Can I take a report an appraiser prepared for me to more than one lender?

Probably NOT. Licensed real estate appraisers are bound by what’s known as the Uniform Standards of Professional Practice (USPAP). Within these standards are ethics rules we must abide by. One of the ethics rules deals with CONFIDENTIALITY.

The confidentiality rule states that appraisers are to provide their analysis to NO ONE except their client and a few specified other situations. So, who is the appraisers’ client? Their client is the individual or lending institution who ordered the appraisal regardless of who pays for it.

Example: ABC lending orders an appraisal on your property with the intention of providing you a loan. At initial contact with ABC you pay them a processing fee that includes the appraisal and credit report. Even though you, the homeowner, paid for the appraisal, that appraisal still belongs to ABC lending. Let’s say that because the loan didn’t go through with ABC lending, you now decide to go over to XYZ lending and re-apply for another loan. The only way the original appraisal can now go over to XYZ lending is if ABC lending assigns their interests in their appraisal report to XYZ. The only other option, is to pay for another appraisal. An analogy would be if you sold your car to Party A, you couldn’t then sell it to Party B, as it is no longer yours to sell. Client A could assign their interests in their appraisal report to Client B, but the appraiser would not be part of this process (and should not be asked to be).

These are not the appraisers’ rules, they are USPAP rules intended to protect misuse of the appraisal process and look out for the property owner.

Basically, this all means that you need to be very careful in deciding which lending institution you want to use. Make sure you are not only happy with the interest rate, but that you have a clear understanding of all fees required to close the loan, and are comfortable with the institutions reputation in the market place.

Image credit flickr - Dean Hochman