Fannie Mae: Appraisals are no longer the default option: Value Acceptance replaces Appraisal Waiver

Fannie Mae updated its Selling Guide on March 1 to include more options for property valuations, saying that they are “moving away from implying that an appraisal is a default requirement.”  Those options include value acceptance (formerly appraisal waivers), value acceptance plus property data and hybrid appraisals.


Fannie Mae – No Appraisals Required – The End of Appraisers?

Hamp Thomas 12 minute video – my favorite commentary on this issue!

Fannie Mae took a direct shot at appraisers today with the announcement of changes in their Selling Guide. Two options for the future, both of which do great harm to the appraisal industry.

First, “third party” inspections. Appraisal trainees aren’t good enough, so now we will have unlicensed inspectors going through the homes of unsuspecting homeowners. And, with this inspection a traditional appraisal is no longer a requirement for the mortgage loan.

Secondly, the 3rd party inspection is sent to a licensed appraiser. FNMA wants an appraiser’s signature so the appraiser can be held responsible if there’s any problem in the future. Both options say they are good for consumers and both options are filled with fabrications and misinformation. At the end of it all, it’s about control and profits. Why trainees can’t provide the data is simply because big banking and AMC’s don’t make profit from the inspection part of the process.

If appraisers don’t stand up and say no, right now, the running joke of the appraisal industry could be gone in five years; well, it just very well may come true. Ok appraisers, it’s time to speak out and stand together.

The only reason for these changes are about a piece of the 11 TRILLION dollar mortgage market. And that’s the way it is – March 1, 2023.

To watch the video, click here

My comments: Worth watching the video. Call to Action. Hamp is an excellent speaker and teacher.


Fannie Statement: “Value acceptance + property data has arrived”

“This new option reduces cycle times and may reduce borrower costs, promotes safety and soundness by obtaining a current observation of the subject property, and provides operational simplicity and certainty at time of loan application.“

To read what Fannie says, click here


Link to Fannie SEL-2023-02: Selling Guide Updates PDF

To read more, click here

My comments: Lenders Are Happeeee! Those darn appraisers and appraisals have always taken too much time. Fannie sells their loans to investors. The more loans, the more money Fannie makes. I did not include links to what the happy lenders say. You already know.Clear the Tracks!

Fannie Wants Desktop Appraisals

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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To read more of this long blog post with many topics, click Read More Below!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on Non-lender appraisals, AMCs, unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.


Arizona House With a Quirky Boxcar Bunker Quickly Finds a Buyer

Excerpts: 4,091 square feet. 5 bedrooms. Horse Ranch.

It only took about two weeks for the ranch with the notorious railroad-car bunker to be claimed. An offer has been accepted on the Arizona landmark that was listed recently for $1.35 million.

Curious about that bunker? The old Santa Fe railroad cars were buried three to five feet deep on the property. The original intent was to use them as a fallout shelter, and they were once connected via tunnel to the main house.

Now they’ve taken on a clubhouse-type vibe. The boxcars are equipped with electricity, plumbing, a bathroom, bar that seats four, full-size pingpong table, and performance space for a small band—because you’ve got to have some kind of entertainment while hunkering down, right?

The tunnel is gone, but stairs and an above-ground entry were installed for easier access. No one knows exactly when the cars were buried, but it’s estimated to have been in the 1960s or early 1970s.

To read more and see lots of interesting/weird photos click here

My comments: I remember back in the 50s and 60s when many people were setting up fallout shelters from Nuclear attacks by Russia. Kids practiced drills by crouching under their desks. Many shelters are still there. This one is very creative!




VA Fee panel update – 1 hour video

A panel of AppraisaI Institute Professionals speak with VA Chief Appraiser James Heaslet on hot topics in appraisal. The 7 panelists were 5 SRAs and two MAI SRAs, including the AI president.

To watch the video, click here 1 hour 2-28-23

My comments: If you do VA appraisals, watch this video. If you don’t, I strongly recommend doing VA appraisals. It is the only lender appraisal provider I recommend. I have never done VA appraisals, but I wrote several articles about them and interviewed the VA chief appraiser and many VA fee appraisers, including some that did not like working for VA.

If you don’t do VA, see what their chief appraiser says. Very different from GSEs and AMCs! They want to help veterans and active military, not make more money.


How to get non-lender business by networking at meetings

You’ve finally decided to try to get non-lender work. But how do you contact potential clients and referral sources? One easy way is networking at meetings, such as the Chamber of Commerce, local bar associations, real estate agent meetings, appraiser meetings, etc.

All my business is from referrals (50%) or my website (50%). How did I accomplish getting so many referrals? Networking at meetings.

When I started my business in 1986, I always emphasized that I lived and worked in Alameda, California. When someone is looking for an appraiser here, my name almost always comes up. I spoke at the weekly sales meetings at all the local real estate companies.

I am usually the only appraiser at the meetings.

I have lots of practical tips on “How to work a room” The techniques are well known by sales people, but few appraisers use them.

To read more about this topic, plus 2+ years of previous issues, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today.

If this article helped you get one more appraisal, it is worth the subscription price!


Clients and AMCs Say the Darndest Things

By: McKissock


A student contacted me with the following dilemma concerning an Appraisal Management Company (AMC) request: “I told the Management Company that I cannot mark the Zoning Compliance as ‘Legal’ if the report is marked “as-is,” because this would not be true for the current “as-is” condition of the subject on the effective date of the appraisal. The AMC insists that as long as I disclose in the addendum that the zoning is currently ‘illegal,’ then I can mark on the first page as ‘Legal.’”

This is nothing new. Another student reported that in 2010 (after HVCC was void) a lender client told an appraiser they could not order appraisals directly with appraisers anymore…that they must use a third party. I forwarded the question to The Appraisal Foundation for an official answer, and the response clarified there was no such requirement, which I forwarded back to the appraiser. After he sent the email volley to the lender, they fired the AMC they were using and went back to using the appraiser who had asked the question.

How does an appraiser deal with the “ignorance” (a lack of education, training, or knowledge…a person who is ignorant is one who is uninformed, or is unaware of a subject or fact)? Don’t argue with them. Instead, email HUD directly and get the correct answer in writing. Then forward that answer on to the client/AMC.

To read more, click here

My comments: Worth reading. Lots of practical advice. Appraising would be great if it wasn’t for those darn clients ;> Yes, I do get strange questions in non-lender appraising.


Mortgage Lending In Q4 Hit Lowest Point Since 2014

Refinance mortgage originations hit low point this century.

Excerpts: Key Takeaways

  • In the fourth quarter of 2022, 1.52 million mortgages were originated, the fewest since the first quarter of 2014.
  • Home purchase mortgages fell 26% in the fourth quarter from the previous quarter.
  • Refi activity fell 27% quarter over quarter.
  • HELOCs fell 16%.

In the fourth quarter of 2022, 1.52 million mortgages secured by residential properties (1 to 4 units) were originated in the United States, the fewest since the first quarter of 2014, according to a new report from ATTOM.

The curator of land, property, and real estate data released its fourth-quarter 2022 U.S. Residential Property Mortgage Origination Report, which found that total originations fell 24% from the third quarter — the seventh consecutive quarterly decline — and 55% from a year earlier, the largest annual decline since at least 2001.

To read more, click here

My comments: There are options for appraisers. Contact all your previous, current and prospect AMCs. Consider non-lender work. Learn how to use your appraisal software, take useful classes to increase your skill level, not just low-priced “for credit”, and many more options.


Las Vegas Mansion With a Custom-Designed Italian Streetscape $6,500,00

Excerpts: This custom-designed mansion will immediately transport you to Italy with its replica of a charming Italian street. From the storefront cafes to the fountain and cobblestone street, the outdoor retreat of the sprawling, 9,771-square-foot home offers a sweet taste of Italy.

Price: $6,500,000

6 bed, 7.5+ bath, 9,771 sqft, 0.55 acre lot

The sellers are said to have loved Italy so much they wanted to re-create a taste of the place in their own backyard. Inside the nearly 10,000-square-foot home, luxury finishes include mahogany wood floors, an elevator that leads to a home theater, and a chef’s kitchen complete with a Miele espresso machine.

To see the MLS listing with 71 photos, virtual tour, and more, Click here 

My comments: How would you value this, or even figure out what to do with the square footage? What is included by the listing agent in the square footage above?HOW TO USE THE NUMBERS BELOW. Appraisals are ordered after the loan application. These numbers tell you the future for the next few weeks. For more information on how they are compiled, click here.
Note: I publish a graph of this data every month in my paid monthly newsletter, Appraisal Today. For more information or get a FREE sample go to Or call 510-865-8041, MTW, 7 AM to noon, Pacific time.

My comments: Rates are going up and down. Some appraisers are very busy, and others have little work. Varies widely around the country.


Mortgage applications increased 7.4 percent from one week earlier

Mortgage applications increased 7.4 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 3, 2023.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 7.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 9 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 9 percent from the previous week and was 76 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 7 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 9 percent compared with the previous week and was 42 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates continued to increase last week. The 30-year fixed rate rose to 6.79 percent – the highest level since November 2022 and 270 basis points higher than a year ago,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “Even with higher rates, there was an uptick in applications last week, but this was in comparison to two weeks of declines to very low levels, including a holiday week. Comparing the application indices from a year ago, purchase applications were still down 42 percent, and refinance activity was down 76 percent. Many borrowers are waiting on the sidelines for rates to come back down.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 28.9 percent of total applications from 28.7 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 8.6 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 12.8 percent from 12.0 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 12.0 percent from 11.6 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.5 percent from the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($726,200 or less) increased to 6.79 percent from 6.71 percent, with points increasing to 0.80 from 0.77 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $726,200) increased to 6.49 percent from 6.44 percent, with points increasing to 0.59 from 0.49 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 6.56 percent from 6.45 percent, with points increasing to 1.21 from 1.19 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 6.25 percent from 6.13 percent, with points increasing to 1.01 from 0.93 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 5.75 percent from 5.73 percent, with points increasing to 0.95 from 0.86 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

Upon receiving revised data from one of our participants, MBA has revised the results of its Weekly Applications Survey (WAS) for seven weeks, from week ending 1/13/2023 to 2/24/2023. This week’s results are compared to the revised results from the week ending 2/24/2023.

The survey covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks, and thrifts. Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100.


Ann O’Rourke, MAI, SRA, MBA

Appraiser and Publisher Appraisal Today

1826 Clement Ave. Suite 203 Alameda, CA 94501

Phone 510-865-8041


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