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[Commercial Grade] Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB): Take 2

Commercial Grade is a weekly post by John Cicero, MAI who provides commentary on issues affecting real estate appraisers, with specific focus on commercial valuation. Today John talks about going back to the drawing board and re-thinking the AQB.

Disclosure: John is a partner of mine in our commercial real estate valuation concern Miller Cicero, LLC [1] and he is, on Thursdays, one of the smartest guys I know. …Jonathan Miller

When Congress created the Appraisal Foundation [2] in 1987 in response to the S & L debacle, it seemed like a logical response and perhaps even a major step forward to validating our profession. However, the state licensing system that the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) put into place is, in my opinion, a dismal failure.

I maintain general certification in two states, New York and New Jersey, in addition to my membership in the Appraisal Institute [3] as an MAI. Each state and the Appraisal Institute (AI), however, maintains its own continuing education requirementsdifferent cycles, different number of credit hours and often times different courses accepted for credit. So, if I sit through a seminar given by the AI, New York State may not accept it. Similarly, a course accepted for credit by New York State may not be accepted by New Jersey.

The need to satisfy these various continuing education requirements presents an additional burden on the appraiser, in terms of both time and expense. Not that I have anything against education – my wife is a full-time teacher, and I teach appraisal courses at New York University), but I think the continuing education system for appraisers is highly inefficient and unnecessarily burdensome.

While my appraisal practice is local, national appraisal firms that have assignments all over the country are the ones hit the hardest.

Speaking from experience, most clients want their appraisals within four weeks, and often insist on two or three. If an appraiser is going to another state for that assignment, he/she either needs to maintain on-going certification there or apply for a temporary permit. The temporary permit application process, however, can often take up to 6 to 8 weeks (depending on the state)and it hardly makes sense to maintain certification in all states.

State certification is here to stay, but I would love to see the AQB go back to the drawing board and come up with one uniform set of continuing education requirements to apply to all 50 states, with all states accepting the same courses, and a mechanism to issue a temporary practice permit within one week. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

[webmaster’s note: the current licensing laws have actually reduced the quality of appraisers, so a changing in course requirements are unlikely to be a detriment to appraisal education.]