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[Commercial Grade] What’s The Use

Commercial Grade is a weekly post by John Cicero, MAI who provides commentary on issues affecting real estate appraisers, with specific focus on commercial valuation. Today John talks about the dilemma facing appraisers when unintended users are wearing our tires out ’til they’re bald. Disclosure: John is a partner of mine in our commercial real estate valuation concern Miller Cicero, LLC [1] and he is, on Thursdays, one of the smartest guys I know. …Jonathan Miller

In appraisal parlance, every appraisal report must state who the intended user is. USPAP [2] mandates that the intended user be specified in the report to establish the appraiser-client relationship.

I frequently receive phone calls from review appraisers or underwriters at financial institutions who are looking at an appraisal that I prepared for another client. (This week I received two such calls.) These institutions are participating in the loan and, therefore, feel justified in calling me to “ask just a couple of questions.” They were never “intended users.”

What is my responsibility to these callers this case? Per USPAP we are not permitted to discuss the report without prior permission from the client. Surprising that the review appraiser is not aware of this.

If I do get permission to discuss the report, my appraisal has already been thoroughly reviewed (questions asked and answered) by my client; should I have to go through another full review? If there are a number of participants, should I answer to a dozen different reviewers, each asking different questions?

The reality is, though, that even though answering to different reviewers was not within the original scope of services, not co-operating with the participant is simply bad business. After all, the participants are also potential clients.

[This is the harsh reality of the commercial appraisal world. Contrarian viewpoint: Its up to them to get the original client allow the conversation with you. Of course, this would never happen so I say charge them for your additional time – calling for permission, speaking to several parties, etc. It all adds up. If the new client doesn’t value your time as a professional, then I am not so sure they are going to send that much business your way in the future. -JM]