Federal law requires appraisers to have a state license or certification when working on federally related transactions, such as appraisals for loans made by federally insured banks and financial institutions. The Appraisal Foundation (TAF) offers information on appraisal licensing. There is no such federal requirement for assessors, although some states require certification. For state-specific requirements, applicants should contact their state board.
The Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) demanded all the states to develop systems for licensing and certifying real estate appraisers. To accomplish this, the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) was formed within the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), with representatives from the various Federal mortgage regulatory agencies. Thus, currently all the real estate appraisers must be state-licensed and certified. But prior to the 1990s, there were no commonly accepted standards either for appraisal quality or for appraiser licensure. In the 1980s, an ad-hoc committee representing various appraisal professional organizations in the United States and Canada met to codify the best practices into what became known as the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). The U.S. Savings and Loan Crisis resulted in increased federal regulation via the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989, which required federal lending regulators to adopt appraisal standards. A nonprofit organization, The Appraisal Foundation (TAF), was formed by the same organizations that had developed USPAP, and the copyright for USPAP was signed over to TAF. Federal oversight of TAF is provided by the Appraisal Subcommittee, made up of representatives of various federal lending regulators. TAF carries out its work through two boards: the Appraisal Standards Board promulgates and updates USPAP; the Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB) promulgates minimum recommended standards for appraiser certification and licensure. During the 1990s, all of the states adopted USPAP as the governing standards within their states and developed licensure standards which met or exceeded the recommendations of TAF. Also, the various state and federal courts have adopted USPAP for real estate litigation and all of the federally lending regulators adopt USPAP for mortgage finance appraisal.
In Germany, real estate appraisal is known as real estate valuation (Immobilienbewertung). Real estate appraisers (Immobilienbewerter or Gutachter) can qualify to become a Öffentlich bestellter und vereidigter Sachverständiger (officially appointed and sworn expert). However, this formerly very important title has lost a lot of its importance over the past years, but still is of some value in court procedures. The title is not generally required for appraisals.
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