Appraisers, Essential Workers Staying Safe and COVID-19 Impact on Value

Covid-19 and Hand Washing:  When, Why, and How

According to the CDC, handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. The following two pages will describe how you should wash your hands to stay healthy. Washing hands is only one aspect of staying safe.

Wash Your Hands Often to Stay Healthy

The following paragraph describes what often really means:

You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

Follow Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way


Washing your hands is easy.  Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.


Five Hand Washing Steps to Follow Every Time:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water

You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.


Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations.

 If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.  Look at the product label to determine alc0hol content.

Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. However…

  • Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
  • Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
  • Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.

Caution! Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning if more than a couple of mouthfuls are swallowed. Keep it out of reach of young children and supervise their use. Learn more here.


How to use hand sanitizer:

  • Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.




Cleaning and Disinfecting Surfaces According To CDC


  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces DAILY. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • To disinfect: Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.

Options include:

  • Diluting your household bleach
    To make a bleach solution, mix:

    • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
      or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and ventilation. Ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

  • Alcohol solutions
    Ensure the solution has at least 70% alcohol. Many laboratories around the country spray surfaces with ethyl alcohol and wipe them dry to decontaminate.
  • Other common EPA-registered household disinfectants
    Products with claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method, and contact time, etc.). EPA product list follow this link


Coughing and Sneezing Protocol


  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Throw away the dirty tissues.  
  • Use your sleeve or elbow if you don’t have a tissue. 
  • Wash or sanitize your hands afterward. 


  • Try not to touch surfaces and objects that are used and shared often.  
  • If you do touch surfaces or objects, wash or sanitize your hands afterward. 
  • Limit actions like shaking hands, hugging, etc.


Social Distancing 

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

CDC has conducted testing and determined that coronavirus can remain suspended in the air for as long as three hours.


When can you stop home isolation after having COVID-19?


March 20 at 10:25 AM 


If you have COVID-19 and will not have a test to see if you are still contagious, you should only leave your “sick room” and home when ALL of the following are true:

  • No fever for at least 72 hours (3 days)
    • Other symptoms have improved
    • It has been at least 7 days since you started feeling sick

Heads up: People who will get a test to see if they are still contagious should follow different guidance provided by their medical practitioner after the results are available. Also, people with weakened immune systems might have special guidance. Learn more:



Calypso Continuing Education™ Questionnaire:  Required prior to entering our offices or prior to our consultants entering a subject property for an appointment:


Covid-19 is highly contagious. To help stem the pandemic and protect your health and the health of our consultants, we need you to complete the following questionnaire. 


Facts: CDC believes that frequently the virus has been transmitted by touching surfaces where someone infected with Covid-19 has coughed or sneezed on and deposited the virus along with other biomatter.  The CDC has indicated the particles may stay suspended in the air for as long as three hours. Therefore, the CDC recommends social distancing of 6 feet, so you are out of somebody else’s breathing zone.


Please, honestly answer the following questions after due consideration. Thank you so much for helping us protect you and our consultants. 


Have you in the past 14 days: 


  1. Traveled to or from one of the affected countries or regions listed as a Level 3Travel Health Notice on

NO Yes


  1. Been in contact with a novel coronavirus/ COVID-19 infected person?

NO Yes Not Sure


  1. Have you been to a health care facility (hospital, walk-in clinic, emergency room) where people infected with novel coronavirus/ COVID-19 are treated?

NO Yes 


  1. Have you had the following symptoms in the last few days: feel uncomfortable, especially with respiratory symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing)?

NO Yes


  1. Do you feel unwell, especially with respiratory symptoms (cough, high temperature, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing)?

NO Yes


If you answered  Yes to any of the questions above, access to ( OFFICE ADDRESS ) or our appointment outside the office (SUBJECT PROPERTY) will be postponed until such time answers to all questions are a definitive NO or alternative options have been developed. If you answered Not Sure to question # 2, let’s have a discussion to clarify. Thank you.


_________________________________    ____________________________________ ________

Signature Name Printed Date



Calypso Continuing Education has excerpted the materials in this flyer directly from CDC, EPA, and OSHA publications.

Staying safe during appraisal inspection 6 easy steps

Staying safe during appraisal inspection 6 easy steps

By: Francis X. (Rich) Finigan

The appraiser’s work is so important to the financial well-being of America, it can’t be overstated. Many of the site visits that you will be conducting are for home equity loans or refinancing. Many people are using this financing as bridge loans to get them through the pandemic. Without your site visit, the loan isn’t going to occur!

While your undertaking this important work you need to stay safe, keep your family safe, and keep those homeowners safe. As of Tuesday, April 28th, 2020, according to CDC, there were 26,512 new cases of coronavirus in the United States, that day! So we’re not out of the woods yet.

As many of you know, Francis X. (Rich) Finigan is an environmental expert as well as a real estate appraiser and educator. Calypso Continuing Education™ is an EPA accredited training provider. We won’t belabor our credentials. We have developed the following to help each and every appraiser stay safe while they embark on inspections of residential properties. The recommendations are based on good environmental practices and source documents regarding this pandemic from CDC, WHO, and OSHA.

  1. Send the attached questionnaire to the residents of the properties you are about to inspect. Send it a few days before your inspection to ensure that the residents haven’t been out of the country in the last 14 days, have not had a fever in the last 14 days, haven’t been diagnosed positively with the Covid 19 virus, etc. If all the questions are not answered satisfactorily, reschedule the appointment for a future date. Also, I would strongly recommend consolidating as many inspections in a single day as possible.


  1. Conduct any interviews about the subject property remotely i.e., by telephone, email, text, or other modes of communication.


  1. Before entering the subject property put on your PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Follow the guidance in the videos and graphics attached to ensure proper usage of your PPE.
    1. First, don (put on) your N-95 or other respiratory safety protection (face mask).
    2. When you get outside the door, you are going to enter, don your protective equipment before entering the subject property.
    3. Before you touch the doorknob of the house you don your disposable nitrile gloves. We do not recommend latex coding gloves because some people have an allergy to them.


  1. Once inside the subject property do not touch anything. Take photographs with your smartphone and capture your measurements as efficiently as possible.


  1. When you leave the subject property doff (take off) your PPE outside your vehicle in the following manner:
    1. First remove your booties by rolling them from the heel to the toe, dirty side in. Do not reuse them. Dispose of them in a trash bag.
    2. Second, doff your gloves as shown in the attached video gripping the cuff of one of the gloves pulling it off and crumpling it in your still gloved hand. Then gripping the cuff of the gloved hand, that’s holding the crumpled glove pull it directly over your hand trapping the contaminated side and crumpled glove inside like a little bag. Do not reuse the gloves. Dispose of them.
    3. Whenever you are working around contamination, the last thing you take off (doff) is your respiratory safety. Grip the bands that hold your mask on and remove it from your head folding the side that was next to face against each other to prevent cross-contamination from the outside of the mask. You may continue using an N-95 until one of the three D’s exists: deteriorated, damp, or visibly dirty. Clean your hands with hand sanitizer immediately rubbing them together for about 20 seconds. Yes, you know the drill, happy birthday twice. See the graphic below.


  1. When you get home, go directly to your laundry room take your clothes off, and put them in the washer. Launder them normally.

Recommended Questionnaire


Ask the resident to please,  answer the following questions honestly, after due consideration. Thank them for their cooperation.


Have you in the past 14 days:


  1. Traveled to or from one of the affected countries or regions listed as a Level 3Travel Health Notice on

NO       Yes


  1. Been in contact with a novel coronavirus/ COVID-19 infected person?

NO       Yes      Not Sure


  1. Have you been to a health care facility (hospital, walk-in clinic, emergency room) where people infected with novel coronavirus/ COVID-19 are treated in the past 14 days?

NO       Yes


  1. Have you had the following symptoms: feel uncomfortable, especially with respiratory symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing)?

NO       Yes



  1. Do you feel unwell, especially with respiratory symptoms (cough, high temperature, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing)?

NO       Yes


If you answered  Yes to any of the questions above, access to ( OFFICE ADDRESS ) or our appointment outside the office (SUBJECT PROPERTY) will be postponed until such time answers to all questions are a definitive NO or alternative options have been developed. If you answered Not Sure to question # 2, let’s have a discussion to clarify. Thank you.


_________________________________    ____________________________________  ________

Signature                                            Name Printed                         Date


Reliance Letter Minefield an appraiser real-world problem… Solved

by Francis X Finigan

August 2019

Save this letter in your file; it will help protect you from liability and enhance your professional image.

While not typical, there are enough requests for “reliance letters” that they are not uncommon.

A mortgage broker may receive a copy of the appraisal report and want to submit it to a “second mortgage” lender, who is not the original client or an intended user.

The mortgage broker may ask the appraiser to complete a “reliance letter” and re-address the report to the new lender. At this juncture typically there is no discussion of compensation.

The audacity of this mortgage broker is probably your first thought! In their industry, it’s not uncommon for them to ask an environmental consultant for a reliance letter.

Let’s clarify what a reliance letter is. A reliance letter is a letter from one party to another party allowing them to rely on the contents of a report. Reliance letters can be offered by consultants (usually an environmental consultant) in place of a formal collateral warranty to the consultant’s appointment.

With that in mind, realizing the mortgage broker’s lack of USPAP knowledge, you can understand why they might consider asking the appraiser for a reliance letter.

So, what’s the answer? Can an appraiser just re-address the appraisal report? Can the appraiser re-address the appraisal report if they are offered remuneration?

Advisory Opinion 26 provides the following clear and unambiguous answer to these questions.

The answer to the question posed above is… No. Once a report has been prepared for a named client(s) and any other identified intended users and for an identified intended use, the appraiser cannot “readdress” (transfer) the report to another party.

USPAP defines Client as: the party or parties (i.e., individual, group, or entity) who engage an appraiser by employment or contract in a specific assignment, whether directly or through an agent. (USPSP Publication)

Avoid the reliance letter minefield. The next time you are requested to readdress an appraisal, just send them a copy of this Food for Thought. And just say, NO!!

Good luck and do good work,


For more information and on this topic read the following:


Relevant USPAP & Advisory References

• The Confidentiality and Conduct sections of the ETHICS RULE

• Standards Rules such as 1-2(a) and 1-2(b); 7-2(a) and 7-2(b); and 9-2(a) and 9-2(b), which require an appraiser to identify the client, intended users, and intended use

• Standards Rules such as 2-1(a), 8-1(a), 10-1(a), which require an appraiser to clearly and accurately set forth the appraisal in a manner that is not misleading

• SCOPE OF WORK RULE, which requires an appraiser to ascertain whether other laws or regulations apply to the assignment in addition to USPAP

• Advisory Opinion 25, which covers clarification of the client in a federally related transaction• Advisory Opinion 27, which addresses appraising the same property for a new client

• Advisory Opinion 36, Identification and Disclosure of Client, Intended Use, and Intended Users 

(USPAP Publication)

Appraisal Standards Board Considering Creating Standards for Evaluations and ASB to Issue Concept Paper and Hold Public Hearing

The ASB could consider moving forward with a discussion draft or an exposure draft by late 2019.

TAF once a draw a bright line between appraisals and evaluations.


“Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Board of the Federal Reserve System, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued an advisory to clarify supervisory expectations for using an evaluation for certain real estate-related transactions in response to questions raised during outreach meetings held pursuant to the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act. Many of the questions pertained to when an evaluation is permitted for a real estate-related transaction and how an evaluation can support a market value conclusion when there are few or no recent comparable sales of similar properties.


Part 323 of the FDIC Rules and Regulations permits institutions to use an evaluation in lieu of an appraisal to value real property pledged as collateral for certain real estate-related transactions that are not subject to the appraisal requirements in Part 323. For example, institutions may use evaluations rather than appraisals to estimate the market value of residential or commercial properties securing real estate-related transactions of $250,000 or less except for certain higher-priced mortgage loans under Regulation Z.

The Interagency Appraisal and Evaluation Guidelines do not require evaluations to be based on comparable sales.

In areas with few, if any, recent comparable sales of similar properties in reasonable proximity to the subject property, persons who perform evaluations may consider alternative valuation methods and other supporting information when developing a market value conclusion.

Institutions that demonstrate that a valid correlation exists between tax assessment values and market values may use such information to develop the market value conclusion in an evaluation.”

FDIC FIL-16-2016   Interagency Advisory on Use of Evaluations in Real Estate-Related Financial Transactions –

According to the federal banking regulators’ Interagency Appraisal and Evaluation Guidelines (the “Guidelines”), evaluations are permitted for:

·        Transactions where the “transaction value”5 (generally the loan amount) is $250,000 or less;6

·        Certain renewals, refinances, or other transactions involving existing extensions of credit; and

·        Real estate-secured business loans with a transaction value of $1,000,000 or less and when the sale of, or rental income derived from, real estate is not the primary source of repayment for the loan. 

 Even though the regulations allow evaluations for these types of transactions, the Guidelines state that banks should establish policies and procedures for determining when to obtain appraisals for higher-risk transactions, such as those with combined loan-to-value ratios that exceed supervisory limits, atypical properties, properties outside the bank’s traditional lending market, or high-risk borrowers.

While an appraisal requires a state-certified or licensed appraiser, the Guidelines state that those who perform evaluations should have “the appropriate appraisal or collateral valuation education, expertise and experience relevant to the type of property being valued.” Examples include appraisers, real estate lending professionals, agricultural extension agents or foresters.

You can even use internal staff to perform evaluations, provided they possess the necessary training and qualifications and you take steps to maintain the independence of your real estate valuation program. Generally, that means a complete separation of the collateral valuation program from the loan production process. Maintaining such a separation may be difficult for smaller banks. According to the Guidelines, if the only person qualified to evaluate real estate collateral is another loan officer, director or bank official, the bank should ensure that person’s independence by requiring him or her to abstain from any vote or approval involving loans for which they ordered, performed, or reviewed an appraisal or evaluation.

For banks lacking the resources to hire and train their own personnel to perform evaluations, the most cost-effective way to address independence issues may be to use a third party for evaluations.

(Washington, DC) August 1, 2019 – The Appraisal Standards Board (ASB), an independent board of The Appraisal Foundation, announced today that it intends to examine the concept of creating standards for evaluations, which are alternatives to appraisals used by financial institutions.

Currently, there are no uniform standards for appraisers to follow when conducting an evaluation, which leads to greater risk to the safety and soundness of the real estate transaction and diminished protection for consumers. The ASB intends to issue a concept paper around Labor Day and will follow up with a public hearing with panels of constituents on October 18, 2019, in Washington, DC. As with all public meetings of the ASB, the public hearing will be broadcast via Livestream.

“This important development by the ASB shows how the Board has their ear to the ground, listening to the concerns of working appraisers in a rapidly evolving marketplace where there is an increasing demand for different valuation products,” said David Bunton, president of the Foundation. “They are balancing that with their responsibility to protect the public trust in valuation by creating uniform standards that are subject to oversight.”

Currently, the Interagency Appraisal and Evaluation Guidelines for federally regulated financial institutions provide guidance on evaluations, but that guidance is directed at lenders, not appraisers. Furthermore, the courts have found such guidance to be unenforceable. “This puts appraisers in a difficult, untenable position,” said John Brenan, vice president of appraisal issues at the Appraisal Foundation. “Appraisers often struggle when asked to perform evaluations, since most are mandated to comply with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). It’s almost a Catch-22 situation.”

Under federal regulations, evaluations may be performed by non-appraisers who have not demonstrated a level of expertise through education, training, and examination. If appraisers are not completing an evaluation, there is no recourse for a lender or consumer to appeal a bad evaluation. With the increased use of evaluations in the marketplace lenders and consumers are being exposed to an unnecessary level of risk not seen since the 1980s when national appraiser qualifications and appraisal standards had not yet been created.

“Appraisers are valuation experts. When hiring a licensed or certified real property appraiser to develop and report market value, the client should expect the work to be performed in accordance with USPAP,” said Wayne Miller, chair of the Appraisal Standards Board. “The Board is eager to receive stakeholder feedback from the planned concept paper and public hearing on the impediments, if any, to appraisers completing evaluations in accordance with USPAP. As always, the Board’s goal is to allow USPAP to evolve in an ever-changing real estate valuation environment while continuing to promote and maintain a high level of public trust in the valuation profession.”

For these reasons, the ASB is considering creating standards for developing and reporting evaluations, which would apply to those appraisers who want to perform evaluations while complying with state laws. The concept is to draw a bright line between evaluations and appraisals in USPAP.

Based on feedback from the concept paper and the public hearing, the ASB could consider moving forward with a discussion draft or an exposure draft by late 2019. The question of when evaluation standards would go into effect is likely to be part of the discussion in the concept paper and at the public meeting.