Agency Appraisal Requirements – Updated

April 14, 2020rashtonBulletin

Overview

Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC (CMS) is actively monitoring the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) throughout the United States and its potential impact to our borrowers and loan originations. Our ability to continue to serve our customers is a top priority and this bulletin will be updated as additional Agency guidance is received. This bulletin has updated VA guidance. Updates are shown in red.

FNMA Temporary Appraisal Requirement Flexibilities

These temporary flexibilities are effective immediately for all Mortgages in process and remain in place for Mortgages with Application Received Dates on or before May 17, 2020.

Effective immediately, Fannie Mae is allowing temporary flexibilities to their appraisal inspection and reporting requirements. As described below, FNMA will accept an alternative to the traditional appraisal required under Selling Guide Chapter B4-1, Appraisal Requirements, when an interior inspection is not feasible because of COVID-19 concerns. FNMA will allow either a desktop appraisal or an exterior-only inspection appraisal in lieu of the interior and exterior inspection appraisal (i.e., traditional appraisal).

If a traditional appraisal is not obtained and there is insufficient information about the property for an appraiser to be able to complete an appraisal assignment with a desktop or exterior-only inspection appraisal, the loan will not be eligible for delivery to FNMA.

Loan purpose LTV ratio Occupancy Ownership of loan being refinanced Permissible appraisals

(in order of preference)

Purchase* Per Eligibility Matrix Principal residence N/A Traditional appraisal

Desktop appraisal

Exterior-only appraisal

≤ 85% Second home Investment Traditional appraisal

Desktop appraisal

Exterior-only appraisal

> 85% Second home Traditional appraisal
Loan purpose LTV ratio Occupancy Ownership of loan being refinanced Permissible appraisals

(in order of preference)

Limited cash-out refinance Per Eligibility Matrix All Fannie Mae-owned Traditional appraisal

Exterior-only appraisal

Not Fannie Mae-owned Traditional appraisal
Cash-out refinance Fannie Mae or not Fannie Mae-owned Traditional appraisal

*Excludes new construction and construction-to-permanent loans.

NOTE: For all loans with LTV ratios greater than 80%, FNMA require mortgage insurance in accordance with their standard Selling Guide policy. Lenders must consult with their mortgage insurance companies to confirm coverage for mortgages using one of the temporary appraisal flexibilities.

Desktop appraisals

For purchase money transactions when an interior and exterior appraisal is not available, lenders are encouraged to obtain a desktop appraisal rather than an exterior-only appraisal.

The minimum scope of work for a desktop appraisal does not include an inspection of the subject property or comparable sales. The appraiser relies on public records, multiple listing service (MLS) information, and other third-party data sources to identify the property characteristics.

When a desktop appraisal is performed, reported on Form 1004 or Form 1073, and submitted to FNMA through the Uniform Collateral Data Portal® (UCDP®), the appraisal will be scored by Collateral Underwriter® (CU®). All loans with a CU risk score of 2.5 or less will receive value representation and warranty relief under Day 1 Certainty. With desktop appraisals, lenders will have the added risk management and efficiency benefit of being able to use CU to aid in the appraisal review process.

The table below provides the appraisal report form that must be used to complete the desktop appraisal for each property type.

Property Type Acceptable Appraisal Form
One-unit property, including a unit in a planned unit development (PUD) or a detached condominium unit Uniform Residential Appraisal Report (Form 1004)
Condominium unit Individual Condominium Unit Appraisal Report (Form 1073)
2-4 Unit Property Small Residential Income Property Appraisal Report (Form 1025)
Manufactured Home Manufactured Home Appraisal Report (Form 1004C)

Exhibits for Desktop Appraisals

Each desktop appraisal report must include the following exhibits:

  • a location map indicating the location of the subject and comparables, and
  • photographs of the subject property. FNMA recognizes that it may be challenging in some instances to obtain photographs; however, it is expected that the appraiser utilize available means to obtain relevant pictures of the subject property.

Exterior-only Inspection Appraisals

An exterior-only inspection appraisal may be obtained in lieu of an interior and exterior inspection appraisal for the following transactions:

  • Purchase money loans
  • Limited cash-out refinances where the loan being refinanced is owned by Fannie Mae

Lenders will not receive value representation and warranty relief under Day 1 Certainty® for loans with exterior-only appraisals.

The table below shows the appraisal report form that must be used to complete an exterior-only inspection appraisal for each property type. Because there are not appropriate exterior-only appraisal report forms available for two-four unit properties and manufactured homes, FNMA will accept an exterior appraisal scope of work completed using the applicable forms listed below.

Property Type Acceptable Appraisal Form
One-unit property, including a unit in a planned unit development (PUD) or a detached condominium unit Exterior-Only Inspection Residential Appraisal Report (Form 2055)
Condominium unit Exterior-Only Inspection Individual Condominium Unit Appraisal Report (Form 1075)
2-4 Unit Property Small Residential Income Property Appraisal Report (Form 1025)
Manufactured Home Manufactured Home Appraisal Report (Form 1004C)

Exhibits for Exterior-only Inspection Appraisals

Lenders are reminded that the following exhibits to the appraisal report are required for an exterior-only inspection appraisal:

  • a street map that shows the location of the subject property and of all comparable sales that the appraiser used;
  • clear, descriptive photographs (either in black and white or color) that show the front of the subject property, and that are appropriately identified (photographs must be originals that are produced either by photography or electronic imaging); and
  • any other data−as an attachment or addendum to the appraisal report form−that are necessary to provide an adequately supported opinion of market value.

FNMA Temporary Flexibilities for New Construction Loans

For new construction properties where the appraisal is “subject to completion per plans and specifications,” and also when the property is 100% complete but an interior and exterior inspection appraisal cannot be completed, FNMA will permit a desktop appraisal on the forms identified in the following table. These requirements apply to purchase transactions only and exclude all construction-to-permanent loans.

Property Type Acceptable Appraisal Form
One-unit property, including a unit in a planned unit development (PUD) or a detachedcondominium unit Uniform Residential Appraisal Report (Form 1004)
Condominium unit Individual Condominium Unit Appraisal Report(Form 1073)
Two- to four-unit property Small Residential Income Property Appraisal Report (Form 1025)
Manufactured home Manufactured Home Appraisal Report (Form 1004C)

To accommodate the desktop appraisal on the existing Fannie Mae forms, the revised scope of work, statement of assumptions and limiting conditions, and certifications must accompany the form. Additionally, as noted below, the appraiser must identify a desktop appraisal was performed by populating the Map Reference field on the appraisal with “desktop.”

Documentation Requirements for New Construction Loans

If construction of the property has not yet begun or is partially complete, and the appraisal report will be completed “subject to completion per plans and specifications,” the Lender must provide the appraiser with, or ensure that the builder has provided the appraiser with the following:

  • Plans and specifications
  • Survey and/or plot plan
  • Current photos of the subject property

o    If construction has not yet begun, a photograph of the site and down the street inboth directions

o    If construction is partially complete, a photograph is required of the following:

  • A front view of the subject property
  • A rear view of the subject property
  • A street scene (i.e., a photograph down the street in both directions)
  • The following interior photos are required when construction is at a stage inwhich they are available

o    The kitchen of the subject property

o    All bathrooms of the subject property

o    The main living area of the subject property

o    Basement, including all finished rooms

  • A copy of the complete, ratified sales contract, and all addenda

If construction of the property is 100% complete, and the appraisal report will be completed “as is,” the Lender must provide the appraiser with, or ensure that the builder has provided the appraiser with the following:

  • Plans and specifications
  • Survey and/or plot plan
  • Current photos of the subject property

o    A front view of the subject property

o    A rear view of the subject property

o    A street scene (i.e., a photograph down the street in both  directions)

o    The kitchen of the subject property

o    All bathrooms of the subject property

o    The main living area of the subject property

o    Basement, including all finished rooms

  • A copy of the complete, ratified sales contract, and all addenda

Builder Certification

The Lender must obtain a signed  Builder Certification attesting that the information provided is true and correct. This certification must be included in the loan file.

Completion Reports for New Construction Properties

For new construction properties where the appraisal report was completed “subject to completion per plans and specifications,” if the Lender is unable to obtain a completed Appraisal Update and/or Completion Report (Form 1004D) as a result of COVID-19 related issues, FNMA will accept the Completion of Construction Certification. 

FHLMC Temporary Appraisal Requirement Flexibilities

These temporary flexibilities are effective immediately for all Mortgages in process and remain in place for Mortgages with Application Received Dates on or before May 17, 2020.

Freddie Mac understands that due to the COVID-19 pandemic there may be instances where a Lender is unable to obtain an interior inspection of the subject property. As a result, Freddie Mac is allowing temporary exceptions to their property eligibility and appraisal requirements.

Freddie Mac is revising its appraisal inspection and reporting requirements. As described in detail below, for certain Mortgages, when a Lender cannot obtain an appraisal with an interior inspection as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Freddie Mac will accept either an appraisal with an exterior-only inspection or a desktop appraisal (as described below) in lieu of the interior and exterior inspection appraisal required under Section 5601.5(a).

There may be instances where there is insufficient information about the property for an appraiser to complete an appraisal assignment with a desktop appraisal or an appraisal with an exterior-only inspection. In these instances, the Mortgage will not be eligible for sale to Freddie Mac until the appraiser has sufficient information to complete the desktop appraisal or an appraisal with an exterior-only inspection, or an appraisal with an interior and exterior inspection is obtained.

The following table provides appraisal requirements based on Mortgage purpose, loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, occupancy type and Mortgage ownership.

Permissible appraisal requirements
Mortgage purpose LTV ratio Occupancy type Ownership of Mortgage being refinanced Permissible appraisals
Purchase transaction* Up to 97% Primary Residence N/A Interior and exterior inspection appraisal, desktop appraisal or exterior-only appraisal
≤85% Second homes and Investment Properties N/A Interior and exterior inspection appraisal, desktop appraisal or exterior-only appraisal
˃85% Second homes N/A Interior and exterior inspection appraisal
No cash-out refinance As permitted in the Guide All Mortgage being refinanced owned by Freddie Mac Interior and exterior inspection appraisal or exterior-only inspection
Mortgage being refinanced not owned by Freddie Mac Interior and exterior inspection appraisal
Cash-out refinance As permitted in the Guide All Mortgage being refinanced owned or not owned by Freddie Mac Interior and exterior inspection appraisal

*These flexibilities are not permitted for Construction Conversion, Renovation or new construction properties.

Note: For all Mortgages with LTV ratios greater than 80%, FHLMC will require mortgage insurance in accordance with Guide requirements. Lenders must consult with their mortgage insurance companies to confirm coverage for Mortgages using one of the temporary appraisal flexibilities.

Appraisals with Exterior-only Inspections

The table below provides the appraisal report form that must be used to complete an appraisal with an exterior-only inspection for each property type. Because there are not appropriate exterior-only appraisal report forms available for 2- to 4-unit properties and Manufactured Homes, FHLMC will accept an exterior-only appraisal scope of work completed using the applicable forms listed below.

Property type Acceptable appraisal form
1-unit property, including

a unit in a Planned Unit Development (PUD) or a Detached Condominium Unit

Guide Form 2055, Exterior-Only Inspection Residential Appraisal Report
Attached Condominium Unit Form 466, Exterior-Only Inspection Individual Condominium Unit Appraisal Report
2- to 4-unit property Form 72, Small Residential Income Property Appraisal Report
Manufactured Home Form 70B, Manufactured Home Appraisal Report

Mortgages with appraisals with exterior-only inspections will not receive the appraised value representation and warranty relief described in Section 5601.9(b).

Exhibits for Exterior-only Inspection Appraisals

Lenders are reminded that the following are required in connection with an appraisal with an exterior-only inspection:

  • A street map that shows the location of the subject property and of all comparables thatthe appraiser used
  • Clear, descriptive photographs (either in black and white or color) that show the front of the subject property, and that are appropriately identified. (Photographs must be originals that are produced either by photography or electronic imaging); and
  • Any other data (as an attachment or addendum to the appraisal report form) that are necessary to provide an adequately supported opinion of market value

For Purchase Transaction Desktop Appraisals

Lenders are encouraged to obtain a desktop appraisal in lieu of an appraisal with an exterior-only inspection when an interior and exterior inspection is not available.

The minimum scope of work for a desktop appraisal does not include an inspection of the subject property or comparable sales. The appraiser relies on public records, multiple listing service (MLS) information or other third party data sources to identify the property characteristics.

When a desktop appraisal is obtained using Form 70, Uniform Residential Appraisal Report, or Form 465, Individual Condominium Unit Appraisal Report, and submitted to the Uniform Collateral Data Portal® (UCDP®), the appraisal will be assessed for valuation representation and warranty relief in Loan Collateral Advisor®. All appraisals with a risk score of 2.5 or less that meet the requirements in Section 5601.9(b) will receive valuation representation and warranty relief and Lenders will have the added risk management and efficiency benefit of being able to use Loan Collateral Advisor to aid in the appraisal review process

The table below provides the appraisal report form that must be used to complete the desktop appraisal for each property type.

Property type Acceptable appraisal form
1-unit property, including a unit in a Planned Unit Development (PUD) or a Detached Condominium Unit Form 70, Uniform Residential Appraisal Report
Condominium Unit Form 465, Individual Condominium Unit Appraisal Report
2- to 4-unit property Form 72, Small Residential Income Property Appraisal Report
Manufactured Home Form 70B, Manufactured Home Appraisal Report

Exhibits for Desktop Appraisals

Each desktop appraisal must include the following exhibits:

  • Photographs of the subject property. Freddie Mac recognizes it may be challenging in some instances to obtain photographs; however, it is expected that the appraiser utilize available means to obtain relevant pictures of the subject property.
  • A location map indicating the location of the subject and comparables.

FHLMC Temporary Appraisal Flexibilities for New Construction Properties (Purchase Transactions)

These temporary flexibilities are effective immediately for all Mortgages in process and remain in place for Mortgages with Application Received Dates on or before May 17, 2020.

For new construction properties, where the appraisal was completed “subject to completion per plans and specifications,” including properties that were fully completed after the effective date of the appraisal, and an interior and exterior inspection appraisal cannot be completed, Freddie Mac will permit a desktop appraisal on the forms identified in the following table:

Property type Acceptable appraisal form
1-unit property, including a unit in a Planned Unit Development (PUD) or a Detached Condominium Unit Guide Form 70, Uniform Residential Appraisal Report
Condominium Unit Form 465, Individual Condominium Unit Appraisal Report
2- to 4-unit property Form 72, Small Residential Income Property Appraisal Report
Manufactured Home Form 70B, Manufactured Home Appraisal Report

To accommodate the desktop appraisal using the existing Freddie Mac forms, the revised scope of work, statements of assumptions and limiting conditions provided as Attachment Ato Bulletin 2020-5 must accompany the form. Additionally, as stated in Bulletin 2020-5, the appraiser must identify that a desktop appraisal was performed by populating the Map Reference field on the appraisal with “desktop.”

Documentation requirements

If construction of the property has not yet begun or is partially completed, and as a result the appraisal report will be completed “subject to completion per plans and specifications,” the Lender must provide the appraiser with, or ensure that the builder has provided the appraiser with the following:

  • Plans and specifications
  • Survey and/or plot plan
  • Current photos of the subject property
    • If construction has not yet begun a photograph of the site and street scene (i.e., a photograph of the street view in both directions) are required
    • If construction is partially complete, the Lender must provide, or ensure that the builder has provided, the appraiser with all of the following photographs:
  • A front view of the subject property
  • A rear view of the subject property
  • A street scene (i.e., a photograph of the street view in both directions)
  • The following interior photos are required when construction is at a stage in which they are available
  • The kitchen of the subject property
  • All bathrooms of the subject property
  • The main living area of the subject property
  • Basement, including all finished rooms
  • Fully executed sales contract, including any addenda

If the property is fully completed, and as a result the appraisal report will be completed “as is,” the Lender must provide the appraiser with, or ensure that the builder has provided the appraiser with the following:

  • Plans and specifications
  • Survey and/or plot plan
  • Current photos of the subject property, including:
    • A front view of the subject property
    • A rear view of the subject property
    • A street scene (i.e., a photograph of the street view in both directions)
    • The kitchen of the subject property
    • All bathrooms of the subject property
    • The main living area of the subject property
    • Basement, including all finished rooms
  • Fully executed sales contract including any addenda

Builder certification

The Lender must obtain a builder signed certification, Attachment A, Builder/Contractor Certification, attesting that the information provided is true and correct. This certification must be included in the Mortgage file.

Completion reports for new construction properties

For new construction properties where the appraisal report was completed “subject to completion per plans and specifications,” if the Lender is unable to obtain a completion report on Form 442, Appraisal Update and/or Completion Report, as a result of COVID-19 related issues, Freddie Mac will accept the warranty of completion form, which is provided as Attachment B, Completion of Construction Certification.

FHA Guidance for Property inspections – Updated 03/30/20

Effective Date

The FHA Appraisal guidance in Mortgagee Letter 2020-05 is effective immediately for appraisal inspections completed on or before May 17, 2020.

Please note: The policy changes in the Mortgagee Letter are temporary and will not be incorporated into the HUD Single-Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1.

HUD Single Family Housing Appraisal Policy

When applicable, as described below, the appraiser may amend the scope of work to perform an Exterior-Only (viewing from the street) or Desktop-Only. The Appraiser may rely on supplemental information from other reliable sources such as Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and Tax Assessor’s Property Record to prepare an appraisal report. The Appraiser may rely on information from an interested party to the transaction (borrower, real estate agent, property contact, etc.) with clear appraisal report disclosure when additional verification is not feasible. The appraisal report must contain adequate information to enable the intended users to understand the extent of the inspection that was performed.

The Exterior-Only and Desktop-Only Appraisal options must continue to be reported on the current FHA approved appraisal forms with amended certifications and scope of work disclosures.

Appraisal Forms and Amended Certifications

The optional Exterior-Only and Desktop-Only appraisals must be reported on the existing Acceptable Appraisal Reporting Forms by Property and Assignment Type. These forms will require amended certifications and clear scope of work disclosures. Lenders are reminded that Exterior Appraisal forms Fannie Mae 2055 and Fannie Mae 1075 are not FHA approved forms and are not compatible with FHA’s Electronic Appraisal Delivery (EAD) portal.

The appraisal report must include a signed certification indicating whether the Appraiser did or did not personally inspect the subject property and the extent of the inspection. FHA has provided model certifications for the Exterior-Only and Desktop-Only scope of work.

Exterior-Only Option

The required protocols and exhibits under the Exterior-Only Option are:

  • Appraiser will observe the Property and Improvements from the street.
  • The Appraisal will be completed “AS IS” unless Minimum Property Requirements (MPR) related deficiencies are observed from the street or otherwise known.
  • The Appraiser may utilize extraordinary assumptions when necessary.
  • No sketch, interior photos or rear exterior photographs are required.

Desktop-Only Option

The required protocols and exhibits under the Desktop-Only Option are:

  • Appraiser will not physically observe the Property and Improvements.
  • The Appraisal will be completed “AS IS” unless MPR related deficiencies are known.
  • The Appraiser may utilize extraordinary assumptions when necessary.
  • No sketch, interior photos, exterior photographs are required.
  • No comparable viewing nor photos are required.

FHA Purchase Transactions

FHA will accept appraisals for Purchase transactions with an optional Exterior-Only or Desktop-Only scope of work by the Appraiser. These flexibilities are not permitted on New Construction, Construction to Permanent, and 203(k) purchases.

FHA Refinance

FHA will accept appraisals for Rate and Term Refinance and Simple Refinance with an optional Exterior-Only scope of work by the Appraiser. These flexibilities are not permitted on Cash out Refinances and 203(k) refinances.

Form 1004D Part B Completion Report

When an Appraisal Update and/or Completion Report (Form 1004D) Part B is required to evidence the completion of required repairs, FHA will permit a letter signed by the borrower affirming that the work was completed with further evidence of completion, which may include photographs of the completed work, paid invoices indicating completion, occupancy permits, or other substantially similar documentation. All completion documentation must be retained in the case binder. These flexibilities are not permitted on New Construction, Construction to Permanent, and 203(k) transactions.

VA Guidance for Property inspections – Updated 04/13/20

Effective Date

The VA policy outlined below is effective for all loans with an application date on or after 4/10/2020 and until further notice or the rescission of the VA 20-26-13 Circular.

Valuations may come in a form of an Exterior-Only appraisal with enhanced assignment conditions or in limited instances, a Desktop appraisal.

On page 1 of the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report (URAR), Subject section, “Map Reference” appraisers are to state “Exterior-Only” or “Desktop.” These procedures are temporary in nature and VA will return to normal operations after the national emergency

The report will be completed “AS IS” unless there are MPR requirements the appraiser observed in the review of the property. Without an interior review of the property, the appraiser can make an Extraordinary Assumption (EA) concerning MPRs with the information available.

The appraiser will continue to gain access to view the interior property for a Purchase Transaction (vacant property). The interior inspection is allowed, when the appraiser poses no harm to themselves or others.

Exterior-Only Appraisal

This report option with enhanced assignment conditions will be completed on the FNMA 2055/1075 URAR form. For manufactured homes and multi-unit (2- to-4 unit) properties, appraisers will use the 1004C or 1025 form. Appraisers must boldly and inconspicuously state “Per Department of Veterans Affairs, no interior inspection was provided due to COVID-19.”  Exterior-Only Appraisal with enhanced assignment conditions will be limited to one and a half times the maximum 2020 Freddie Mac Conforming Loan Limit for a one-unit limit for the county or county-equivalent area. The lender should not request an Exterior-Only appraisal if the loan amount will be more than one and a half times the maximum 2020 CCL limit. The appraiser is in control of the Scope of Work and they type of report will be used based upon safety.  2020 CCL limits (PDF)

Purchase or Refinance transactions

The appraiser is to provide an Exterior Only appraisal with enhanced assignment conditions when the appraiser’s assigned geographic jurisdiction does not have restrictions imposed by authorities prohibiting individuals leaving their domicile, such as mandatory quarantine. Appraisers should refer to their state or local authorities to determine if they are deemed an essential part of the financial transaction for mortgage lending. The appraiser must make every effort to complete the enhanced assignment conditions listed below or document in the narrative why one or more conditions could not be met:

(1) The appraiser will review the full exterior of the property and provide photos of all sides of the property with detailed notes of the exterior and any visible MPRs. In instances of obstructed or restricted view and access is unable to be granted or allowed, Multiple Listing Service (MLS) photos of these areas may be utilized. If MLS photos are utilized, it must be explained in the appraisal report.

(2) A measurement of the footprint of the home should be provided if accessible. This is not to determine the gross living area (GLA) but for the appraiser to reconcile with public records.

(3) The appraiser will conduct a detailed interview over the phone with the occupant, Veteran, or real estate professional regarding the property. It is the appraiser’s responsibility to obtain sufficient information to provide a creditable report. Interview questions should be noted and kept in the appraisers work file. Key items that may impact market value should be noted in the appraisal report with details about what was provided and by whom.

(4) The appraiser may utilize any and all photos available from MLS, provided by the occupant, Veteran, or real estate professional. Comparables will still be viewed and photos provided when possible.

Desktop Appraisal Valuations

This report option will be completed on the FNMA 1004, 1073, 1004C, 2025 and the appraiser will be required to attach a copy of the provided Scope of Work (SOW) Exhibit A,certifications, and assumptions in all reports. Appraisers must boldly and inconspicuously state “Per Department of Veterans Affairs, no interior inspection was provided due to COVID-19”.

  1. Desktop valuations will be limited to the maximum 2020 Freddie Mac Conforming Loan Limit for a one-unit limit for the county or county-equivalent area. The lender should not request a Desktop Appraisal if the loan amount will be more than the maximum 2020 CCL limit.
  2. Desktop appraisals will be conducted when the appraiser’s assigned geographic jurisdiction has restrictions imposed by authorities prohibiting individuals leaving their domicile, such as mandatory quarantine or not deemed an essential part of the financial transaction for mortgage lending. Lenders must state in both in “public” notes in WebLGY and by e-mail to the appraiser if they will accept a Desktop appraisal. If the lender will not accept a Desktop appraisal, the appraiser will advise the Regional Loan Center (RLC) to place the assignment on hold for 30 days and then subsequently cancel, if the status has not changed. The appraiser will annotate “public” notes in WebLGY updates on all communication between parties.

Purchase transactions: The appraiser defines the scope of the work and will annotate in the appraisal report concerning the source of information provided.

Cash-Out Refinance Transactions: The appraiser will prioritize assignments based on purchase transactions first and determine if sufficient information is publicly available and verifiable. Appraisers are not required to proceed on the assignment if information is not available to provide a credible report. In the event the appraiser is not able to complete the assignment, the lender may choose to cancel the request or have the VA Regional Loan Center (RLC)  suspend the assignment until the national emergency is lifted and a more detailed report can be produced.

Additional Notes

VA understands that there may be insufficient data available to produce a creditable report. Appraisers are not required to accept a Desktop valuation order. In addition, the use of Assisted Appraisal Processing Program (AAPP) is not authorized for Desktop appraisals. When an appraiser believes the scope of work required to develop a credible report is not capable in a Desktop appraisal, the appraiser must contact the RLC to place the assignment on hold.

Reconsideration of Value

In times of uncertainty, the housing market strengths may be less predictable to report. Appraisers will have comparable sales that took place prior to the President declaring a national emergency and active and pending sales can be less predictable. During this time, it is important to ensure that Veterans continue to be able to purchase a home. VA, the lender, and the appraiser will work together during this time to assist in the best possible outcome for the Veteran.

Purchase Transactions: Reconsideration of Values (ROV) for purchase transactions will be restricted to no greater than 7 percent from the appraiser’s opinion of value or $10,000 whichever is greater. An ROV may be requested when the value requested is greater than stated but the ROV amount must fall within the range of adjusted values in the sales grid of the appraisal or overwhelming evidence of appraisal error that impacts value.  The same criteria is required as outlined in VA Pamphlet 26-7, Chapter 10 Appraisal Process (NEW), Section 22. In addition, a field review by RLC staff will not be a completed in conjunction with the ROV request.

Cash-Out Refinance Transactions: VA will suspend ROV requests for cash-out refinance loans until further notice.

Memorandum of Values

In extreme cases when an appraiser is not available to complete an appraisal assignment for a purchase, VA has the authority and ability to issue a Memorandum of Value (MOV). This will be completed on a case-by-case basis.

Repair Inspections

Due to the lack of verification of completion by the appraiser or inspector that repair items have been completed, lenders have one of the two following options to supply to VA. This section applies to any and all loans regardless of the loan application date.

Lenders have the authority and are encouraged to certify repairs, especially repairs performed by licensed personnel, instead of an appraiser certification as outlined in the VA Pamphlet 26-7, Chapter 10 Appraisal Process (NEW), Section 23, Topic b. Repair certifications which may involve lead-based paint must still be completed by a fee appraiser; however, the lender can escrow for future inspection and costs with a third-party. Lenders may hold funds in escrow for repairs to be completed after closing.

All repairs must be completed and escrowed funds distributed before the loan may be guaranteed by VA as outlined in the VA Pamphlet 26-7, Chapter 12 Minimum Property Requirements (NEW), Section 44, Topic e. In addition, there must be adequate assurance that the work will be completed timely and satisfactorily (up to 180 days).

When a purchase transaction appraisal has found repairs, the lender has the option to close the loan when the Veteran accepts responsibility to complete the repairs within 180 days of the closing of the loan. This time may be extended if warranted. The home must be habitable by conventional standards. Re-inspection will be required at that time at the posted fees.

Termite Inspections

VA Pamphlet 26-7, Chapter 12 Minimum Property Requirements (NEW), Section 33, Topic b, requires a wood inspection report if the property is located in an area on the Termite Infestation Probability Map where the probability of termite infestation is “very heavy” or “moderate to heavy”.

Purchase Transactions: If there is no known or visible evidence of termite infestation present, the seller and realtor must provide a certification to that fact and the Veteran must acknowledge that no inspection was completed. VA recommends the Veteran to complete an inspection once the national emergency has ended. If there is known or visible evidence of termite infestation, a clear termite report must be provided within one year of close of escrow.

Cash-Out Refinance Transactions: The Veteran can provide a certificate of fact if there is no known or visible evidence of termite infestation present. If there is known or visible evidence of termite infestation, a clear termite report must be provided within one year of close of escrow.

Any Additional NOV Conditions

Any additional items that need to be met on the Notice of Value (NOV) to comply with VA requirements will have to be met in 180 days from the date of the NOV issuance. All conditions must be completed before the loan will be guaranteed by VA. Any clear and obvious minimum property requirement (MPR) related issues that would render the home uninhabitable will not be able to be issued a guaranty till all repairs are completed. The Veteran must acknowledge and accept any and all conditions not met prior to closing

Appraisers should continue to conduct business as outlined in Chapter 10 of the Lender’s Handbook.

Appraisers should contact the RLC of jurisdiction if they have been impacted by COVID-19 and are unable to complete an appraisal assignment. The email addresses for each of the RLCs are available at: https://www.benefits.va.gov/HOMELOANS/contact_rlc_info.asp.

USDA Guidance for Property inspections – Updated 03/30/20

The USDA Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program (SFHGLP) temporary exceptions pertaining to appraisals and repair inspections in relation to COVID-19 Pandemic are as follows:

Effective immediately, the following exceptions to HB-1-3555 are in effect for a period of 60-days.

Residential Appraisal Reports of Existing Dwellings

For purchase and non-streamlined refinance transactions, when an appraiser is unable to complete an interior inspection of an existing dwelling due to concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, an Exterior-Only Inspection Residential Appraisal Report (FHLMC 2055/FNMA 2055) will be accepted. In such cases, appraisers are not required to certify that the property meets HUD HB 4000.1 standards. The appraisal must be completed in accordance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Practice (USPAP) and the Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD).

This exception is not applicable to new construction properties or construction to permanent loans. As a reminder, appraisals are not required for streamlined and streamlined-assist refinance transactions.

Repair Inspections of Existing Dwellings

Loans for which a completion certification is not available due to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a letter signed by the borrower confirming that the work was completed is permitted. Lenders must also provide further evidence of completion, which may include photographs of the completed work, paid invoices indicating completion, occupancy permits, or other substantially similar documentation. All completion documentation must be retained in the loan file.