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Thode is lone academic elected to national appraisal board

Thode believes the Appraisal Foundation may help the real estate industry recover.

Stephen Thode, director of Lehigh’s Murray H. Goodman Center for Real Estate Studies, has been elected to serve a three-year term on the Appraisal Foundation’s board of trustees.

He becomes the only academic to serve on the board of the non-profit organization, which is the national accrediting board for real estate appraisers.

“During these times of great uncertainty in both residential and commercial real estate, the Appraisal Foundation’s role is more critical than ever before,” says Thode, whose term begins in January. “It’s an honor to serve my professional colleagues in the real estate industry in this capacity.”

Real estate appraisers are specialists at estimating the value of property and are called to serve a variety of legal roles. Not only are they are consulted whenever a property is taxed, purchased, sold or insured, but they may also assist in proceedings whenever private or business assets are in question.

Although it serves as an independent non-profit organization, the foundation was launched in 1987 under a congressional charter and is partially funded by a federal grant. It was established to design and enforce a national set of standards by which all appraisers and their respective organizations operate.

The Appraisal Foundation board of trustees is responsible for appointing members to the Appraiser Qualifications Board (ASB) and the Appraisal Standards Board (ASB). The former establishes professional guidelines for appraisers, while ASB is responsible for overseeing the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, the generally accepted standards of the appraisal profession.

As its newest member, Thode provides unusual insight for the board. “As the organization that sets the education thresholds for appraisers, it is imperative that we have input from academia,” says David Bunton, the foundation’s president. “I am confident that Professor Thode will provide this important perspective.”

In addition to his position as director of the Goodman Center, Thode is also an associate professor of finance with Lehigh’s College of Business and Economics. He was instrumental in building the popular Integrated Real Estate @ Lehigh, or ire@l, program. (Learn more about ire@l here.)

He is a distinguished fellow at the American Real Estate Society and is a recipient of that group’s prize for best paper in real estate finance.

Although the appraisal industry has been under close scrutiny since the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, Thode believes the Appraisal Foundation will play an increasingly critical role in helping the real estate industry rebound.

“Now more than ever, we have a crucial service to provide,” Thode says. “We need to continue to strengthen our guidelines to make sure that appraisers are in the best position to help the market quickly—and correctly—right itself.”

--Tom Yencho

Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2008

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