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Senate Passes VA Appraisal Modernization Measure

The U.S. Senate has announced the passage of HR 7735, the Improving Access to the VA Home Loan Benefit Act of 2022.

Under the terms of HR 7735, sponsored by Sen. Dan Sullivan and Rep. Mike Bost, the VA will be required to:

  • Issue certification requirements for appraisers;
  • Execute minimum property requirements;
  • Review the process for selecting and reviewing comparable sales;
  • Implement quality control processes;
  • Establish the Assisted Appraisal Processing Program; and
  • Establish the use of waivers or other alternatives to existing appraisal processes.

“MBA applauds the Senate for passing—by unanimous consent—this bill that helps to ensure our nation’s servicemembers, veterans, and their families have access to more affordable, sustainable homeownership opportunities through the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Home Loan Program,” said Bob Broeksmit, CMB, President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). “The enactment of this MBA-endorsed legislation will now help streamline the home buying process for veterans and their families by requiring the VA to update its home appraisal rules and program guidelines. To the benefit of buyers and lenders, the VA will now be required to encourage hybrid appraisals, employ emerging technologies, and revisit policies on property inspection waivers, minimum property requirements, and comparable sales.”

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.

“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 Dan 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.”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 7735 back in mid-September, and now moves on to the desk of President Biden for his signature.

“We commend the bill’s author, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member Mike Bost, and the Senate companion’s lead sponsors, Senators Dan Sullivan and Jacky Rosen, for introducing and helping to pass the proposal in a broad, bipartisan manner in both the House and Senate,” added Brokesmit. “MBA also commends current House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano, and the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman and Ranking Member, Jon Tester and Jerry Moran, for the key roles they played to help advance HR 7735.”

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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