The appraisal report is owned by the party that orders it – which is not necessarily the party who pays it. Appraisers are required to treat the party that ordered the appraisal as “the client”, even if someone else pays the fee. When a report is finished, it will be delivered (via email) to the party that ordered it. The Confidentiality Section of the Ethics Rule of USPAP and the Appraisal Institute Code of Professional Ethics provide that an appraiser must not disclose confidential information or assignment results to anyone other than the client and persons specifically authorized by the client. Here are a couple examples:
- In a Loan situation. It is the lender who orders the appraisal in all mortgage situations. In such cases, the lender controls the final report, no matter that the borrower ultimately pays for it. The final report is delivered to the lender – usually uploaded to a secure portal. It is up to the lender to inform the buyer (or the seller) what the home is appraised for. In most states, Lenders must share the appraisal report with the borrower, by law. Lenders jump through several hoops to make sure the appraisal order is placed and paid for according to strict compliance rules; their process is a very important part of creating a valid loan package. Once the borrower receives the appraisal report from the lender, they can share it with their agent, the seller, or whomever they please.
- In a Divorce situation. If one party orders the appraisal, that party is in control of who has access to the final report. It is common for both parties in a divorce to split the cost of an appraisal, but it is up to the party who orders the appraisal to share the resulting report. If the attorney for one spouse orders the appraisal, the final report will be delivered to the attorney, but usually it is one spouse who orders and receives the appraisal report. It is up to the recipient to share the report, as they choose. It should be noted that appraisal reports do not favor one side or the other, regardless of who orders or who pays.
There is nothing in an appraisal report that is considered “secret”. Appraisal is data-driven; the better the data, the better the report. Aloft Appraisal addresses up to 30 different value points for each appraisal; our appraisers can validate every single number on the report and back it up with quality data.
In general, consumers can feel comfortable that the appraisal process is transparent, and the resulting information is accessible (interesting side note: appraisers do not share valuation information with county authorities). It’s true, the party that orders the appraisal controls who has access to the final report, but in all but extremely rare cases, the final report is shared freely amongst private parties or between lender and borrower.