Ethics is a lofty topic, but, in the American Society of Appraisers (ASA's) recent webinar "Ethics and the Appraiser," L. Deane Wilson (The Blackwell Institute) gave very practical tips on how ethics should inform the appraiser's work. Of course, a valuation professional adheres to USPAP and the professional rules associations such as the ASA set down. But an appraiser needs to do more to build up respect among peers and trust among clients.
Take report writing. How often do you see "I believe," "in my opinion," and/or "in my experience" in appraisal reports? These phrases, says Wilson, have no place or a very specific place in a technical report. An appraiser's use of "in my experience" often signals he or she tries to cover weaknesses in the valuation, rather than grappling with the problems. Experienced appraisers also know that judges discredit this type of testimony as mere ipse dixit (because I said so) under Daubert. As for the phrase "it's my opinion," logically speaking, it can only appear in one place: at the end of the valuation report.
Find more report writing do's and don'ts here.