Feature Article

Featured Article

Fannie Mae Frequently Asked Questions

Did you remember that Fannie Mae maintains a “Frequently Asked Questions” feature on its website. It was last updated May 15, 2015. It is only 11 pages with 46 questions. I highly recommend that you take a look at it. I bet you will find helpful information on it that you never knew before.

The following are a few of the FAQ’s:

Q7. Why does Fannie Mae require the lender to provide the sales contract to the appraiser?
Fannie Mae’s policy is intended to help ensure that the appraiser is aware of all relevant aspects of the transaction. The sales contract provides important sales and financing data, including whether there are any concessions as part of the transaction. If the contract is amended, the lender must provide the updated contract to the appraiser to ensure that the appraiser has been given the opportunity to consider any changes and their effect on value. If the appraiser determines that there is no impact to value, then no additional commentary is required from the appraiser.

Q11. Is it acceptable for an appraiser to obtain and provide the required interior photographs at the time of the inspection for the Appraisal Update and/or Completion Report (Form 1004D)?
Yes. If the property being appraised is proposed or at a stage of construction where the required photographs cannot be obtained, they may be obtained at the time of the inspection for the Certification of Completion and provided with the Form 1004D.

Q12. If an appraiser provides an Appraisal Update and reports an increased value, can the lender utilize the value increase to underwrite the loan in process?
No. The purpose of the Appraisal Update portion of the Form 1004D is to indicate whether the value has remained the same or decreased. If the value has increased, the lender would need to obtain a new appraisal that reflects the increase in value in order to utilize the higher appraised value in underwriting the loan.

Q17. Are the trends that are reported on the Market Conditions Addendum to the Appraisal Report (Form 1004MC) the same trends that are to be reported in the One-Unit Housing Trends section of the appraisal report (Form 1004)?
Yes. The conclusions regarding trends that are obtained from the Form 1004MC must be the same trends reported in the Neighborhood trends section of the Form 1004. The information reported on both forms must be consistent to provide the lender with a clear and accurate understanding of the market trends and conditions present in the subject neighborhood, based on properties that are considered competitive with the subject being appraised.

Q19. Will Fannie Mae accept a loan for which the lender has requested the appraiser to appraise only a portion of a larger piece of property?
No. Fannie Mae expects that the appraisal will reflect the value attributable to the entire property. It is important for the underwriter and Fannie Mae to fully understand the value of the entire property that is serving as security for the loan.

Q23. Are loans secured by unique or non-traditional homes eligible for delivery to Fannie Mae?
Yes. Fannie Mae does purchase loans secured by unique or non-traditional housing types, such as, but not limited to, log homes, earth berm homes, and geodesic domes, which can be located in all areas, including rural locations. Loans on these types of properties are eligible for delivery to Fannie Mae provided the appraiser has adequate information to develop a reliable opinion of market value.

Q30. What is expected with regard to the appraiser’s inspection of a property?
Fannie Mae requires that the appraiser conduct a complete visual inspection of the accessible areas of the interior and exterior of the property. The appraiser is responsible for noting in his/her report any adverse conditions (such as, but not limited to, needed repairs; deterioration; or the presence of hazardous wastes, toxic substances, or adverse environmental conditions) that were apparent during the inspection of the property or that he/she became aware of during the research involved in performing the appraisal. The appraiser is expected to consider and describe the overall condition and quality of the property and identify items that require immediate repair as well as items where maintenance may have been deferred and which may not require immediate repair. On the other hand, an appraiser is not responsible for hidden or unapparent conditions. In addition, Fannie Mae does not consider the appraiser to be an expert in all fields, such as environmental hazards. In situations where an adverse property condition may be observed by the appraiser but the appraiser is not qualified to decide whether that condition requires immediate repair (such as the presence of mold, an active roof leak, settlement in the foundation, etc.), the property must be appraised subject to an inspection by a qualified professional. In such cases, the lender may need to ask the appraiser to update his or her appraisal based on the results of the inspection, in which case the appraiser would incorporate the results of the inspection and measure the impact, if any, on his or her final opinion of market value.

Q33. Can the appraiser use comparable sales that closed over twelve months ago?
Yes. The best and most appropriate sales may not always be the most recent. A sale more than 12 months old may be more appropriate in situations when market conditions have impacted the availability of recent sales as long as the appraiser reflects the changing market conditions. Additionally, older comparable sales that are the best indicator of value for the subject property can be used if they are appropriate. For example, if the subject property is located in a rural area that has minimal sales activity, the appraiser may not be able to locate three truly comparable sales that sold within the last twelve months. In this case, the appraiser may use older comparable sales as long as he or she explains why they are being used.

Feature Article

Highlights: Harrison’s Complete UAD Guide
by Henry S Harrison

As of September 1st, 2011, appraisers will be required to make some significant changes in the way they prepare the URAR because Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, and the VA are going to require all appraisal reports be transmitted electronically in a standardized format. All URAR appraisal reports with an effective date on or after the first of September submitted to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac will have to meet the new Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) standards (and shortly for FHA and VA too).

The UAD requirements have been designed to allow appraisers to make appraisals that comply with the USPAP, and include everything the appraiser believes is necessary to make a credible appraisal as required by the USPAP. Appraisers should start making appraisals that meet UAD standards as soon as possible. To meet these highly specific requirements, they will need a form-fill input program sold by an approved software vendor. The software dealers in the appraisal industry are gearing up to make their program output coincide with the UAD requirements, and have it available soon so that appraisers have sufficient time to learn how to use the new UAD format.

The UAD is highly specific about the style, format and presentation of all data entered on the URAR. The biggest change, in my opinion, is that appraisers will no longer be able to use qualifiers such as “poor”, “fair”, “good” or “very good” in their property quality and condition ratings. Under UAD, only six quality ratings are feasible: Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, Q5 or Q6. Similarly, six precise condition ratings are provided: C1, C2, C3, C4, C5 or C6. Each of these ratings is defined by the UAD guidelines, and appraisers are not permitted to modify them with plus “+” or minus “-” signs, or any other modifier.

Interview with Henry S. Harrison

Interview with Henry S. Harrison
by his wife
Ruth Lambert, Editor, Real Estate Valuation Magazine Online

Henry - can you explain to our readers what you are working on now?
Henry (H2): For the past few weeks, we have been very involved with the birth of our 5th grandchild, Sterling Harrison Muchnick, born February 23rd. Now I am back at work on my latest book "Harrison's Complete UAD Guide for the URAR."

What is the UAD? How will it affect appraisers?
According to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (aka the GSEs), they "have developed the Uniform Mortgage Data Program (UMDP) to enhance the accuracy and quality of loan data delivered to each GSE. The Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) is a key component which defines all fields required for an appraisal submission on one of four standard appraisal forms, and standardizes definitions and responses for a key subset of fields." What this means is that soon Fannie and Freddie will no longer accept appraisals on paper — only electronic transmissions from the lenders. In addition, they will require that all these appraisals be formatted exactly as delineated in the UAD, or their computers will reject them.

Featured Article

The 5 Rules of Working From Home
based on an article by David Prince in Real Simple Magazine

How to structure your time, avoid distractions,
and keep yourself, your boss and your family happy.

1. Figure Out if It’s Right for You
If you thrive on the camaraderie of water cooler chitchat or are tempted to rush off to a sale at the mall without a watchful eye to tether you down, you probably aren’t the best candidate for working alone at home. Notes Tory Johnson in her book Fired to Hired ($14, Berkley Trade, add our AMAZON link here): “Many of us would opt to work from home. We think we'll save on childcare expenses and commuting time, but it isn’t for everyone.”

If you want to try telecommuting which is certainly gaining in acceptance, put your request in writing, address your communication strategy (e.g., your planned email and phone check-ins at specific times of day) and suggest that you and your company arrange a trial period. You may decide to telecommute just one day a week to start, or one week each month.

If you are a sole practitioner, learn about the legal aspects of self-employment at www.nolo.com, a website for small businesses. (To find out about health-care options by state, go to ehealthinsurance.com).

2. Set Up a Real Office
The most crucial factor in successful home-based work arrangements is creating a work-friendly environment. You need a dedicated, conducive, ergonomic, streamlined space. Don't imagine you can hunker down comfortably at your children's Play-Doh table, or the diningroom table.

When you sit at your desk, facing your computer or desk top workspace, be sure to follow these rules:

• Angle your pelvis so that it’s slightly open, to avoid back and hip pain.
• Keep your torso relaxed but erect.
• Rest your hands comfortably on the desktop with elbows at 90 degrees
• Keep your feet flat on the floor.


Feature Article

Highlights of Trip to China -- Oct. 21st - Nov. 5th, 2010

Henry S Harrison & Ruth Lambert

Recently, we returned from a 17 day trip to China. We have tried to capture in this article some of the highlights of our experience and what we learned about China. The article is divided into two parts. Part 1 summarizes what we saw and learned. Part 2 is a chronological day-by-day description of the trip, with many pictures.


China is a big country with a land area about the same as the US, with a gigantic population of over 1.3 billion people. Like the US, most of the action is in its coastal cities. Unlike the United States, China has only one coastline, on the East China Sea.