VA appraisals

VA Loan Appraisals: What’s The Difference Between The VA Appraiser and the Bank’s Staff Appraisal Reviewer?

April 13, 2011


VA Loan Appraisals: What’s The Difference Between The VA Appraiser and the Bank’s Staff Appraisal Reviewer?

When a borrower chooses a home to be purchased with a VA insured mortgage, the property must be appraised so it can be assigned fair market value and a loan amount can be determined. But the process isn’t as simple as having the appraiser look over the home, write a report and submit it to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The appraisal report is reviewed by the lender first before it is passed along to the VA.

In fact, VA rules say the lender must certify the appraisal has been reviewed in writing, complete with a signature from the lender’s staff appraisal reviewer. This requirement insures the lender is kept “in the loop” as part of the appraisal process and also to give the lender a way to voice any disagreement with the appraisal (which must be enclosed as a separate document). It could also be viewed a way to hold the lender responsible, if needed, to prevent alteration or mishandling of the appraisal.

The lender’s staff appraisal reviewer must certify, sign and date a statement that basically says, “I reviewed this appraisal report to determine the acceptability of the property for VA Loan Guaranty purposes in light of VA minimum property requirements and the appropriateness, completeness, consistency and accuracy of the fee appraiser’s reasonable value determination.

In completing this administrative review, I’m performing a due diligence function and not acting as, or taking the responsibility of, a cosigner of the report or supervisory appraiser. Any disagreements or comments, etc., resulting from the administrative review of this appraisal are fully explained on the attachment to this report.”

The last line of that paragraph is especially important. The lender’s staff appraisal reviewer is in no way part of the actual appraisal process. That includes acting as a supervisor, overseer or editor of the report. The appraiser’s judgement cannot be altered in any way. The lender has recourse to disagree with the report, but that disagreement must be filed as an additional document or attachment rather than part of the appraisal document itself.

According to VA rules, the lender’s appraisal reviewer “should not sign, initial or make any comments or adjustments anywhere on the appraisal report.” The lender’s staff appraisal reviewer has an important part of the appraisal process, but does not influence or change the appraiser’s work in any way before it is filed with the VA for further action.

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