With features including no required down payment or minimum credit score, the Department of Veterans Affairs mortgage guarantee program is a popular home finance choice for servicemembers and lenders alike. That trend continues in 2015, when 14 markets had more than $1 billion in VA mortgage lending during the first half of the year, compared to just five during the same time in 2014. From the Capitol region to Southern California – and many places in between – here’s a look at the top 10 markets for VA mortgage lending. The data, from RealtyTrac, is based on metropolitan statistical areas ranked by total VA originations during the first half of 2015, along with the year-over-year increase for that market.

My comment: Still not doing VA appraisals? They are the only client I know that has stated fees and no big hassles, scope creep, etc. I have an article on how to get on the VA panel, the plusses and minuses, etc. I spent a lot of time interviewing VA employees and fee appraisers. “VA is looking for fee appraisers! C/R fees and no AMCs!!” Read this article before applying for the panel or to find out why you can’t seem to get on the panel.It is in the June 2014 issue of Appraisal Today, available free to all paid subscribers.

From this week’s MBA loan volume report:

The FHA share of total applications is 13.7. The VA share of total applications is 10.8 percent . I have no idea why so many appraisers don’t want to work for VA but do FHA appraisals with the considerable inspection requirements!!

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  1. I would love to get on the panel but unfortunately I have operating solo for near 20 years and do not get enough exposure with other appraisers to get the letters of recomendation. Are there any alternative ways to get this

    • try former class teachers and reviewers who have seen your appraisals. good luck!

  2. Contacted the VA for a panel position to do appraisals in CA. Jumped through all the hoops (application, resume, samples, letters of recommendation, etc) and after several weeks they finally told me they we’re putting appraisers on for their CA panel. Asked them why they didn’t say this at the beginning of the process and save everyone the hassle…their reply was NOTHING. I sent them an email saying thanks for nothing and their flippant reply was “Your welcome”.

    • It is always good to ask before applying. Keep calling back to see when they are taking new applications. Totally different than applying for AMC panel – are you licensed?

    • I waited two years on a wait list to get appointed to the panel. I know people who have waited nearly five years. It’s absolutely worth the wait, too bad you couldn’t exercise a little patience to see how things would pan out.

  3. Yes, VA cases have increased to the point the veterans are targets for brokers. At 100% financing, no cash out of pocket, easy mark for agents to ‘over-sell’ a property. The new VA administration seems to be a lot like immigration policy “rules, what rules?” no crawlspace vents? it’ll be ok, knob and tube wiring – nothing wrong with that, they WILL throw you under that bus. Contract isn’t supported? just use the sales from elsewhere that the ‘real estate professionals’ want you to use. Don’t agree to use them? Now you can spend the next 2 weeks defending your appraisal with in depth market data to show your work. It does not matter that you can, and do, prove why you don’t use the brokers sales, typically from superior markets (ie new construction for a 40 yo subject, 2 story subject won’t work? use ranch comps, urban subject won’t work? use rural sales etc.).
    The new administration appears to be looking for the realtor/broker advocacy appraiser. If you were trained as I was (back in the 80’s) and have kept up with the industry standards, we are to be independent. I was so happy that Dodd-Frank defined the appraiser independence as crucial. I thought this was finally going to allow appraisers to do ‘the job’.
    I say they are looking for the realtor/broker advocacy appraiser because when they get a complaint then you are doing it wrong. In my opinion and experience it appears that if you do not advocate for the broker and the contract, they (broker) first accuse you of costing the veteran tens of thousands of dollars in grants, then accuse of you of being an advocate for the veteran. I respect and support veterans, as I am one myself, but the only thing that I am an advocate for in real estate, is my report. All the brokers have to do is accuse. According to emails I have that were sent to the VA from brokers, they just have to keep at it and complain that you aren’t using ‘their comps’. It doesn’t matter that you haven’t done anything wrong, you will still spend 2 full weeks on each report.
    I do not care who is selling, buying, listing, financing. If the buyer wants to bite off more than they can chew, and the lender wants to provide that, that business is all them, it does not effect my report. No matter how well your report is supported, reasonable and rational. All brokers are having to do is get one of ‘those’ appraisers, you know who they are, to provide an appraisal, which is blindly accepted, as ‘evidence’. Now the veteran is already upside down in their mortgage and one more thing to deal with in addition to whatever else in their life is affecting them (PTSD, depression, night terrors, etc) just so the broker has that commission. Am I surprised? Considering how the veterans are treated in the VA hospital system. No, and it does sadden me.
    I have taken pride that I am able to provide truly independent and honest services for veterans. Attempting to keep their real estate transaction fair and honest from over zealous brokers and the greed within the real estate industry. I find it interesting that the VA is giving more weight to sales people, with no liability or accountability, than those who actually study and analyze the market, in essence putting the appraiser in the position to accept their liability, leaving the broker free to say ‘ well it appraised out’. Keep your E&O up to speed!
    The VA RLC has changed, the new administration is like those AMC’s that are owned by the lender, who are in turn controlled by the broker (if you don’t make the deal work we won’t bring our clients to you). In my opinion, the last of the truly appraiser independent entities has turned from the path. This is Illinois (the worst of the worst) I can only hope and pray it is better elsewhere in the country, for the veterans sake (unfortunately the VA RLC covers multiple states). Seeing the reports by ‘those’ appraisers, they would have to take a cut in pay to be on the fee panel. Take this as you will, an opportunity or a warning. It’s YOUR license.
    Talk about it, I want to see what you have to say,

  4. t/hanks for your comments… from someone who has been on the VA Roster for a long time!!

  5. I have been on the VA Roster 35 years. I prefer VA work, no AMC’s, the fee is set and best of all, my region (Denver) backs up their appraisers, they provide guidance . Best staff to work with as they understand the region and the appraisal problems that occur in this area.

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