Being an Appraiser with a Disability

Here are some thoughts on something I know nothing about, but want to get some answers.  How does the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) affect real estate appraisers? This act exists to help those with disabilities to have the same advantages of those who do not (at least as much as possible). At the time it first past, there was grumbling from those who had to spend the money to retrofit their buildings into compliance.  There were cheers from those who before could not access buildings, elevators, stairwells who now could.  My opinion is that the benefits outweighed the costs – but that’s my opinion.

All that said, how does the ADA help appraisers?  Or, does it help us at all? How does the ADA protect appraisers?  Does it protect us at all? My research indicates that most of the data on these questions refer to commercial real estate appraisal, not residential such as we do.  So where do we look for an answer?

Some of you know that about 10-years ago, my Dad was involved in a bad motorcycle accident.  As a result, long story short, he had to give up appraising since he could not get around physically after the accident – it was too painful.  Anyway, he retired early from the business, took his Social Security and, despite his entrepreneurial orientation, after a long career, got out of the real estate appraisal business altogether.  So here is my question: Could my Dad have hired other appraisers to do inspections for him, thus allowing him to stay at his desk? There he would have done the analytics of the appraisal from the data the inspecting appraiser provided to him, and then written the appraisal report.

Now, we all know that USPAP does not require us to inspect the property; it merely requires us to disclose if we did not.  Yet, despite this, many lenders demand a personal inspection of the property. Typically, this means the appraiser who inspects the property also signs the report.  Could I have inspected the property, given him all of that data, and then let him write the report? We’d both sign it, with the proper disclosure of who inspected the property and who did not.  Would that have worked? I think so be need your thoughts on the issue.

So, would the ADA have applied here?  I do not know, frankly. Please take the time to share your thoughts with me since you may have a take on this I never thought of.  Get on my website, open up this podcast (#76), listen to it in its entirety, then let me know your thoughts by commenting on the podcast.  I appreciate all your help and input on this!

 

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 76 A Question About Appraisers With Disabilities

4 Comments on “Being an Appraiser with a Disability”

  1. Dustin,

    I’m not trying to be mean. I do not think the ADA applied in your father’s case. His workplace was his office, which surely accommodated him. When a client hired him, the client did not hire an employee, but an independent contractor. Since an independent contractor holds her/himself out as capable of being able to complete the contracted assignment timely and competently, and since your father was not an employee and there was no “workplace” per se, the client had no reason to accommodate him under the requirements of the ADA.

    As to you and he working as a team per your suggestion, I cannot see how that would not have worked since you would have inspected the property in his stead, while you both, as state-certified appraisers, would have signed the report. This model, of one appraiser inspecting the property, while both signed the report, is as old as the appraisal business itself. It’s what appraisers do. Working as a team, you would have complied with the lender/client’s stupid requirements the appraiser inspect the property.

    But don’t get me started on stupid lender requirements.

    When it comes to ADA compliance, my opinion is likely wrong (as my Wife is wont to tell me). However, it makes sense to me.

  2. I have one of the best reasearch analystists out there, he is legally blind from MS and can’t drive. We looked into getting him certified, he decided it would be too much of an uphill battle and that what I see in the field is often very different then what he sees online.

    I can tell you one place where there should be ADA compliance is with FHA attic and crawl space inspections. I have the shoulders of an NFL linebacker and can’t fit through a 14” scuttle. They banned the use of selfie sticks which I think is wrong

  3. I lost my lower right leg over 10 years ago. It certainly changed my way of doing business. So in Texas I thought that I could do just what your saying and have someone be my eyes and ears for me. And at the time you had different opinions at TALCB on this. One person said it would work and another said it wouldn’t. Now it has been cleared up and is a absolute NO. If you don’t put your eyes on it you didn’t appraise it! It has gotten so bad that I actually take my photo at each home to prove that I was there. I had a coach tell me to take a photo of the street showing my car was there but that isn’t enough. So now I take a photo in the home somewhere that is distinct and would mostly be only in that home. So my take from this is a bit more complicated and it has to do with other things also but I will have to say that it has absolutely worked against me instead of for me. And I would also like to say that people that can take advantage of my situation, Realtors in particular, will do so at the drop of a hat. Because we all know that if you are actually trying to establish a real value instead of filling out a form so that this house can close, you are the bad guy. So it double dip works against me when it can.

  4. Well, if one takes up the appraisal profession, I’ve concluded that person is emotionally impaired and has a strong penchant for self mutilation. That being said, we probably need to expand our national network of mental health facilities to assist the demented group known as real estate appraisers. Since most of us are unaware of our malady, maybe some sort of 12 step program would be in order. Just a thought.

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