Someone found this blog through a search yesterday by typing in the following: “Can a Realtor also be an Appraiser?” In case the answer was not found, I wanted to chime in briefly. The answer is “yes”. It is entirely legal for an appraiser to be a real estate broker, Realtor, loan officer or whatever else he/she wants to be. The key though is that the appraiser can only act as an appraiser when appraising. When working as a Realtor, the appraiser takes off his/her appraiser hat and wears the Realtor hat and makes sure to keep the two trades separate. An appraiser who is a Realtor cannot be doing appraisals for his/her own deals either because there would be a big conflict of interest, don’t you think?
If you have been following real estate trends in the Greater Sacramento Region, you have probably noticed that overall there have been fewer foreclosure listings over the past few months and therefore an increased demand for bank-owned properties (resulting in multiple offers and many times offers over asking price). Banks have been holding on to some of their distressed inventory and not releasing these properties on the market. Well, it looks like a moratorium for 90 days may go into effect today per CBS 13 in Sacramento. All of us in the real estate industry have expected a wave of foreclosures to hit the market for many months now, but it looks like that won’t happen for at least another 90 days. Investors, clients and agents have been telling me that this wave would come in March, but then the buzz was June, and then July, and maybe now September. We shall see. What do you think of this?
What does it take for a property to meet minimum FHA requirements? This is a very important question because FHA loans have become extremely popular in the Greater Sacramento Region, especially among first-time buyers.
FHA is primarily concerned that everything in a house functions properly and that there are no health and safety issues. As an FHA approved real estate appraiser, the inspections I do are based upon guidelines from the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). Here is a sample of some of the things I look for while on an inspection:
- Appliances must be in functional use. If there is a hood, it must work. If there is a dishwasher it must work. If there is a stove, it must work…
- The heating unit must be in working order (and AC if applicable)
- Paint must not be chipping, peeling, or flaking on homes built before 1978. There must be no defective paint or exposed wood for properties built after 1978. If there is an issue with paint, it needs to be cured properly by actually scraping the paint instead of just painting over with new paint.
- The water pressure must be adequate for the house. Appraisers flush toilets, turn on all faucets and ensure that both hot and cold water are working.
- The water heater must be in working order.
- The attic must be inspected and we make sure that there are vents, no evidence of a previous fire, no exposed or frayed wires, and that sunlight is not beaming through.
- Attics and crawlspaces are to be viewed at least with head and shoulders into them (if present)
- The crawl space must be inspected and we make sure there is not excessive debris or signs of standing water or any other foundation support issues.
- Electrical outlets must work.
- Toilets must flush and be mounted
- No leaks in the roof.
- The carpet does not have to be perfect (stains or minor tears okay). If there is a health or safety issue with the flooring, then that is a red flag.
- A house does not need new interior paint.
- Windows cannot be broken. Cracks can be okay so long as there is not an issue with safety, soundness and security.
- No dangling wires from missing fixtures.
- Water heaters must be properly attached with straps (local code says that water heaters need to be strapped and FHA requires water heaters to meet code).
- Stoves are not required unless they are drop in stoves.
- FHA doesn’t require air conditioning, insulation, smoke detectors or the like, but if they are there they must work as they were intended.
Please let me know if you have any questions. I am glad to help buyers, agents, brokers and anyone else know more about FHA standards and the appraisal process. The great thing about FHA loans too is that the buyer, agent or broker can readily choose whatever appraiser he/she wants because HUD is not bound by HVCC (this is a new law that basically means that brokers and loan officers cannot directly order appraisals from real estate appraisers when the loan is geared toward Fannie Mae). You are welcome to contact me (Ryan) at 916-595-3735 or LundquistCompany@gmail.com
Dear Local Buyers & Agents in the Greater Sacramento Region-
The Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC) is a new law that went into effect on May 1, 2009. What this law aims to do is eliminate pressure from loan departments on appraisers to arrive at a certain conclusion of value. One of the biggest changes since HVCC took root is that loan departments can no longer directly communicate with the appraiser about value-related issues and so they must use an appraisal management company (middle man who takes away part of the appraiser’s fee) or work out some other arrangement to have an in-house department that handles appraisal ordering. As you can imagine, this has certainly changed business for many appraisers as well as loan officers and banks because many of our business contacts are no longer viable sources of connection for doing business. Everyone is adjusting and there are many people who are unhappy at the process.
THE GOOD NEWS though is that when FHA financing is being used, the buyer, agent or broker can readily choose whatever appraiser he/she wants because HUD is not bound by HVCC. In a market full of FHA financing, it is still possible then to work with any appraiser you want to.
NOTE: Home owners, lawyers, investors and others can hire a real estate appraiser any time they want to. If the purpose of the appraisal is not a loan geared toward Fannie Mae (eventually sold to them), then the Home Valuation Code of Conduct DOES NOT apply at all. There has been some confusion on this matter since May 1, 2009, but the truth is that HVCC only applies to loans that may eventually be sold to Fannie Mae. I do appraisals for estate settlement, divorce, property tax appeal, bankruptcy, second opinion of value, home-repair loan programs, litigation and other purposes that have nothing to do with a loan geared toward Fannie Mae. Thankfully in these cases I am able to work directly with home owners, investors, agents or local governmental agencies among others.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you.
Your local appraiser,