Is My Home Appraisal Confidential?

Home Appraisal Confidentiality

“Is My Home Appraisal Confidential?” This is a fairly common question I get asked that I have not touched on in a while. In this post, I’d like to share a little bit about who has access to information in the appraisal and who actually gets the report.

Is My Home Appraisal Confidential

First off I would like to share a little about The Confidentiality Section of the Ethics Rule of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). This document (USPAP) contains standards for the appraisal profession.

The purpose of USPAP is to promote and maintain public trust by providing standards for appraisers to follow. The Confidentiality Section of USPAP states that the appraiser must not disclose confidential information or assignment results to anyone other than the client and persons specifically authorized by the client; state enforcement agencies and such third parties as may be authorized by due process of law; and duly authorized professional peer review committees.

To simplify what this means I’ve included some answers to commonly asked questions regarding who gets the appraisal and who has access to the information in the report.

FAQ’s About Home Appraisal Confidentiality

Is an appraisal public record?

A home appraisal IS NOT part of public records. A private appraisal done for a bank or individual should not be confused with the county tax assessment which IS available to view.

Real estate appraisals are commonly done for individual homeowners or lenders. The appraiser’s client will be determined by who ordered the appraisal.

If a bank orders an appraisal for a refinance or purchase of a home they are considered the appraiser’s client even though the owner or buyer paid for the report. In this case, the appraiser can only provide a copy of the appraisal report to the bank or lender, however, the lender can then share the report with whomever they want.

If an appraisal is performed for an individual rather than a bank then that person is the client of the appraiser. In this case, the appraiser then provides the report directly to them and again they can give it to whomever they want. In both cases, the appraiser is not permitted to give the appraisal to anyone but their client, therefore, it is not part of public records.

Who sees the home appraisal?

As noted above, the only individuals who see the appraisal report are the appraiser and their client. If the appraisal was done for the bank it is the bank entity, including the loan officer and any assignees and if it was done for a homeowner it would be them.

Do I have the right to receive a copy of my home appraisal?

If you have engaged the services of the appraiser directly for a private appraisal assignment then the appraiser will provide you with a copy of the report.

If you are working with a bank and are getting an appraisal as part of a refinance or the purchase of a home the lender is required by law to provide a copy of the appraisal report but it has to come from them.

When Does The Buyer Get The Appraisal Report?

The buyer will get a copy of the appraisal report as soon as it is completed or within 3 days prior to the loan closing. This is required by law so if you do not get a copy you will need to remind the lender of this.

Can The Seller See The Appraisal?

The seller will not receive a copy of the appraisal report unless they are given one by the lender or the buyer, however, this does not typically happen.

Can home appraisers see previous appraisals?

Because of the confidential nature of the appraisal process, no one other than the appraiser and the client gets to see the appraisal. This means that unless the appraiser previously performed the appraisal they will not be able to see prior appraisal reports that were completed by another appraiser.

I have been asked before if there is an appraisal database where appraisers can view copies of various other appraisal reports. There is no such database due to the confidentiality section of USPAP.

There are information databases that can collect factual data about a property, however, this does not include the actual report. These types of databases typically include information about square footage, bedroom and bath count, and physical features of the home.

The Birmingham, Alabama area has the Appraiser Group Data Association (AGDA) which provides this type of information to appraisers on a subscription basis. This information helps the appraiser produce a more credible and accurate appraisal report.

Can The Appraiser Give Me A Copy Of The Appraisal?

If you ordered an appraisal directly through the appraiser then you are the client and the appraiser can give you a copy of the report. If you are working through a bank then they are the appraiser’s client and the appraiser is not permitted to give you a copy unless they get permission from the bank. The bank usually provides a copy to the borrower.

Questions?

I hope this helps you understand the confidential nature of a real estate appraisal report. If you have any questions leave a comment below and as always, thanks for reading.

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Comments

  1. Larry Fenimore says

    Tom you did not satisfy my question in full. It IS a difficult question and that is why I am asking you. My question is being asked for that very reason, because the executor of the will who is a sibling also, is NOT sharing the appraisal with the sibling heirs. Is the client required BY LAW to share the appraisal with the other heirs?

    • Larry, I am not a lawyer so I do not know if they are required by law to share the appraisal with the other heirs. The only thing I can tell you is what is expected of the appraiser. The appraiser is not permitted to give a copy of the appraisal to the heirs or discuss it with them unless they are listed as the client or authorized by the client to receive information.

  2. I get that question all the time also about whether there is a database. Nope. Well said, Tom.

  3. Tom, thanks for making a topic that simply is not clear, much clearer! My Best!

  4. Is the appraiser permitted to give a copy of the appraisal to an heir such a sibling even though the appraisal was ordered by the executor of the estate? Meaning, Is the heir sibling considered part of the estates entity and entitled by law to have a copy of the appraisal.

    • Only if they are named as an additional client in the beginning. Sometimes you see something like “The Estate of John Smith and its assignees”. I have never seen this, however. What typically happens is that the executor will provide copies to the family members for whom they are doing the estate work for. The client can give a copy to whoever they want.

  5. kathleen Morris says

    Thanks so much Tom for this information. You answered a lot of my questions. Very helpful!

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