Ethics and Responsibility

Appraisal is a profession, and appraisers are professionals. In our field, as with any profession, we are bound by ethical considerations.

An appraiser's primary responsibility is to his or her client. Typically, in residential practice, the appraiser's client is the lender ordering the appraisal when deciding whether to make the mortgage loan. Appraisers have certain duties of confidentiality to their clients. The appraisal report is confidential information for the client ordering the report. As a homeowner, if you want a copy of an appraisal report, you normally have to request it through your lender, unless you order the appraisal yourself. Appraisers have other obligations such as numerical accuracy depending on the assignment parameters, an obligation to attain and maintain a certain level of competency and education, and must conduct him or herself as a professional. At the Red River Group we take these ethical responsibilities very seriously.

Appraisers may also have fiduciary obligations to third parties, such as homeowners, both buyers and sellers, or others. Those third parties are identified in the appraisal assignment itself. An appraiser's fiduciary duty is limited to those third parties who the appraiser is aware of, based on the scope of work or other written parameters of the assignment.

All of our team members at the Red River Group perform to the highest ethical standards possible. Assignments based on contingency fees are not accepted. That is, we don't agree to do an appraisal report and get paid only if the loan closes. We don't do assignments on percentage fees. Practices such as these would tend to make appraisers inflate the value of homes or properties. Other unethical practices may be defined by federal or provincial laws or by professional associations to which an appraiser belongs.

The Canadian Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (CUSPAP) also defines as unethical the acceptance of an assignment that is contingent on "the reporting of a predetermined result (e.g., opinion of value)," "a direction in assignment results that favors the cause of the client," "the amount of a value opinion," and other similar directives. This means you can be assured our firm is working to objectively to determine the home or property value independently.

As members of the Appraisal Institute of Canada, we hold a deep commitment to the Institute's high standard of ethics.