Last week the appraisal community was up in arms about a $55 “appraisal” product  that was an appraisal but no self-respecting appraiser could complete the report completely, be USPAP compliant and still make a meager living. The consensus is that it will attract shysters and promote short cuts. There is a rabid discussion forum on this topic  right now on LinkedIn if you are a member of the group.
So to recap: The (licensed) appraiser looks at a set of comps, from these comps logical adjustments are made, and the appraiser formulates a value opinion. Yes…I see…that sounds nothing like an appraisal.
aside: First American owns eAppraisIT, who’s slogan on their web site, incredibly,  is “Redefining Value.” For those who may have forgotten, NYS AG Andrew Cuomo filed suit against eAppraisIT back in 2007  for conspiring with Washington Mutual to inflate real estate appraisals.
First American claims “this is not an appraisal” to which the Appraisal Foundation  replies:
While it is not within our purview to determine whether any particular product or service complies with USPAP, we can tell you that, as far as USPAP is concerned, the product appears to qualify as an appraisal or an appraisal review assignment. The press release states, in part:
“While this is not an appraisal, a licensed appraiser confirms the specific set of values determined by a local RealtorÂ® by looking at comparable sales and verifying accuracy. If discrepancies are found, the appraiser provides a new set of values, complete with an explanation of how they were determined.”
If an appraiser is required to comply with USPAP (such as a licensed appraiser in a state that mandates such compliance), the above product would have to comply with STANDARDS 1 and 2, or STANDARD 3.
John S. Brenan
Director of Research and Technical Issues
The Appraisal Foundation