The appraiser’s canon of ethics is called the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice or USPAP for short. While it sets down some reasonable and common sense rules, it also contains some rules that seem to me, well, crazy.

For example, the definition of an appraisal is, “an opinion of value”.

So, according wildly broad standard, if at a Christmas party a neighbor asks me what I think his house is worth and I answer, “well the house around the corner sold for $830,000 and yours is better located and is in better shape, so I think at least $900,000.”

[Side note: At this the neighbor usually grimaces and walks away in a huff, convinced his palace is worth, “at least $1,300,000”. But no matter, I am used to not meeting people’s unstated and always unsupported expectations. But I digress.]

USPAP insists that I should run, not walk, to my office, create a file (despite the fact that I have no idea how to work the label maker), write a detailed file memo regarding my grossly negligent actions and include a standard Certification swearing that I am impartial, competent and sane.

The State of Pennsylvania at one time (and maybe still) defines appraisal something like this: “an opinion of value in anticipation of compensation”. As a guy with two girls going to college, I like this definition at whole lot more!