Appraiser Liability Risks

This Is Where Appraisal Liability Risks Lie (Plus Tips on How to Avoid Them)

By: McKissock

Excerpts: While it’s difficult for a litigant to win a judgment against an appraiser, that doesn’t spare appraisers the inconvenience of being sued, which can be costly, time-consuming, and harmful to one’s reputation even if the suit fails.

Attorney Peter Christensen, general counsel at the Christensen Law Firm in Bozeman, Montana, notes that lawsuits against individual residential appraisers, or small residential AMCs, are fairly rare, and successful suits rarer still. However, it’s a good idea to know where the risks lie—and how to avoid them.

Topics include:

  • USPAP and state laws
  • Types of lawsuits brought to appraisers
  • Disclosures and disclaimers to reduce appraisal liability risks

To read more, click here

My comments: Peter Christensen is very knowledgeable. Well written, short, and worth reading. As we all (should) know, any person or company. can sue you for any reason at any time.!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on AVMs and AI, good appraisal book,  Real estate market, Fannie, non-lender appraisals, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Appraiser Gets Subpoena – What to Do 3-17-23

Appraiser Gets Subpoena – What to Do

Excerpts: As an appraiser, you don’t have to be sued or be facing a lawsuit to find yourself on the receiving end of a subpoena—staring down a lawyer who is peppering you with questions.

Appraisers are often subpoenaed in legal disputes involving third parties, usually being tied to the dispute for no other reason than having appraised a property involved in the dispute. If the appraiser is not a party to the lawsuit, then typically they are being subpoenaed for documents and/or being called as an expert witness, sometimes without pay, to testify regarding a past appraisal.

First, subpoenas are court orders and you must not ignore the subpoena or you will find yourself in contempt of court. Tim Andersen, MAI, MSc, USPAP instructor and CEO of, says that if an appraiser doesn’t want to comply with a subpoena they can try to fight it, but that requires hiring a lawyer, which can be costly and has its own challenges. “One approach is to protest the subpoena to the judge indicating that your records are private, and requesting that your records be treated as confidential and not be made part of the public record. The judge, however, will do whatever s/he chooses to do,” reports Andersen.

To read more, click here

My comments: This is an excellent article on this topic. Read it to find out the issues. If you lost this link later, when you need help, Google “Dealing with a Subpoena Workingre”. This is specifically for appraisers. If you find other links online, they are not as useful.

I have never been served with a subpoena, but this is a regular topic among appraisers. I get calls occasionally from appraisers about this.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on non-lender appraisals, real estate market, regression and AVMs, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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Raise appraisal deminimus to $2 million or $5 million?


Should we raise the deminimus to $2 million? Or $5 million?

By George Dell
Excerpt: To simplify this discussion, let’s note two facts:  Appraisers can perform ‘evaluations’, normally using the same scope of work as an unlicensed “evaluator”.  What’s the difference?  It appears to me that there is one key difference.  The question is then:  Which part of the service is not required?  Is it the integrity/ethics, or the performance (such as using the right data and analysis)?

It appears to me that since unlicensed persons can charge less, have less tax/fee burden (for licensing, education, and errors/omissions insurance- the less ethical, less responsible ‘evaluator’ can always outbid the licensed appraiser every time.

Read the full blog post and appraiser comments. What do you think? Add your comments.

My comments: Interesting analysis by George, of course!! Credit unions are proposing to raise the commercial deminimus to $1,000,000. I didn’t know they made commercial loans. Guess they forgot about the commercial crash in the late 1980s.
As long as Fannie and Freddie (and their investors) require res appraisals, it won’t have a big effect on residential. The FIRREA deminimus in 1989 was $200,000. No effect on much of anything, even though we thought the Sky Was Falling.

The usual Mortgage Cycle: Good Business = lower requirements. Bad Business = higher requirements.


Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at

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8-24-17 Newz .Fannie Freddie appraisal waivers, AVMs and HELOCS, Passwords

The Traveling Apprentices of Germany

 And you thought appraiser trainees have it rough!!

Just For Fun ;>
Excerpts: They hitchhike across Europe, instantly recognizable in the wide-bottomed, corduroy trousers, white shirts and colored jackets that identify them as bricklayers, bakers, carpenters, stonemasons and roofers.
While on the road, journeymen are not supposed to pay for food or accommodations, and instead live by exchanging work for room and board. In warm weather, they sleep in parks and other public spaces. They generally carry only their tools, several changes of underwear, socks and a few shirts wrapped into small bundles that can be tied to their walking sticks – and that can also double as pillows.
In an adaptation of the old rules to modern times, journeymen do not carry devices like cellphones that allow them to be found. They carry digital cameras, if they like, and write emails from public computers.
My comment: Fascinating with great photos!! Yes, there are women travelers now…

Passwords: What if Everything You Know Is Wrong?

By Shelly Palmer
Excerpt:  According to the Wall Street Journal, Bill Burr (the man who wrote the NIST memo back in 2003 that recommended the cryptic craziness and frequent replacement guidelines) has had an epiphany. “Much of what I did I now regret,” said Mr. Burr, 72 years old, who is now retired. If the reporting is accurate, he had very little evidence upon which to base the NIST’s recommendations. (Sort of makes me think about the USDA Food Chart I grew up with. But that’s for another article.) Why were Mr. Burr’s assumptions wrong?…
Do what the experts are now telling you to do. Start using the longest passwords possible. I would not use correcthorsebatterystaple, but “passwordswedontneednostinkinpasswords” will absolutely do the job.

My comment: Very interesting article!! Plus the Fun Cartoons ;> Passwords are a Pain.. I think one of the most popular passwords is “password”. Looks like finally there is another way.

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5-18-17// Newz, AVM/BPO Problems, Castles in America, Cherry Picking Comps

Castles in America

Roger Declements likes to build his castles the medieval way.
He starts with stone – up to 1,000 tons of it – and then constructs two parallel walls. After years of work, sometimes an entire decade, these walls add up to what he considers “the most advanced, strongest and most comfortable” abode a person can have.
In the United States, where there are no authentic medieval castles, imitation ones are few and far between. But interest in them has grown, in part because of the popularity of books and shows like “Vikings,” “Downton Abbey,” “Game of Thrones” and the Harry Potter series.

My comment: Very interesting article with good photos plus some info on castles in Europe for comparison. FYI – article is in the New York Times, which only allows a few free articles before requiring a subscription.


Cherry-picking comps & being connected to the neighborhood

By Ryan Lundquist
Excerpts: On paper it looked like value was going to be so much higher. Why? Because comps to the north were easily 10-20% higher, and even Zillow came in $100,000 above the appraisal (ahem). The big cause of such a legitimately lower appraisal boiled down to one thing. Location. Today I want to show a situation where a small section of the neighborhood was blocked off from the rest, and it was a big deal for value. Have a look below and let me know what you think. Anything to add?
Methodology when only 5 sales in 5 years: When appraising something in this section, there were zero sales over the past 2 years and otherwise only 5 sales in the previous 5 years. This means I had to really study older sales to understand how value works…

My comments: Lots of good ideas. Very well written with good analysis and excellent use of graphs and annotated maps. I regularly go back in the past for comps and analysis. Making market conditions adjustments is very easy. I also use percent adjustments, which tend to be stable over time.

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