In the just concluded week, a bill that simplifies the appraisal process for mortgage loans issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was approved by the United States House of Representatives. The “Improving Access to the Veteran Affairs (V.A.) Home Loan Benefit Act of 2022,” also known as HR 7735, allows the V.A. to authorize desktop appraisals and, in some cases, waive appraisals entirely. In addition, V.A. appraisals have to be completed internally, which critics have long argued caused a costly and cumbersome procedure for veterans and service members.

The Mortgage Bankers Association stated that the bill, filed by Representative Mike Bost of Illinois, should make veterans more competitive homebuyers. According to MBA President and CEO Bob Broeksmit, the measure will promote significant changes to the agency’s regulations addressing when an appraisal is required, how appraisals are conducted, and who is qualified to conduct an evaluation.

Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska presented a similar bill in the Senate, which still needs approval.

This measure will allow for a modern, digital assessment procedure, which will hasten the process of getting veterans into their new houses and ensure that they are not unfairly penalized during the home buying process. In a statement, Bost stated.

The VA asserted that its readiness to accept different appraisals did not take the place of an appraiser’s evaluation of the proper scope of work and whether a desktop or exterior-only appraisal could provide a reliable report. The agency noted several restrictions, noting that the purchase price cannot exceed the conforming loan limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which are $970,800 for 2022. Lenders must also receive approval to participate in the V.A.’s Lender Appraisal Processing Program. To read more on this bill, click here.

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