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Creating Diversity in the Appraisal Profession: RICS Aims to Ensure Diversity Strategies for the Long-Term

Appraisal experts, James Park, Executive Director, Appraisal Subcommittee, Alvah Beander FRICS, President, Melanin Art Appraisals, Randal D. Dawson FRICS, Executive Vice President, CBRE, Valuation & Advisory Services and moderator Uche Obi FRICS, Governing Council, came together on a panel entitled “Bias in Valuations” hosted by RICS in July 2022. RICS is a professional association of chartered surveyors dedicated to developing spaces and places that fit future generations for the challenges they face. Together, these speakers discussed how to create a more diverse workplace for appraisers. The speakers discussed avenues in which they could help attract more females and people of color to the appraisal field. They sought answers to these three critical questions:
● What is valuation bias?
● Does it exist?
● What can be done about it?

James Park works for a federal agency overseeing real estate appraisal licenses. He’s been an appraiser for more than 30 years, and he has seen firsthand the lack of diversity in his field. He spoke about a recent study where evidence was found showing homes for black people were appraised lower than after they were considered “white-washed” or “de-blacked”.

Park is working to improve the appraisal industry in 3 key ways:
● The need to improve regulatory structure over appraisers, by finding ways to become
more diverse.
● The need for more fair housing and training for appraisers. Courses and training are not required in most states. They should be required. It’s an expansive act.
● Barriers to entry and lack of diversity: board certification – experience and college
requirements are tough for those with lesser means. This leads to appraisers being more than 96.5% white and over 70% men.

Randall Dawson, Executive Vice President with CBRE said, “appraisal evaluation executives need to be more diverse to also help with recruiting a more diverse workforce.” According to McKinsey, research has found that diversifying your team can boost productivity by 35%. The diversity in your employees will lead to more connections with clients from similar backgrounds. The connections will bring greater understanding to problems and lead to more innovative problem solving. Empowering your employees by utilizing their differences will foster a more productive work environment. It will also reduce turnover as employees feel more valued and accepted in a diverse environment.

The panel is working hard to find ways to get more diversity in these homogeneous work environments. Some questions the panel left pondering:
● Why does it exist?
● Limited exposure?
● Limited knowledge?
● Change averse?

RICS is encouraging these future solutions:
● Hire DEI professionals and consultants to assist in training, policies and procedures.
● Data: Create studies and reports under advisement.
● Implement aggressive outreach and education.
● Create incentives for members’ involvement.

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