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House Passes Bill to Modernize VA Loan Appraisals

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed HR 7735, Improving Access to the VA Home Loan Benefit Act of 2022, a measure that would direct the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to update their regulations on appraisals. They would be required to consider when an appraisal is not necessary, and when a desktop appraisal should be utilized.

Introduced by Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois, HR 7735 would enhance VA’s home loan program by streamlining the home buying process for veterans and their families. HR 7735 would ease the home buying process by allowing the nation’s veterans to use the same modern purchaser tools that non-veteran buyers already use.

The VA home loan program has afforded millions of servicemembers, veterans, and their families the opportunity to become homeowners, a benefit that has empowered U.S. veterans with the resources they need to purchase, retain, and adapt homes at a competitive interest rate, and helps to ease the transition from active duty to civilian life. While VA’s home loan program has historically performed well and assisted many nationwide in achieving homeownership, it has not kept pace with today’s homebuying practices in certain ways. Veterans using a VA home loan are required to have an in-person appraisal performed by a VA-approved appraiser prior to purchasing their home. However, there are often lengthy wait times for the relatively few VA-approved appraisers to become available to perform these appraisals, resulting in in veterans being forced to wait longer to complete the homebuying process, and move into their new home.

“The bill will encourage important reforms to the agency’s requirements regarding when an appraisal is necessary, how appraisals are conducted, and who is eligible to conduct an appraisal,” said Bob Broeksmit, CMB, President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). “This legislation is an important first step towards broad modernization of VA appraisal processes and could make veterans’ home purchase offers more viable in today’s competitive housing market.”

Now that HR 7735 has passed the house, its companion bill in the Senate, S4208, the Improving Access to the VA Home Loan Act of 2022, introduced in May 2022 by Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska awaits passage.

“VA home loans have given millions of veterans and their families the opportunity to purchase a home,” said Rep. Bost. “Yet, on average, veterans wait longer and pay more during the closing process due to VA’s out-of-date appraisal requirements. That’s why I am introducing the Improving Access to the VA Home Loan Act of 2022 with my friend, Senator Sullivan. This bill will make sure that veterans are not unfairly disadvantaged during the home buying process and allow for a modern, digital appraisal process, which will get them into their new home faster.”

In addition to HR 7735, the House passed four additional pieces of legislation impacting veterans, including:

“The Mortgage Bankers Association commends Ranking Member Bost for introducing legislation (HR 7735) designed to modernize the VA home loan program appraisal process,” said Bill Killmer, SVP of Legislative and Political Affairs at MBA. “VA home loans represent one of the most important benefits our nation’s veterans earn through their selfless service to our country. This bill will accelerate the process of updating VA’s rules and program guidelines governing home appraisals, which holds the potential to make veterans’ offers more viable in a still-competitive housing market.”

Click here to view the entire text of HR 7735, Improving Access to the VA Home Loan Benefit Act of 2022.

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.
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