property appraisers has come to the attention of the Appraisal Foundation, which has recently released guidance on the topic. According to the Appraisal Foundation and the Appraisal Qualifications Board, “there is no such credential. The use of the expression ‘USPAP Certified Appraiser’ is misleading. Completing a USPAP course does not entitle one to call oneself a ‘USPAP Certified Appraiser’.”
In fact, false and misleading credentialing may go even further with unscrupulous appraisers. The use of the title “Certified Appraiser” when the appraiser is not a member in good standing with at least one of the three major personal property appraisal organizations should cause users to inquire further about the credentials of the appraiser.
The Appraisal Foundation continues:
“One requirement for an appraisal or appraisal review is that the report include the appraiser’s certification that, to the best of his or her knowledge and belief, the work was performed ‘in conformity with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.’ The use of language such as ‘USPAP Certified Appraisal’ could be taken by intended users to mean that there was some independent certification of compliance. If that could be inferred from the language used, this would also be misleading.”
The fine and decorative art collector who is looking to have his collection appraised should consider how the appraiser represents their credentials. With this guidance, appraisers who have taken the 15 Hour USPAP class and passed the exam, and who have taken the required updated classes, should note their appraisal reports are written in compliance with the current version of USPAP and the ISA Report Writing Standard. If the appraiser is stating they are “USPAP Certified,” users of appraisers should proceed with caution. As the Appraisal Foundation notes, it is misleading and misrepresents the qualification.
If you have a question about the credentials of your appraiser, contact the appraiser’s organization for clarification. If you have a USPAP question on qualifications, contact the Appraisal Foundation through the Appraisal Qualifications Board.