The Path to Credibility


Walking path in morning time, sunlight half way dark shading through tall trees. Natural background

I was recently proofreading a paper my son had written for a class and came across a quote from Benjamin Franklin. My son used quotation marks to offset the words of Franklin, but had no other reference. This led to a discussion about the importance of being able to reference our information, and the credibility that such sourcing gives us. It occurred to me that this conversation has relevance for us as appraisers, and in a couple ways.

           First, I can think of one place off the top of my head on the 2055 Fannie Mae form where it asks you where you got the information on the characteristics of the house. I think this is super important to fill out, because I don’t want to be held responsible before a state board or a client later on for where I got my information. There are so many places we can get information these days – pictures, inspections, other appraisal forms, tax forms, the internet, etc. – it’s important to clarify where you get it and that it is credible. 

           Second, it is an important skill to be able to source yourself. Let’s say that you’re adjusting the price per square foot on a house.. Can you explain why you made the adjustment? Can people follow your reasoning through the appraisal so that the conclusion you came to makes sense?

           Just like you learned in high school, sourcing your information gives you a degree of credibility that you can’t get in other ways. It also protects you from accusations later on down the line when something goes wrong. This habit shouldn’t die in high school, however. This is one habit that should remain with us, and should be applied to our work as appraisers.

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode:

9 thoughts on “The Path to Credibility”

  1. Pingback: The Path to Credibility - Appraisal Buzz

  2. Michelle B. Rogers, SRA

    Dustin- This is great. It really made me think and reporting and how we should provide as much information as possible. What is difficult from my perspective is that sometimes appraisers apply so much content in a report that is not necessary just because they are trying to CYA. There are some great appraisers out there and some really “not so great”. I know that they could all be great with the right resources and training.

    1. Michelle, considering your the former Chief Valuation Officer for New American Funding, the idea that you said, “sometimes appraisers apply so much content in a report that is not necessary” is laughable.

      Laughable, because your own engagement letters at the time were 10+ pages long and went above USPAP standards. Appraisers haven’t been appraising for some years now, but rather its all about formatting the report to meet engagement letters, and or trying to maintain ones AMC score to get more work.

      Don’t even get me started how your former company required 10+ years of experience BEFORE you even considered adding appraisers to your panel.

      Lastly, great job switching from Lender X (nearly full fee), to US appraisals (split fees).

      Seek the truth.

  3. Sourcing is important. As Abe Lincoln and Bill Johnson always said “Everything on the internet is always true”

    1. Kevin, when Dustin puts out a podcast saying he sold his business, and is now a W2 employee with True Footage, is this not true? When Dustin’s own bio say’s “in 2010 he purposefully began scaling back his appraisal business …”, again is this not true?

      In the end, before Dustin got out of the day to day appraisal business, he was a part time appraiser at best, but was still selling you his Kool-Aid to become a millionaire. Do as I say, and not as I do, comes to mind.

      Ignore the truth that I’ve been exposing here for over 5 years at your own peril Kevin.

      With your business being dependent on the teat of the AMC’s Dustin trained you to use (I know, only the good ones), be sure your bids start with a $1XX.

      Seek the truth.

  4. Totally agree. I was reading a retrospective appraisal in my office recently and the condition section had all kinds of details about the condition of the property but no reference to how we determined the condition in the past. Did we inspect it recently and then assume the condition was the same? Did we interview anyone about what the home was like on the effective date? Tell the story of the property, tell the story of the value, but also tell the story of the data.

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