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Code of Ethics Case Studies

Case #11-3: Identification of Contributor to Appraisal

REALTOR® A, who had made a number of residential and farm appraisals for Client B, a bank, was asked to appraise the real property of a corporation that operated two extensive industrial parks. REALTOR® A made his appraisal of open land belonging to the corporation for future development. With respect to specialized industrial structures included in the assignment, he engaged the XYZ firm of industrial engineers to make a study of obsolescence and of current reproduction costs leading to conclusions. The report on this study was incorporated into REALTOR® A's appraisal report to Client B, without identifying the XYZ firm as a contributor to the report.

Sometime after the submission of the report, Engineer C, a member of the XYZ firm, was invited to speak on an appraisal panel arranged by the local Board of REALTORS®. During his talk he used as an illustration some of the industrial properties that had figured in REALTOR® A's appraisal report. Following the program, in informal conversation with Engineer C, REALTOR® B learned of REALTOR® A's action in incorporating the engineering firm's conclusions into his own appraisal without identification of the firm and its contributions to the assignment. REALTOR® B then filed a complaint against REALTOR® A alleging violation of Article 11 of the Code of Ethics. After examining the facts as set out above, the complaint was referred by the Grievance Committee for hearing before a panel of the Board's Professional Standards Committee.

At the hearing, REALTOR® A took the position that he had not violated Article 11 because the essence of the appraisal assignment had been to exercise his judgment as an appraiser, and that he had not engaged any other person to exercise judgment in connection with the assignment. He had simply employed the XYZ engineering firm, he said, to make certain conclusions as to the extent of obsolescence in properties and as to the current cost of reproducing them. Conceding that he had incorporated the XYZ firm's report into his own appraisal report, REALTOR® A contended that this material was only incidental, and that the essential appraisal function of arriving at a valuation was entirely his own work. He stated further that he had paid the XYZ firm for its services and felt that relieved him of any obligation to identify the firm in his appraisal report.

During the hearing it was established that REALTOR® A had no previous experience in appraisal of industrial property, and that he had not disclosed this to Client B at the time he accepted the assignment.

What do you think the hearing panel concluded? Show Answer

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