Frequently Asked Questions about Canadian National Real Estate Appraisers

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General FAQ’s

Frequently Asked Questions

I work for “Large National Appraisal Firm,” which has multiple offices. In situations where appraisers on staff have valued properties within the prior three years, the firm’s management recommends its appraisers utilize the following language in the certification to disclose prior services: “Large National Appraisal Firm has provided a prior service, as appraisers, but has provided no other services, as appraisers or in any other capacity.” Is this a proper disclosure under the USPAP?


Prior Service and Professional Assistance Disclosures


No. Firms do not sign certifications. Appraisers sign certifications. The disclosure in the certification must clarify whether the individual appraiser who signs the certification has provided prior services. The same requirements apply if the certification is signed by appraisers who have different records of prior services. The certification must indicate which appraisers provided prior services (and what services) and which appraisers have not provided any services, as an appraiser or in any other capacity, during the three-year period immediately preceding engagement to complete the assignment.

Source: 2018-19 USPAP Q&A (

I am trying to distinguish between physical characteristics and assignment results in a residential appraisal assignment. Which of the following ten terms are physical characteristics and which are assignment results?


  1. Living area is 2,000 SF
  2. Property is in good condition
  3. The property has functional problems
  4. The improvements were constructed in 2005
  5. The carpet is new
  6. 2nd floor has 2 bedrooms, no baths
  7. Well landscaped
  8. Poor floor plan
  9. Carpet needs replacing
  10. Walls are painted pink, yellow, and purple


Physical characteristics do not include an appraiser’s opinions. The items listed above shown as #1, 4, 5, 6 & 10 are examples of physical characteristics. Assignment results include an appraiser’s opinions. The items listed above shown as #2, 3, 7, 8 & 9 are examples of an appraiser’s opinions, and therefore, are assignment results.

Source: 2018-19 USPAP Q&A (

What information must be retained in an appraiser’s workfile?


Response: An appraiser must prepare a workfile for each appraisal or appraisal review assignment. The RECORD KEEPING 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 all written reports documented on any type of media (A true copy is a replica of the report transmitted to the client. A photocopy or an electronic copy of the entire report transmitted to the client satisfies the requirement of a true copy.);
  • summaries of all 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 USPAP, or references to the location(s) of such other data, information, and documentation.

A workfile in support of a Restricted Appraisal Report or an oral appraisal report must be sufficient for the appraiser to produce an Appraisal Report. A workfile in support of an oral appraisal review report must be sufficient for the appraiser to produce an Appraisal Review Report.

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 and conclusions.

FAQ 2018-2019 Edition
© The Appraisal Foundation

I was asked by a client to provide an opinion of the market rent for a commercial property.


Is such an assignment considered an appraisal?

Response: YES. USPAP defines an appraisal as an opinion of value, and market rent is an expression of value for the right to use a property. Therefore, to comply with USPAP in this assignment, an appraiser would have to follow STANDARD 1 to develop the opinion of the market rent, and STANDARD 2 to report the assignment results.

FAQ 2018-2019 Edition
© The Appraisal Foundation

Does USPAP permit real property appraisers to perform drive-by or desktop appraisal assignments?


Response: YES.   The Comment to Standards Rule 1-2(e) states, in part:

An appraiser may use any combination of a property inspection and documents to identify the relevant characteristics of the subject property.

This is also discussed in Advisory Opinion 2, Inspection of Subject Property. It states:

An inspection is not required by USPAP, but one is often conducted.

The extent of the inspection process is an aspect of the scope of work, and may vary based on assignment conditions and the intended use of the assignment results. It is the appraiser’s responsibility to determine the appropriate scope of work, including the degree of inspection necessary to produce credible assignment results given the intended use.

For further clarification, see AO-2.

FAQ 2018-2019 Edition

© The Appraisal Foundation

When developing a real property appraisal, what is an appraiser’s responsibility under USPAP if a lender refuses to provide a copy of the current agreement of sale of the subject property?


Response: Standards Rule 1-5(a) requires an appraiser developing a real property appraisal, if such information is available to the appraiser in the normal course of business, to: analyze all agreements of sale, options, or listings of the subject property current as of the effective date of the appraisal.

The normal course of business for an appraiser when the property is known to be the subject of a pending transaction is to ask the client for the terms of the agreement. If this request is denied, then the appraiser should make reasonable attempts to obtain this information from other sources through legal means commonly available to and practiced by the appraiser’s peers. Standards Rule 2-2(a)(viii) and (b)(viii) also includes the requirement that:

If such information is unobtainable, a statement on the efforts undertaken by the appraiser to obtain the information is required. If such information is irrelevant, a statement acknowledging the existence of the information and citing its lack of relevance is required.

Refer to Standards Rules 2-2(a)(viii) and (b)(viii) for related reporting requirements, and to Advisory Opinion 1, Sales History for additional information.

FAQ 2018-2019 Edition
© The Appraisal Foundation

Membership FAQ’s

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become an appraiser and start taking courses?

There are a number of steps that must be taken in order to become a candidate member and start taking courses.

  1. The first step is that a prospective member must arrange for a supervisor (see below) so that they can join as a candidate member.
  2. When they have found a qualified supervisor (see below) a membership application, criminal background check and supporting documentation must be submitted to the CNAREA Administration office via
  3. When the membership application has been approved and the membership fee has been paid then the new candidate member will receive an email from the association’s insurer Prolink to complete the process of obtaining E&O  (Errors and Omissions) insurance.
  4. For Alberta candidates, once the membership fee and insurance has been paid then a Letter of Good Standing will be sent to RECA (Real Estate Council of Alberta)
  5. The candidate member can then start working as a candidate appraiser and commence the CNAREA education program.

Who are qualified supervisors and how do I find one?

A supervisor has the designation Certified Appraisal Reviewer which means among other things they are permitted to take on up to four (4) candidates at any one time.

The best way to find a supervisor is to check and look for the “Find an Appraiser” tab. Search the areas you wish to work in and find out if they are looking for candidates.

Will CNAREA help me find a supervisor?

No, CNAREA does get involved in the business operations of our members and as such will not get involved in the hiring of new candidates. We do advise that all prospective candidates check the “Job Posting” tab on on a regular basis.

What supporting documentation do I need to submit along with the membership application?

A prospective member must submit a criminal background check which can be completed through the link on The applicant must also submit confirmation that he or she has successfully completed, at minimum, High School or equivalent as well as work history which usually is in the form of a resume. If the applicant is wanting to receive credit for specific courses or programs they must provide a description of the course or program as well as confirmation of successful completion.

Does previous education from other institutions, associations, or related industries count for credit towards the CNAREA education program?

Only appraisal related courses will be considered for credit towards the mandatory or core courses in the CNAREA education program.

With respect to appraisal courses from outside of CNAREA submit the course description and confirmation of successfully completing the course. CNAREA staff will review this information and notify the prospective member that credit will be given.

Other real estate related courses will be reviewed to determine if elective credits can be given.

Are courses offered online as opposed to the classroom?

Currently CNAREA does not offer any of the mandatory courses online. There are currently four (4) courses through correspondence and the rest are in the classroom. Refer to the education schedule on for dates and locations.

Will classroom courses be offered in other locations?

For the most part classroom courses are offered in Parksville, B.C., Calgary, and Toronto. Courses are sometimes held in other locations including Winnipeg and Montreal. Consideration is being given to holding courses in Vancouver, Edmonton, and the Maritimes.

How long does is take to become a designated appraiser?

It varies per member but generally takes between 2 – 4 years. A candidate must complete all of the education requirements and have approximately 2 years of full-time work as a candidate appraiser before they are able to write the final exam. When applying to write the final exam the candidate must submit 2 recent appraisal reports for review.

As a candidate appraiser can I complete appraisal reports on my own?

As a candidate appraiser every report that you complete must be signed by your/a supervisor.

How much does it cost to get my designation?

The approximate cost of the education program is approximately $6,000.00. This does not include membership fees and the cost of insurance.