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Workfile

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Kali the Boston Terrier

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2003
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Michigan
Based on our peer review group, we learned that everyone has a very different idea of what should be in a workfile. So I throw this question to our State board member(s) on this forum. When you have someone who is defending their appraisal, and you ask for their workfile, what should be in there?

I know that every property is different, and some files may have more in it then a basic single family home. But what should be in every file no matter what?

I'd like everyone else's opinion too, but the finidngs of our peer group was...what does the State think?
 

Charley Horse

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Michigan
Not necessarily by definition what “HAS” to be in a work file… but what I keep in my files for “peace of mind”.

• File Folder
• Hard copy of fax/email order (letter of engagement); usually, this copy has multiple preliminary notes having to do w/assignment.
• Hard copy of inspection (viewing/data gathering) sheet w/sketch on back.
• Any hard copy exhibits/explanations provided to appraiser (ie: purchase agreements, surveys, condo budgets, etc) not scanned/snagged in Report Exhibit Addendum.
• Hard copy of any emails rec’d from County officials/Realtors, etc. not scanned/snagged in Report Exhibit Addendum.
• Any analysis I do that is relevant having to do w/site values, market conditions, etc (done on Excel/MLS CMA) is snagged and put in Report Exhibit Addendum/Exhibit Addendum is usually 3 – 4 pages.
• Electronic copies of ALL photos taken (avg per residential assignment 25+) which includes photos of subject elements & comps… annually purged and stored on CDs.
• Electronic copy of Report itself stored on computer/external HD… annually purged and stored on CDs.

I’m exploring using off-site storage for electronic files (reports/photos) if affordable… if the data, notes, or exhibits are already in my report, I don’t keep hard copies… too much redundancy... too much paper; typically (for a residential report) hard copy file contains 6 – 10 pages… reports generally consist of 19 – 23 pages. I purchased those plastic file crates w/hanging folders to store hard copy files.

That's it... that's enough IMO!
 
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john snyder

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Michigan
New AI seminar "Spotlight on USPAP: Workfiles—Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why? "

This is a new 1 hour seminar from AI. I do not see a course schedule for it as of yet and do not see it online. Will let you know or just go to AI website.

One item that is required is a signed report. Might sound kinda picky but without a signature is it the same appraisal that you submitted to the client? A

Also it may make it easier for us to check signature fraud which seems to be ramping up some.

Regards,

John Snyder
Board Member
 

john snyder

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Michigan
Wow what a coincidence as the following was posted in another thread (Ray Millers plight with Wisconsin).


An appraiser must prepare a workfile for each appraisal, appraisal review, or appraisal consulting assignment. The Record Keeping section of the ETHICS RULE states:

The workfile must include:

the name of the client and the identity, by name or type, of any other intended users;

true copies of any written reports, documented on any type of media;

summaries of any oral reports or testimony, or a transcript of testimony, including the appraiser’s signed and dated certification; and

all other data, information, and documentation necessary to support the appraiser’s opinions and conclusions and to show compliance with this Rule and all other applicable Standards, or references to the location(s) of such other documentation.

The appraiser’s assignment workfile serves several purposes. As in many other professions, the discipline of enforcement by public agencies and peer review, together with one’s self-discipline and dedication of effort, serves to ensure performance of assignments in compliance with professional standards. In addition to facilitating enforcement, a workfile aids the appraiser in handling questions from the client or an intended user subsequent to the date of the report.

An appraiser’s assignment workfile preserves evidence of the appraiser’s compliance with USPAP and other information as may be required to support the appraiser’s opinions, conclusions, and, in the case of an appraisal consulting assignment, recommendations.


John Snyder
 

Michigan CG

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Nov 1, 2006
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Michigan
First of all, I very much appreciate board members replying to this discussion.

There were about 12-14 of us at this meeting, some people being very new to the profession. We had very good discussions and the work file was one of them.

I was "brought up" with the paper file system, and never to throw away anything, including sticky-notes.

When you say a signed copy of the appraisal, is it ok for the signed copy to be stored digitally? In my old office in Iowa we had 20 file cabinets plus multiple "bank boxes" with all of our scribbles, notes, print-outs, etc. in our work file.

--------------------------------------------

That all said, the four people in my car that came from Monroe County found the meeting a good way to interact with peers, learn from one-another and find ways to improve ourselves.

We, in a consensus discussion, are looking forward to another meeting of this kind. It can only be good for us, our clients and in a small, minuscule way, for the profession at the local level.

I hope that the folks who intended on being there and were not able to make it will be there for the next one.
 

john snyder

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Michigan
Hello Tim,

"true copies of any written reports, documented on any type of media;" to me means digital storage is fine. If MI request a copy then print one up and send it.

We have our board meeting on June 17 a Tuesday in Okemos.

John Snyder
 

MARKETVALUENOW

Sophomore Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2007
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Michigan
Any chance of getting a board member at the next meeting, John?

It could only help everyone involved!!!!!!!!!
 

David Molenaar

Sophomore Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Michigan
If you can let us know when & where the next meeting is, I will be happy to e-mail it to the board members.
 

Wesley Smock

Freshman Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Michigan
A part of this I would like to see nailed down better is how long to keep that file. At a MI law update class I took earlier this year, they were saying that five years is the minimum a file should be kept. And that never throwing away a work file is a much better idea. That was not including the two years after litigation requirement. So how long do we really need to keep old files?
 

Kali the Boston Terrier

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2003
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Michigan
There is no statute of limitations as far as I know in regards to appraisals, or the liability of the appraiser. So even though you do not have to keep it longer than 7 years (litigation of course) it would seem no statute of limitations...I would rather have my workfile open to me well after the 7 years when I am being sued, then not.
 
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