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NAR Goes to Capitol Hill on Appraisals for VA Home Loan Program

It’s no secret that a professional appraisal is key to getting a clear understanding of the home purchase. It’s an important part of ensuring that buyers pay a fair price for their new home, and buyers who utilize the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Home Loan Guaranty Program are no exception.

Realtors® took to Capitol Hill today to champion the good work happening at the VA, but also to warn Members of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs of the challenges facing appraisers who serve the Home Loan Guaranty Program.

Michelle Bradley, Immediate Past Chair of the National Association of Realtors® Real Property Valuation Committee, testified before the HVAC’s Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity to offer her expertise as a state-certified general real property appraiser. She told Members of the Committee that despite the good work happening within the program, regulatory burdens remain that need attention.

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“America’s veterans have been well-served for years by VA’s appraisal system, and professionals in the business should be proud of their good work,” Bradley said. “Unfortunately, that system is under tremendous pressure today.”

For over 70 years, the VA Home Loan Guaranty Program has served veterans and active duty service members with zero-down payment options and by encouraging private lenders to offer favorable terms on home loans.

Veterans made up 18 percent of homebuyers in a recent NAR survey, with over half of those buyers turning to a VA loan to finance their home purchase. That means getting the program right is important, but Bradley pointed out a number of impediments to continuing the current level of service.

“What we’ve found is that, among appraisers, there’s a real reluctance to work with the VA,” Bradley said. “Generally, appraisers are dissatisfied with the level of compensation they’re receiving for their work. It’s also harder than ever for trainees to enter the field, not just within the VA system but across the industry, which only adds to the perception of an appraiser shortage. This overall regulatory burden is a significant issue, and we have to turn things around.”

Despite these  challenges, Bradley sounded optimistic as she faced the Committee.

“What we have today isn’t perfect, but it’s an important part of ensuring veterans and active-service members are protected when using a VA home loan,” Bradley said. “NAR looks forward to working with the VA and Members of Congress to improve this system in the years to come.”

For more on the subject, NAR recently released fresh survey data from over 2,000 appraisers within the industry. That’s available online here: http://narnewsline.blogs.realtor.org/2017/03/16/appraiser-survey-shows-challenges-remain-for-practitioners/

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