Appraisers are not required to provide identification (in California), even a driver’s license, when they come to a house, do not always look the part and can cause alarm if not expected. One Orange County company says that is a problem.

Six months ago, Mission Viejo-based Comergence rolled out something the appraisal industry has never had – shiny ID badges.

Since the service started, just 22 of roughly 300 appraisers in San Diego County have signed up and the head of local industry group, the Appraisal Institute, says she thinks she knows why.

“A badge doesn’t identify you any differently than a business card does,” local Appraisal Institute president Susan Merrick said. “It’s pretty much typical operating procedure to give a business card when you go to the door… From a residential standpoint, it’s totally useless as far as I’m concerned.”

The state Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers says there is no law requiring appraisers to carry identification and has no opinion on Comergence.

Bureau head Jim Martin said he is not aware of any recent occurrences, at least in the last two years, of someone posing as an appraiser.
A San Diego commercial appraiser with 30 years experience, Gary Rasmuson, has pushed for a badge for the industry for years and even created his own.

My comments: This is controversial among appraisers. Many years ago, the chief appraiser for a lender told me that appraisers should not give a business card to the borrower. Of course, I didn’t agree. I have always give out business cards as that is a good source of referrals for me for non-lender work. I also want to be seen as a professional.

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  1. I wouldn’t care. As long as I don’t have to shell out a bunch of money to get one. But hey, I live in an open carry state, so now I can have a gun AND a badge!

  2. Yet more and more requirements are being asked of appraisers while at the same time our fees are decreasing. If they want us to be more “professional” they should pay us what we are worth.

  3. 50 years in the business and always made appointments for both residential and commercial assignments. My real concern is: What happens to confidentiality for the property owner?. Is there not a fiduciary responsibility to be and remain silent about the process for the owners confidentiality interests? While a badge may not be seen by others, in most cases, there are many instances where neighbors nearby may see badges and start imagining why is there a appraisal ongoing. It’s none of their business! The less public display of the word “appraisal” the greater chance of keeping the owners business, his/hers. I don’t give out my business card for future business, but, for giving my name and contact info so that the owner can supply me with any additional information regarding the subject, once I have made my inspection. As was once said “badges? we don’t need…

    • 40 years appraising for me. I agree with you on the issue of nosy neighbors. Of course, when they see someone with a clipboard measuring a house, they sometimes get nosy… I always give them a business card.

  4. I cannot agree with the Orange County company. I do not arrive at a property without an appointment. I am not trying to sell anything (i.e. vacuum cleaner sales person). I show my ID and my appraiser license and I dress the part as the professional, which is what we are required to do. I perform a service on behalf of the client which is to not sell anything. Once the clients business is complete, then the appraiser can ask if the borrower/homeowner would like a card. ID badges are for school aged children that need to be kept in line.

  5. We don’t need no stinking badges.

  6. Why in the hell would anyone want to act like an appraiser?

  7. Do architects have were ID badges when dealing with the public? Do lawyers were ID badges, except inside secure facilities? By law or standards of practice, do doctors have to wear ID badges to meet with patients ?

    If not, just who does have to wear badges while dealing with the public? Law enforcement officials do. It’s a required display of authority.

    What is the message in appraiser’s having to sport badges? Is it to look officious at the expense of appearing professional?

    Perhaps when appraisers become agents of banking authorities the wearing of badges will be be appropriate, but not before.

    Now there’s a question. When appraiser’s are federalized, should they be agents of the FBI, or DHS, or maybe special agents of the House Financial Services Committee?


  8. Who shows up at someone’s house without an appointment for the appraisal inspection? Why would the homeowner be “alarmed” if they have an appointment for the inspection? With all the other more pressing issues plaguing the appraisal industry, i.d. badges are the least of our worries, we all have business cards and I for one give them out freely….but I have never shown up at someone’s home without an appointment. I agree with Jack….just another company trying to siphon money out of appraisers.

  9. I’m with you on this 100% Ann! I’ve ALWAYS tried to leave a card and dress the part. Casual CAN still be professional; and when warranted I can still find a tie and coat.

    I can still politely and professionally tell an owner I’m not permitted to talk to them about much other than the weather after I leave there unless THEIR lender authorizes me to. In the meantime, I CAN give them the reassurance that they ARE being treated in a considerate and professional manner. Why heck, I can even tell a broker “No” when they want to push me in a direction.

  10. I do not disagree with the “orange county company’s” assessment that this is a problem, but the solution is not ID cards. It is showing up looking and acting like a professional, presenting a business card, and having an appointment, simple as that. The ID card gambit is another company trying to create a business need for a product that currently doesn’t have a market.

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