There is a lot of misunderstanding and anxiety about background checks. I think we could all agree with that statement, right?
Let me put your mind at ease about a few of the myths that are perpetuated in the blogosphere.
Myth #1: "I did something stupid when I was in college and I am a different person today. A background check is going to cause me to lose work."
MythBuster: The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and some State laws state that certain issues may not be reported beyond seven years. Contact an attorney or your state employment agency to determine the limit for reporting criminal convictions.
Myth #2: "I had a DUI a few years back and I don’t want to lose my clients when they check my background."
MythBuster: Most AMCs and Lenders seem most concerned with violent crime, bank fraud, and sex offenses. Depending on the circumstances and the length of time that has passed, honest and full disclosure of a DUI has often not prevented appraisers from finding work.
Myth #3: "My State ran a background check on me when I got my license. If it is good enough for the State, it should be good enough for everyone else."
MythBuster: It doesn’t matter if your State ran one on you last week- that is irrelevant. Lenders, and their agents, must perform due diligence. They cannot rely on what a State agency may have done. Lenders and AMCs do not have access to State background checks and they may have different standards. There are today licensed appraisers with criminal backgrounds that States are aware of but Lenders and AMCs have chosen not to work with.
Myth #4: "A clear background check is all any client needs to approve me."
MythBuster: No, that would be just the beginning of the vetting process. Both lenders and AMCs, to adhere to best practices should be reviewing your credentials, education, disciplinary history, areas of expertise, fee schedules, coverage areas, competency exams, and sample reports.
Myth #5: "All background screening is alike."
MythBuster: Depending on the Lender’s or AMC’s requirements, they may have different issues they screen for. Some searches would include criminal, past address, sex offender registries, employment, education and professional license verifications, civil records, motor vehicle reports and terrorist watch lists to name a few.
Myth #6: "I don’t have anything to worry about- I never did anything wrong."
MythBuster: While it may be true that you have led the life of a saint, there are still things you should check for. Identity theft affects everyone and appraisers are no exception. One benefit of performing a background check is the verification of the information that is found. If you perform your own background check, you can review the results and ensure everything reported is correct and timely. If incorrect or outdated information is found, it can be disputed privately to ensure your reputation is protected.
Myth #7: "I have a copy of my background check I can email to anyone who needs it- that will be good enough."
MythBuster: It is far too easy to add, remove or edit details from a file you have access to. To ensure tampering has not occurred, Lenders and AMCs need access to the original document or access through a secure server.
Myth #8: "Background checks are just a waste of money. I am not paying for that."
MythBuster: If investing $100 enabled you to make $1,000, would you do so? If you don’t spend the money for a background check, how many opportunities are you missing out on?
Myth #9: "I have been an appraiser for 25 years- my record speaks for itself."
MythBuster: True, but if you are looking for more work, Lenders and AMCs need complete transparency to eliminate risk and protect themselves, as well. When you do a background check, you help provide peace of mind to everyone involved in the appraisal process.
Myth #10: "Serious criminals are not licensed appraisers. A background check is just a money-making scam."
MythBuster: Although appraisers may lose their licenses for their criminal behavior, often times they do not. Some appraisers have had their license revoked in one State only to move on and get licensed in another. AMCs and Lenders who perform background checks and are aware of past behaviors are best prepared to ensure the safety and well being of all involved. Lenders and AMCs cannot rely upon the State to perform their due diligence for them.
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