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New Appraisal System Impacts Consumer

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By : Justin Lee    99 or more times read
The HVCC or Home Valuation Code of Conduct was recently implemented by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as a new system of appraisals in the U.S. Under the rules, many of the appraisals are handled by management companies (some of which are also owned by the lenders themselves). The system is designed to reduce fraud and lower costs with an improved appraisal.

This new system has numerous flaws and has been widely criticized from both the Appraisal Institute (which represents over 20,000 appraisers nationwide), and the National Association of Realtors.

Some of the major criticisms include:

Homeowners don't choose who they want to complete the appraisal of their home or how they calculate the value. The appraisal management companies are actually unregulated and the quality of their appraisals may be inferior to those of an established professional appraiser.

The costs are actually increased since the appraisal management companies charge extra for their role. Typically, an appraiser charges approximately $325, but when consigned by the management company they only receive about $200. The customer is charged $400 and must pay up front for the appraisal instead of during closing. If the deal doesn't go through, the consumer absorbs the cost and the management company still pockets the extra charge.

There doesn't seem to be any fee management and the costs for appraisals have increased dramatically. As reported by the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, one lender, EverBank, advertised its fees as follows: $465 for GHA appraisals and $390 for standard single family appraisals. Flat fees in Hawaii are a hefty $700.

The new system is being extended to FHA mortgages, even though they are not included under the new code of rules.

This new regulation increases the overall closing time and the waiting time before the customer can receive funds.

Appraisal portability is also decreased since each lender will require a new appraisal.

Small business appraisers will be squeezed out even though they may have a better knowledge of the area and may be considerably more qualified than the employees of the designated unregulated appraisal management company. This removes competition and equitable pricing guidelines for the consumer. The larger management companies will distribute orders through a central area which may be located hundreds of miles from the property being appraised. The chances of the consumer of receiving a below standard appraisal by employees who are not familiar with the area are increased.

The HVCC was never required to pass through the Administrative Procedures Act, the regulatory Flexibility Act or any other procedural filter generally required by a federal agency. There are some that consider the HVCC code invalid and unenforceable due to its failure to comply to the Administrative Procedures Act.

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) regulates the the way lenders and mortgage brokers close a sale and do business. The HVCC is in violation of rules against up-charging and fee-splitting. Every lender could leave themselves open to a possible HUD lawsuit on each loan they issue.

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