The Appraisal Foundation is a nonprofit organization in the United States that sets the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), the guidelines followed by appraisers all over the United States. People who wish to become appraisers must receive training and meet the qualifications standards set by the Appraisal Foundation. This organization is in place to set standards, practice, and qualifications for appraisers working in the United States.
Several professional associations of appraisers joined together to form the Appraisal Foundation and establish its 26-member board in 1987. The organization was founded in response to the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s. Among many other problems observed during this financial meltdown, appraisers noted that improperly appraised real estate and other property played a role in the downfall of some savings and loans organizations in the United States. Setting professional standards would prevent recurrence of such an event, and would restore the reputation of the appraisal community.
The Appraisal Foundation has two independent boards, the Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) and Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB). These boards are overseen by high profile members of the community with years of experience. The ASB works on developing updates to the USPAP to ensure that appraisers operate consistently, fairly, ethically, and professionally, whether they are valuing office buildings or jewelry collections. The AQB sets qualifications for appraisers so that people who become licensed appraisers will meet a basic standard of training and experience. This ensures that people who hire licensed appraisers will be hiring professionally competent and qualified people.
In 1989, the Financial Institutions Recovery, Reform, and Enforcement Act made the USPAP the national standard for people who wished to be certified as appraisers under Title XI. The Appraisal Foundation is tasked with keeping standards up to date so the profession remains effective. It also communicates with people and organizations that may have a need for an appraiser, ranging from banks to real estate offices.
People cannot join the Appraisal Foundation, as it is not a professional organization, although they can join the individual member organizations that belong to the Appraisal Foundation. When board openings become available, they are advertised to give people an opportunity to apply for them.
The related Appraisal Subcommittee is a government agency that oversees the individual offices that regulate and license appraisers state by state. The government agency utilizes the USPAP to determine and enforce standards and monitors the activities of regulating agencies in individual states to ensure that they conform with the law.