In defense of Robert J. Bruss on appraisers and appraisals, here is the most unforgettable appraisal I ever saw:
Several years ago, I requested a copy of the appraisal from a company that was trying to sell me a second-trust deed. The independent appraisal showed a two-story house of sizable square footage in Laguna Beach with a high value. A drive to the address showed a one-story bungalow in then-unlivable condition, with two guys on the roof hammering away in after-work hours on what might have been the gleam of a second story in the owner's eye.
No, I didn't report the appraiser to the licensing bureau, although I should have. And no, it is not the only dubious appraisal I ever received. And yes, I do think most appraisers are ethical and conscientious.