What is USPAP?
USPAP stands for the "Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice" which is the official guidance document published by the Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) of The Appraisal Foundation (TAF). USPAP states "The Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) of The Appraisal Foundation develops, interprets, and amends the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) on behalf of appraisers and users of appraisal services." USPAP was adopted by the United States Congress in 1989 and defines a set of recommended procedures and ethical standards for appraisers. The document is revised and reissued every two years. The current edition is for 2018-2019.
The Appraisal Foundation (TAF) is an independent non-profit foundation authorized by the United States Congress to set "the Congressionally-authorized standards and qualifications for real estate appraisers, and provides voluntary guidance on recognized valuation methods and techniques for all valuation professionals. This work advances the profession by ensuring that appraisals are independent, consistent, and objective." Additional information about TAF can be viewed in their factsheet available here or on their website available here. USPAP is pronounced "Yoose Paap" and is frequently referred to by just the acronym in the appraisal community.
USPAP is also a written examination based on the material in the guidance document that appraisers must take and pass in order to state that they are current with USPAP. After they have passed the test, appraisers must then take a 7 hour update course every two years highlighting the changes in the latest edition. I have taken and passed USPAP and following my latest 7 hour update course am current through August 30, 2020.
USPAP compliance is required for real estate appraisers but is only voluntary for personal property appraisers (to clarify, personal property appraisers evaluate items such as antiques and fine art, where real estate appraisers evaluate the house itself). Individuals seeking an appraisal of their personal property should look for an appraiser who is USPAP-compliant. While voluntary, USPAP compliance is a mark of professionalism and ethical standards. It is also required for entry in many of the professional appraisal organizations such as the International Society of Appraisers (ISA) and the Appraisers Association of America (AAA). The TAF has created a useful informational pamphlet for individuals seeking to hire a personal property appraiser for appraisals of fine and decorative art that can be viewed here.
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