The coronavirus pandemic may be making in-person housing appraisals risky business, but instead of bringing mortgage lending to a halt, the industry is adapting. Directed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are relaxing the standards for property appraisals and verification of employment. Now, appraisers can use virtual sources such as property history and drive-by home visits as tools in the mortgage process. Though not ideal, the move will ensure that appraisers can continue to work remotely without risking their health.
Citing the extraordinary circumstances that the country is facing with the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Monday that it is directing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to ease their standards for both property appraisals and verification of employment.
The moves are part of a growing effort to “facilitate liquidity in the mortgage market during the coronavirus national emergency,” the FHFA said in an announcement.
According to the FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will use “appraisal alternatives to reduce the need for appraisers to inspect the interior of a home for eligible mortgages.” The issue of appraisers needing to inspect homes as part of the mortgage process has been a mounting concern as the virus has continued to spread throughout the nation.