• Welcome to AppraisersForum.com, the premier online  community for the discussion of real estate appraisal. Register a free account to be able to post and unlock additional forums and features.

Signature Control -

Status
Not open for further replies.

23Degrees

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Since the end of the Alamode mailbox2000 era I have only emailed or downloaded reports that were locked pdf. The concept of having my report ripped up and put back together thru the well known intermediaries just seemed ill advised to me.

After re-reading the ASB 2007 Q&A section on the subject of signature control, and the definition of Signature in the Definitions Section the following seems to be the case:

The appraiser does not have to be the one to actually place the signature on the report prior to it reaching the client. The appraiser can give authorization for signature application.

However, the appraiser is in fact responsible for the signed report, in whatever format, that does initially reach the client if the authorization has been given.

http://www.appraisalfoundation.org/s_appraisal/bin.asp?CID=12&DID=1097&DOC=FILE.PDF

With regard to altering the report, per the ASB USPAP does not address ownership of the report and “clients” are often known to alter, redact etc. and the appraiser is not responsible for the report after it has been transmitted to the client. Just in case there is any confusion, by client I believe the ASB is not referring to intermediaries including AMC’s or conduits, but perhaps this needs clarification as I know that some AMC’s require that they be listed or co-listed as the client.

As stated above I have never utilized the conduits or software that are the focus of this issue. To those who do utilize these, is there any direct or implied authorization given by the appraiser for “remodel” or signature removal and re-application prior to transmission to the final client?

If so, then would not the following be true:

- Having given authorization either case by case or broadly, the appraiser is then fully responsible for the product transmitted to the client regardless of the extent of “remodel”.

On the contrary, if no authorization is given then would not any alteration fall under the category of fraud by the intermediary?

I am not trying to start a thread on whether or not altering takes place and if so if the alterations are malevolent or harmless. I would like to clarify responsibility along the chain of distribution.

There is some activity on this subject over on AppraisalScoop and it looks like another area that could be getting some serious review soon.

I am still wary of these conduits and altering software products as it just seems off in some way but I am not trying to pass judgment as for all I know appraisers who utilize these avenues give authorization with full confidence and the alterations, remodels, and signature re-attachments are harmless or even useful. Or not… but I’m just looking for clarification here.

Are there any other document types that undergo this alleged level of alteration, including signature removal and re-attachment prior to reaching an intended user or “client”? Legal documents, medical records, prescriptions, antiquity authentication? – anything? Or would we be alone in this practice? I’m not being sarcastic, I am seriously asking as I would consider signature removal and re-attachment a big deal with any other document I sign on a regular basis, authorized or not.
 

McPheeters

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Oregon
My red and blue:
Since the end of the Alamode mailbox2000 era I have only emailed or downloaded reports that were locked pdf. The concept of having my report ripped up and put back together thru the well known intermediaries just seemed ill advised to me.

After re-reading the ASB 2007 Q&A section on the subject of signature control, and the definition of Signature in the Definitions Section the following seems to be the case:

The appraiser does not have to be the one to actually place the signature on the report prior to it reaching the client. The appraiser can give authorization for signature application.

However, the appraiser is in fact responsible for the signed report, in whatever format, that does initially reach the client if the authorization has been given.

http://www.appraisalfoundation.org/s_appraisal/bin.asp?CID=12&DID=1097&DOC=FILE.PDF

With regard to altering the report, per the ASB USPAP does not address ownership of the report and “clients” are often known to alter, redact etc. and the appraiser is not responsible for the report after it has been transmitted to the client. Just in case there is any confusion, by client I believe the ASB is not referring to intermediaries including AMC’s or conduits, but perhaps this needs clarification as I know that some AMC’s require that they be listed or co-listed as the client. Landsafe/C-Wide is one of them

As stated above I have never utilized the conduits or software that are the focus of this issue. To those who do utilize these, is there any direct or implied authorization given by the appraiser for “remodel” or signature removal and re-application prior to transmission to the final client? I preface by stating that I have decided to not participate in any client's requirements to send reports through a system that alters my original content, removes my signature and otherwise renders the content/signature unsecure/out of my control. I consider that to be an unacceptable assignment condition. I can say that based on my current research of this topic that the conversion through Appraisalport using AI Ready XML does not specifically ask for or imply authorization to remove/re-apply the signature. The altering of content, while performed by the software, is agreed to by the appraiser through the OADI pre-viewer screen (which I am told may or may not be what is actually being sent), therefore no authorization is needed for that part of the process. Alamode's warns the appraiser of what is about to happen (sig removal), Appraisalport/AI Ready does not.

If so, then would not the following be true:

- Having given authorization either case by case or broadly, the appraiser is then fully responsible for the product transmitted to the client regardless of the extent of “remodel”. Yes

On the contrary, if no authorization is given then would not any alteration fall under the category of fraud by the intermediary? specifically directed towards the removal of the signature- yes

I am not trying to start a thread on whether or not altering takes place and if so if the alterations are malevolent or harmless. I would like to clarify responsibility along the chain of distribution. Ultimately we are responsible for the appraisal content and control of our signature at the point of delivery; after that, not so much. So if you agreed to any last second changes made by the sotware prior to transmission, you own those changes and if you knowingly agree to give up control of your signature, you own that responsibility as well.

There is some activity on this subject over on AppraisalScoop and it looks like another area that could be getting some serious review soon. I hope so, it needs immediate attention.

I am still wary of these conduits and altering software products as it just seems off in some way but I am not trying to pass judgment as for all I know appraisers who utilize these avenues give authorization with full confidence and the alterations, remodels, and signature re-attachments are harmless or even useful. Or not… but I’m just looking for clarification here. Again, you own the alterations and signature control element. Dont kid yourself, the signature removal aspect is not harmless or useful!. Ask yourself why FNC needs to remove the sig? Why do they need to alter the report? Why dont they just acccept the report in PDF format, then do whatever they want afterwards? Hmmmm

Are there any other document types that undergo this alleged level of alteration, including signature removal and re-attachment prior to reaching an intended user or “client”? Legal documents, medical records, prescriptions, antiquity authentication? – anything? Or would we be alone in this practice? I’m not being sarcastic, I am seriously asking as I would consider signature removal and re-attachment a big deal with any other document I sign on a regular basis, authorized or not.
And well you should! Our signature is the single most important thing we do to an appraisal. The report is useless without it.
 
Last edited:

Couch Potato

Elite Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
The laws and regulations here in NC are more strict than the rule in USPAP. Appraisers here must personally sign the report.
 

Marcia Langley

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Missouri
Client Altering the Report
Question:

When I transmit my residential form report electronically I have heard that some of my
clients are opening the appraisal file and removing my signature file, reformatting the
data, and in other ways altering my appraisal report for the client’s use. What are my
responsibilities under USPAP if I know or believe such actions are occurring after my
report is delivered to the client?

Response:

USPAP does not specifically address who “owns” an appraisal report, the research
necessary to produce that report or the report’s supporting documentation. Once an
appraisal report is delivered to a client, a client may do a variety of things, including
redacting or removing the appraiser’s signature, or converting data from the report into a
format more functional to the client, etc. Once the appraisal report has been transmitted
to the client, USPAP does not place further responsibility on the appraiser for the client’s
use of that report.

The literal phrasing in both the question and the answer of this ASB Q&A makes the appraiser responsible for the contents of the appraisal through to the end of the transmittal stream.​

I don't use an actual portal myself, and my comments are meant hypothetically. My comments also assume we are talking about a conversion transmittal system.​

So the question becomes, at which precise point is the appraisal altered? The transmittal stream begins with the upload to the conversion system. That upload is the last thing the appraiser does with his own hands. The upload triggers the transmission stream to begin.​

The transmission stream ends when that stream reaches it's destination. If alterations occur during that transmission stream, a literal interpretation of the Q&A would be that the appraiser is held accountable for it up until it reaches its destination. Taken literally, that would mean that it would be irrelevent whether the appraiser documented agreement with the conversion, or not. Taken literally, the appraiser is responsible for it up until it is delivered to the client (reaches destination) and up until it has been transmitted to the client (reaches destination).

OK, so what did the ASB actually mean? Is their phrase, "once it has been transmitted to the client" meant to mean "the act of uploading it into a conversion system" or "reaches the clients destination"?

It has to mean one or the other. If it means the act of uploading, then the appraiser would no longer be responsible for ANY of the contents of the appraisal. If it means at the point of its destination, it means the appraiser is responsible for the converted version of the appraisal.

In the point of upload case, it wouldn't matter whether the appraiser documented knowledge and agreement with the conversion because his responsibility/liability for the entire appraisal would stop at the point of upload.

In the point of destination case, whether the appraiser acknowledged and agreed to the conversion, or not would be equally irrelevant because the appraiser would be held responsible for being competent and diligent in choosing the appropriate transmission system. He would always be held responsible for the converted version of the report whether he knew about it or understood it or not.

So which is it? I think the ASB gets to decide. If they refuse to address it and continue to let the above indecisive Q&A be their final word on it, then I guess the states get to decide.​

 

PropertyEconomics

Elite Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2007
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Mexico
The literal phrasing in both the question and the answer of this ASB Q&A makes the appraiser responsible for the contents of the appraisal through to the end of the transmittal stream.

I don't use an actual portal myself, and my comments are meant hypothetically. My comments also assume we are talking about a conversion transmittal system.

So the question becomes, at which precise point is the appraisal altered? The transmittal stream begins with the upload to the conversion system. That upload is the last thing the appraiser does with his own hands. The upload triggers the transmission stream to begin.

The transmission stream ends when that stream reaches it's destination. If alterations occur during that transmission stream, a literal interpretation of the Q&A would be that the appraiser is held accountable for it up until it reaches its destination. Taken literally, that would mean that it would be irrelevent whether the appraiser documented agreement with the conversion, or not. Taken literally, the appraiser is responsible for it up until it is delivered to the client (reaches destination) and up until it has been transmitted to the client (reaches destination).

OK, so what did the ASB actually mean? Is their phrase, "once it has been transmitted to the client" meant to mean "the act of uploading it into a conversion system" or "reaches the clients destination"?

It has to mean one or the other. If it means the act of uploading, then the appraiser would no longer be responsible for ANY of the contents of the appraisal. If it means at the point of its destination, it means the appraiser is responsible for the converted version of the appraisal.

In the point of upload case, it wouldn't matter whether the appraiser documented knowledge and agreement with the conversion because his responsibility/liability for the entire appraisal would stop at the point of upload.

In the point of destination case, whether the appraiser acknowledged and agreed to the conversion, or not would be equally irrelevant because the appraiser would be held responsible for being competent and diligent in choosing the appropriate transmission system. He would always be held responsible for the converted version of the report whether he knew about it or understood it or not.

So which is it? I think the ASB gets to decide. If they refuse to address it and continue to let the above indecisive Q&A be their final word on it, then I guess the states get to decide.


Plausable deniability ... never answer ... and there are never any know consequences .. only those that are determined on a case by case basis.
Dont expect the ASB to be more clear on this issue ... when opaque was the intent.
 

DWiley

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Tennessee
OK, so what did the ASB actually mean?

I think they meant what they said - you are responsible for what you transmit. Period. If I sent a paper report via FedEx and it was intercepted and altered before it got to my client, I would not be responsible for the alteration. The same is true for electronic files.

One of the basic problems is that many (most?) appraisers who have been using AIReady were/are completely unaware that

(1) the conversion occurs on the appraiser's computer, not during transmission, and;

(2) the appraiser can preview the report (exactly as the client will see it) prior to transmission.
Because they are unaware they have been sending reports without previewing them. Is that the fault of the software vendor or the appraiser?

Sure, sometimes AIReady conversion does some odd things to reports. So does Adobe from time to time. Why is there not the same uproar over the fact that sometimes a PDF file comes out all scrambled (or otherwise altered)?

The OP asked about others who might have similar problems. Most who send electronic documents don't have to worry about similar problems because they use true digital signatures, not the pathetic "password-protected" graphics files used on appraisal reports.

DW
 

athome77

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2008
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
Could you please repeat the question? Thanks
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Florida
I want this in front of FEDERAL JUDGES for answers.

I'm thinking some AMC or 'portal' companies attornies wrote that September 2007 USPAP Q&A. I KNOW that First American eAppraiseIT tried pounding on me in deposition about it.

Again, I just want this whole issue in the hands of Judges and the Courts. The 'opinions' of TAF and others have no power. I consider the unlocking of a locked .pdf or any other secured electronic document without the express permission of the author 'breaking and entering'; the moment they make ANY change whatsoever I believe that becomes fraud; as soon as they place a digital signature that is not their very own on it, I believe that is forgery. These are felonies and I want those that have been involved in this to be indicted, prosecuted, and once found guilty, put in prison with their assets confiscated.
 

Workbox

Elite Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2005
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Yes, we are responsible for what we sent, but we did not create the AIready software that "sometimes.........does odd things to reports". Gee, it is so convenient to shift the responsibility to the unaware appraiser just to protect the Brothelhood of the Scarlet Letters.
 

Workbox

Elite Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2005
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Why is there not the same uproar over the fact that sometimes a PDF file comes out all scrambled (or otherwise altered)?
So please do tell how they come out scrambled on the other end? of all the software vendors, who do you think is most responsible for the altered PDF's? or what appraisal software company is the most involved in the altering of the PDF's? or is this just a diversion?

not the pathetic "password-protected" graphics files used on appraisal reports. DW
Wow, such emotion.
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Find a Real Estate Appraiser - Enter Zip Code

Copyright © 2000-, AppraisersForum.com, All Rights Reserved
AppraisersForum.com is proudly hosted by the folks at
AppraiserSites.com
Top

AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock
No Thanks