Appraisal reviews in real estate serve many important purposes. Sometimes the review process is more time consuming and requires research and analysis well beyond the original assignment, while other times the process is very smooth. If you are a professional appraiser, your work will be reviewed from time to time. It may be helpful to remember that it is your work product—not you—that is being reviewed.
In this article, we take a look at the definition of an appraisal review, why reviews are needed, the most common types of review reports, and who can perform an appraisal review.
Want to become an appraisal reviewer? Check out our CE courses on this topic, including, “Evaluating Today’s Residential Appraisal: Reliable Review.”
What is an appraisal review?
An appraisal review in real estate is when one appraiser reviews the work of another. USPAP defines appraisal review as, “The act or process of developing an opinion about the quality of another appraiser’s work (i.e., a report, part of a report, a workfile, or some combination of these), that was performed as part of an appraisal or appraisal review assignment.”
Why are appraisal reviews needed?
Real estate appraisal reviews are useful and necessary because they can they serve as a tool for:
Providing a second opinion
A professional review of an appraiser’s work often makes sense as a prudent business practice for users of appraisal services. It is not unusual for clients in other professions to seek second opinions, and the appraisal profession is no different.
A review serves as a tool for measuring the credibility of the appraisal report by determining whether it supports a relevant development process. The review serves as a test of reasonableness to see if the methods and techniques used are appropriate to the assignment.
Boosting client confidence
A review can reinforce a client’s confidence in the appraisal report. The reviewer ascertains whether appropriate data has been gathered and examined, if the data has been analyzed logically, and whether the conclusions are consistent with the information presented in the report.
A review can help a lending institution client manage risk. Because appraisal reports are used in a business decision on the part of the client, an appraisal review lends a degree of due diligence to the process. Descriptive portions of a report can alert the lender to any additional risks associated with the property, while the value conclusions lend credence to the business decision.
Appraisal reviews are helpful in supporting litigation and dispute resolution matters. Often, more than one appraisal report is prepared in these instances. Reviews lend credibility to conclusions of each, or demonstrate shortcomings.
Enhancing client accessibility
A review can be used to assess work products of appraisers for clients who have little knowledge of appraisal or have no internal appraisal capabilities.
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Types of appraisal review reports
The type of report is generally dictated by the client, based on discussion with the appraiser who is performing the review. The four most common report types for reviews include form reports, checklists, narrative reports, and oral reports.
Fannie Mae 2000 (Freddie Mac 1032): One-Unit Residential Appraisal Field Review Report is the most commonly requested type of report for quality control and compliance for single-unit properties. Fannie Mae 2000A (Freddie Mac 1072): Two-to-Four Unit Residential Field Review Form is used for small residential income properties.
Forms for other property types are more numerous and less standardized than residential forms. Some client groups have developed their own forms to meet their specific needs. Software providers offer a variety of residential and commercial review forms for various types of appraisal reviews.
All forms should be checked for USPAP compliance and supplemented when necessary.
Clients may require the reviewer to complete a checklist instead of a form. Some client groups such as mortgage lenders, mortgage insurers, or appraisal management companies (AMCs) have developed their own appraisal review checklists to meet their specific needs.
As with form reports, all checklists should be checked for USPAP compliance.
With narrative reports, the reviewer generally creates his or her own format. Although, there are some software providers who offer narrative report formats. The content must comply with appropriate USPAP standards. Narrative reports must meet the needs of the client and any other intended users.
Oral reports are used when the client does not require a written report. These are often used in court testimony or when a reviewer is being deposed. The reviewer must develop the appraisal review opinion prior to delivering the oral report.
A reviewer should not be expected to provide an opinion about another appraiser’s work on the spot. They must make sure the review has been properly developed and that a supporting workfile in compliance with USPAP is in place prior to issuing an oral report.
Who can review a property appraisal?
Appraisal review demands a high level of competency in evaluating and assessing the credibility of another appraiser’s work. As such, individuals engaging in appraisal reviews must have prior experience as an appraiser and demonstrate the necessary skill set. Typically, this requires a minimum of 3 to 5 years of experience as a certified residential or certified general appraiser.
Learn more about completing appraisal reviews with our CE courses
Are you interested in performing reviews? Grow your knowledge with our continuing education courses. Enroll in our appraisal review courses, including “Evaluating Today’s Residential Appraisal: Reliable Review,” “Introduction to Commercial Appraisal Review,” and “Residential Appraisal Review and USPAP Compliance.”
Editor’s note: This post was originally published on January 28, 2020 and updated in September 2023.