AI Addresses Alleged Valuation Bias: Message from AI President

As you’re probably aware, the topic of diversity and alleged bias in the valuation profession has been covered in the media recently, and it’s an issue that AI continues to take very seriously.

As the nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers with over 17,000 professionals, and with more than 73,000 appraisers in the U.S., there’s no way we, or anyone else, can categorically say that no bias exists in the profession and that no individual appraiser has any bias. “Good” appraisals are credible and well supported – as you know, value is not a fact to be found. Attempting to find a non-appraiser’s opinion of the “correct” value sends us quickly down a rabbit’s hole. Instead, we are springing into action with a range of programs meant to attack whatever unconscious individual biases may exist; addressing matters of diversity within the profession; and developing policy solutions relating to mortgage financing and community and economic development.

I’m also pleased to share that AI has been proactive in discussing these timely issues during the past few months, with our messages focusing on the great steps AI is taking to address these critical issues.

  • AI distributed a news release on Sept. 10, which addressed numerous proactive steps that our organization already is taking to address these issues, as well as others in the pipeline. The news release is available via the following link:
  • Based on the Oct. 16 news release, you know about our collaboration with ASA, ASFMRA and MBREA, but I’m also glad to tell you that we’ve had productive discussions with TAF about finding common ground in this area and those talks continue.
  • I encourage you to save the dates of Dec. 9-10, 1 p.m.-4:15 p.m. EST, for a joint symposium with the Appraisal Institute and The Appraisal Foundation, "Promoting Trust for Fair and Affordable Housing." This free symposium will give real estate appraisers the opportunity to hear from leaders from across the appraisal profession, mortgage lending and academia in a discussion on fair and affordable housing issues. Discussion topics will include the latest research on fair and affordable housing, impact and innovation in the appraisal process and potential legislative, regulatory and financing solutions that can promote community and economic development. Stay tuned for upcoming speaker announcements and registration information.
  • If you follow AI on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, you might have seen our posts about these issues, both proactive (directing individuals to our news releases and President’s Message) and reactive (in response to questions from our followers).
  • I’ve also had the opportunity to personally address these topics in interviews with CityLab (part of Bloomberg), National Mortgage News and others, and we’ve made new connections with members of the media around the country who are covering these issues.
  • I’m also pleased to let you know that we published a lengthy post on AI’s blog last week hitting these issues head-on. It’s worth noting that members of the media around the country are among our social media followers. You can read the blog post via the following link:
  • Further, as I, and the organization’s other elected officers, present at upcoming chapter events around the country, we’ll be sure to let members and other attendees know about our efforts.

As AI’s 2020 president, and a fellow appraiser, I can assure you that your organization is taking these issues seriously and will continue to proactively share our message with a variety of audiences around the country.

Jefferson L. Sherman, MAI, AI-GRS

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