Sunday, February 8, 2009

New Appraisal Guidelines

Fannie Mae, the quasi-governmental agency that buys bundled mortgages from mortgage lenders, issued new appraisal guidelines that went into effect January 1. For the most part, this is a good thing, and way overdue. Inflated appraisals are part of the reason house prices ballooned beyond reason.

Appraisers must now note incomplete additions and renovations, as well as conditions that affect the livability, soundness or structural integrity of the building. The property must be appraised subject to completion of the additions or needed repairs. This sure would have prevented me from closing a few sales last year.

The sales contract must be provided to the appraiser so the appraiser will know whether the seller is paying the buyer's closing costs or making repairs. These circumstances result in a lower net to the seller, and may result in a lower appraised value.

Now that 100% financing is no longer available, buyers with limited funds are routinely asking the seller to pay the buyer's closing costs and make repairs. So if a seller has to pay $4,000 in buyer's closing costs and $5,000 in repairs to get his house sold for $200,000, in effect, the sale price was $200,000 minus the seller concessions, or $191,000.

When there are no comparable sales near the property being appraised, and the appraiser has to look more than a mile away for "comps", the appraiser has to explain why the comps are outside the usual mile radius. The appraiser can not ignore nearby comps just because they are foreclosures or were sold under duress.

The appraiser must analyze market trends, and if home sale prices are declining in a neighborhood, time adjustments to the values of the "comps" may be required.

This is what the new appraisal form looks like.

No comments: