Appraisal practice in the US is regulated by the various states. Prior to the 1990's, there were no commonly accepted standards either for appraisal quality or for appraiser licensure. In the 1980s, an ad-hoc committee representing various appraisal professional organizations in the U.S. and Canada met to codify the best practices into what became known as the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, or USPAP. The Savings and Loan Crisis in the U.S. resulted in increased Federal regulation of the mortgage lending process via the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1991. A portion of this act required federal lending regulators to adopt appraisal standards. A not-for-profit organization, the Appraisal Foundation (TAF), was formed by the same organizations which had developed USPAP, and the copyright for USPAP was signed over to TAF. Federal oversight of TAF is provided by the Appraisal Subcommittee, made up of representatives of various Federal lending regulators. TAF carries out its work through two boards: the Appraisal Standards Board promulgates and updates USPAP; the Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB) promulgates minimum recommended standards for appraiser certification and licensure. During the 1990s, all of the states adopted USPAP as the governing standards within their states and developed licensure standards which met or exceeded the recommendations of TAF. Also, the various state and federal courts have adopted USPAP for real estate litigation and all of the federally lending regulators adopt USPAP for mortgage finance appraisal.
In addition, there are professional appraisal organizations, organized as private not-for-profits, which date to the Great Depression of the 1930s. One of the oldest in the U.S. is the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA), founded in 1929. Others were founded as needed and opportunity arose in specialized fields, such as the Appraisal Institute (AI) and the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) founded in the 1930s, the International Right of Way Association and the National Association of Realtors which were founded after World War II. These organizations all existed to establish and enforce standards, but their influence has waned as the government increases appraisal regulation. In March 2007, three of these organizations (ASFMRA, ASA, and AI) announced an agreement in principle to merge. NAIFA (National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers), a charter member of The Appraisal Foundation, helped to write Title XI, the Real Estate Appraisal Reform Amendments. It was founded in 1961.
The best known professional organization of real estate appraisers in America is the Appraisal Institute. It was formed in from the merger of the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers and the Society of Real Estate Appraisers. Founded along with others in the 1930's, the two organizations merged in the 1990's to form the Appraisal Institute (AI). This group awards two professional designations: SRA, to residential appraisers, and MAI, to commercial appraisers.
Other leading appraisal organizations include the American Society of Appraisers, National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers, and the National Association of Master Appraisers, which were also founding sponsor-members of the Appraisal Foundation. In recent years, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has become highly regarded in the US, and has formed a collaboration with the Counselors of Real Estate, a division of the National Association of Realtors. RICS, which is headquartered in London, operates on a global scale and awards the designations MRICS and FRICS to Members and Fellows of RICS. The Real Estate Counseling Group of America is a small group of the top appraisers and real estate analysts in the US who collectively have authored a disproportionately large body of appraisal methodology.