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: