Appraisal Institute review designation program took effect Jan. 1, 2014. The first new Appraisal Institute designations in more than 20 years are: AI-GRS and AI-RRS.

Appraisal Institute established a professional appraisal review designations program in response to the growing and critically important role that appraisal review plays in risk management and mitigation for many clients/users of appraisal services. The new designation program is aimed at providing professional reviewers with the knowledge and skills needed to satisfy issues related to due diligence and risk management often requested by their employers and clients.

Source: “Appraisal Institute”


Desk Review

  • The desk review typically requires less time and effort because it is performed in the office and does not require a trip to the property. The desk review does not require the reviewer to look for other comparables but assumes the original appraiser used the best comps that were available.
  • The main focus of the desk review is with the technical aspects of the report. By technical I mean how the appraisal is put together and that it meets Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) guidelines. In addition, it looks at the logic and reasoning within the report that the appraiser used to arrive at their final opinion of value.
  • One small example of what an appraiser performing a desk review might look at is how an adjustment was applied. For example, if a comparable was larger than the subject was the direction of the adjustment correct. We’re all human and sometimes appraisers make mistakes by adding when they should have subtracted, which can have a material effect on the final opinion of value.
  • An appraiser’s job within the report is to describe or tell a story of value in such a way that the reader will understand the reasoning that was used. A review will look to see if they described in sufficient detail how the value was arrived at and if the evidence (sales comparables) support that.
  • The desk review’s main purpose is to make sure the appraisal was performed per USPAP guidelines. If the review appraiser discovers that the report was deficient in this respect the lender can use the results to question the accuracy of the value arrived at in the original report and as a “grading” tool for the appraiser’s performance.

Field Review

  • A field review is a more in-depth analysis of an appraisal compared to the desk review. As I noted previously, the desk review is done to check if the appraisal was technically sound and the field review is done to see if the final value is supported and if not then to provide another opinion of value.
  • A field review requires the reviewer to visit the subject and comparable properties. The review appraiser does not have to go inside the subject property but only has to view it from the road.
  • The reviewer will research the sales used in the report to see if they were the best sales available, and if there are better ones then they should be included. If the reviewer does not agree with the appraised value, then they are required to offer their own opinion with support for it.
  • Review Appraisers also have a designation thru the Appraisal Institute with AI-RRS and AI-GRS designations.  In order to obtain any of these designations an appraiser is put thru a stringent education process and rigorous regulation.