Coronavirus and Appraisers: Your Questions Answered
How Does the Coronavirus Impact Appraisers?
In response to the growing concerns about COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus, The Appraisal Foundation is providing this assistance to help Appraisers respond to the coronavirus's potential impact on the profession.
Most important is to stay up to date on developments as they are occurring rapidly. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is providing daily, even hourly updates. Click here for the CDC’s website. Check the website often.
The Appraisal Foundation is not a public health authority. Our assistance only applies to the impact on the profession. For public health information, the public health authorities leading on this issue are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization .
My state has declared a lock down for all non-essential services. Are appraisers in my state defined as an a non-essential service or an essential service?
Your state appraisal regulator is in the best position to answer this question. The Appraisal Subcommittee has contact information for all state regulators on its website. Click here for all state regulator contact information.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued guidance that recognizes “Residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services” as being part of the “Essential Critical Infrastructure” workforce. Click here to read the guidance. If a state recognizes this guidance real estate appraisal services performed outside a home office may be allowed to continue with adequate precautions in place. States that recognize this guidance include California, Idaho, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, and Ohio. We are also linking to the all the statewide stay-at-home or non-essential business closures. Click here .
Will the continuing education cycle be extended and will distance education be expanded?
The Appraiser Qualifications Board and the Appraisal Subcommittee are working together to offer relief wherever possible during this unprecedented national emergency.
On March 18, 2020, the AQB released recommendations to the ASC regarding appraiser continuing education. Click here to read this letter.
On May 15, 2020, the AQB sent an additional letter to the ASC asking for flexibility for appraisers whose qualifying exams have been disrupted by the ongoing pandemic. Click here to read this letter.
On June 19, 2020, the AQB sent an additional letter to the ASC asking for flexibility for continuing education opportunities amid the pandemic. Click here to read this letter.
On September 21, 2020, the AQB sent a letter to the ASC recommending flexibility for continuing AND qualifying education courses until December 31, 2021. Click here to read this letter.
Will appraiser exams still be offered at this time?
The AQB-approved exam administrators, AMP, PSI and Pearson VUE, are doing their best to continue offering exams at this time, and they have upgraded safety procedures. To get the most up-to-date information for each test administrator, click on these links: AMP, PSI and Pearson Vue. AMP has not provided updated safety procedures at the time. We will link to them as soon as they do.
Are appraisers required to perform interior inspections of real property during a national health emergency?
These organizations have issued the following guidance:
Appraisal Standards Board
The ASB provides updated guidance on interior inspections during a national health emergency. In addition, the ASB has issued guidance on completing a desktop or exterior-only appraisal, but reporting the results using a GSE form designed for an appraisal with an interior and exterior inspection. Learn how to add proper disclosure and not be misleading. Read the guidance. The Board has also issued guidance for Personal Property Appraisers - click here to read.
The ASB issued guidance on appraisers' receiving interior photos, video, or other technology-based view(s) of the subject, and whether they can state that they performed an interior inspection - click here to read.
Fannie Mae issued Lender Letter LL-2020-04 providing temporary guidance on appraisal requirements and completion reports, including allowing exterior-only and desktop appraisals for many transactions. Read the letter on Fannie Mae's COVID-19 page here .
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac released Frequently Asked Questions related to their temporary guidance - click here to read.
Freddie Mac is revising its appraisal inspection and reporting requirements. Freddie Mac will accept either an appraisal with an exterior-only inspection or a desktop appraisal under certain conditions. Read Freddie Mac's temporary appraisal flexibilities on its bulletin page here .
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
FDIC has compiled a list of FAQs, which answers questions about inspections (Answer # 12) and Appraisals (Answer # 13). Read the FAQs here . Click here to read FDIC's entire COVID-19 webpage.
Federal Housing Administration
FHA released a new Mortgagee Letter announcing guidance for property appraisals that can be done through either exterior-only inspections or desktop-only appraisals. Read the Mortgagee Letter here . FHA has also posted a Q&A on COVID-19. Click here to read.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
The VA issued a letter providing guidance on appraisal requirement for VA loans. Click here to read the letter. The VA also issued guidance modifying the appraisal report for desktop appraisals. Click here to read the letter.
USDA Rural Development
USDA Rural Development announced it is granting lenders temporary exceptions pertaining to appraisals, repair inspections and income verification for the Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program. Click here to read the announcement.
What is the status of The Appraisal Foundation’s Meetings?
The AQB Certified USPAP Instructor Course originally scheduled for March 26 to 29 has been postponed to July 26 to 28. The Foundation will be deferring your registration fee until the July meeting. Please check with your airline directly as many are offering waivers for travelers with reservations in March and April. If no waivers are offered, you will need to cancel your reservation. The Foundation is working directly with the Embassy Suites about the future arrangements. Right now, you need to cancel your current hotel reservation. When all the details are finalized, the Foundation will immediately notify course registrants about rebooking hotel and flight arrangements.
The originally scheduled Appraiser Qualifications Board public meeting on May 15 will now be a virtual meeting starting at 1:00 PM Eastern. Hear the latest information from the Foundation, the Appraisal Standards Board and the Appraiser Qualifications Board. Topics will include updated on the AQB's recent activities and an updated on crisis-related guidance such recommendations concerning distance learning and extension of continuing education cycle. Click here to read the AQB's letter. To register to watch this virtual meeting, click here .
The AARO/Foundation Steering Committee has cancelled the 2020 Investigator Training course series. Anyone registered for these courses has received notification of the change and instructions on how to get reimbursed for airline fees that they weren’t able to get credited/refunded. The Steering Committee will reassess the situation over the summer. At that time a decision will be made on whether or not to offer the Level I course on September 14-16 in Tampa, FL. We will notify you of any such decision. At this time, there is no intent to hold Levels II and III in 2020.
For more information about the status of the future meetings, pleases check back here.
Are there Unique Issues That the Coronavirus Presents to the Appraisal Profession?
Just as other real estate professionals, appraisers must be mindful of their obligations under the Fair Housing Act, and be sure not to discriminate against any particular segment of the population. While the coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, that does not provide a basis for treating Chinese persons or persons of Asian descent differently.
Is there anything else Appraisers should do?
Yes. Do not panic, stay informed, and use your best judgment. The situation is rapidly changing, so focus on putting policies and procedures in place to keep your clients informed.