Understanding the 2022-2023 7-Hour USPAP Course

Understanding the 2022-2023 7-Hour USPAP Course

Tuesday, January 25, 2022 in Education

The new 2022-2023 7-Hour Uniform Standard of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) course is a bit different this year. Normally, the course reflects changes in the current edition of USPAP. But since the 2020-2021 edition of USPAP has been extended to 2022, the current course gives instructors the opportunity to present some broad topics that impact the credibility of the appraisal profession, while helping appraisers understand how they can use the various resources in the USPAP edition – like advisory opinions, the frequently asked questions, and the index – to identify and solve appraisal problems.

Most people’s experience with an appraiser happens when they buy or sell a house, and a credible appraisal can make or break the sale. A component of the new 7-Hour USPAP course is a discussion on bias as it relates to the real estate profession. Understanding an issue that impacts the largest group appraisers covered by USPAP – real property appraisers – helps a personal property appraiser understand how our profession is perceived by the public generally, and how bias in any form can erode public trust.

Several of my appraisal friends sent me a December 6, 2021, Washington Post carrying the title, “A Black couple says an appraiser lowballed them. So, they ‘whitewashed’ their home and say the value shot up.” A similar story is shared in the 2022-2023 7-Hour USPAP course where a couple – who made improvements on their home – received an appraisal for their real property that did not reflect market conditions nor the improvements. The subjects of the articles ultimately “’’ whitewashed’ their house by removing their family photos and stripping the walls of their African-themed art,” and a new appraiser provided a higher valuation.

Situations where an appraiser acts with bias erode the public trust in the appraisal profession and can have legal consequences. A goal of the new 7-Hour USPAP course is to help students understand that while the public might view the appraisal process as subjective, the definition of appraiser under USPAP is “one who is expected to perform valuation services competently and in a manner that is independent, impartial and objective.”

To start, students will need three references for the course:

  • The current edition of USPAP (which you probably already have from the 2020-2021 7-Hour update course).
  • The current edition of the USPAP Reference Manual which is available from The Appraisal Foundation. From The Appraisal Foundation, “The USPAP Reference Manual is an innovative new publication from The Appraisal Foundation. It is designed to help you quickly find answers to the USPAP questions you encounter in your daily appraisal practice. The Reference Manual can direct you right to the relevant passages of USPAP without having to scan through the entire document, and, if you have a special linked edition can even take you straight to the passage in USPAP without having to flip back and forth between publications.” It is organized into three sections: Guide to USPAP-Related Topics, Advisory Opinions Organized by Appraisal Discipline, and FAQ History: Identifying Numbers and Titles.
  • The Student Manual for the course (this is included in your ISA course fee and will be emailed to you before the class as part of your registration).

Of course, the question that comes up is: Why is there a new 7-Hour USPAP Course when there isn’t a new edition of USPAP to explore? According to the Real Property Appraiser Qualifications Criteria, which are extended to personal property appraisers who comply with USPAP as part of their appraisal practice, appraisers must complete a USPAP update course every two years. The Appraisal Foundation explains on the 7-Hour course, “This course provides a refresher on important tenets of the profession and offers practical applications for an appraiser’s appraisal practice. Regardless of the USPAP cycle, a new 7-hour continuing education course will be released every two years.”

For those new to the appraisal profession – or those who let their 7-Hour USPAP updates lapse – the 15-Hour USPAP course has been revised to stay current with the latest edition of USPAP but is essentially the same as in the previous cycle. While the 7-Hour course is an “update” for existing appraisers, the 15-Hour course is qualifying education course required by those wanting to become appraisers. This course focuses on the requirements for ethical behavior and competent performance by appraisers that are set forth in USPAP.

ISA held the first of the new 7-Hour 2022-2023 USPAP courses on December 7 and 8, 2021, and saw candid, thought-provoking discussions on how bias might impact personal property appraisers, and how bias in real property could affect the credibility of all appraisers. The second day of the new 7-Hour course utilizes involves breakout rooms on the Zoom platform where students discuss appraisal-related topics in small groups, while networking and sharing their experiences.  I’d like to thank those students for participating in the inaugural offering of that class and welcome other appraisers to explore the ISA’s 7-Hour and 15-Hour USPAP courses in 2022.

By Steve Roach, JD, ISA CAPP