Buyers Lose Offers, Pay More Thanks to New HVCC Appraisal Rules
The new Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC) rules that went into effect May 1, 2009 were supposed to protect consumers purchasing and refinancing homes by eliminating fraud and inflated appraisals. But the new appraisal rules are having a completely different and negative effect. They have made buying real estate harder and more expensive for home buyers. And it’s not only buyers getting hurt – it’s sellers, appraisers, real estate agents and lenders.
I’m not going to go into detail as to how the new process works here on this post. For a great explanation of that, check out Chris Griffith’s post entitled, “The HVCC Wal-Mart Effect”.
What I am going to discuss is how buying and selling real estate has changed since the new rules went into effect. Let’s take a look at real life examples involving either my or fellow agent’s clients…
Real life example #1: Appraisals are coming in low. And sometimes ridiculously low. Buyers who don’t have a hidden stash of thousands of dollars to make up the difference between the appraised value and purchase price are left to try and convince the seller to lower their purchase price. Any seller and their listing agent who knows the local real estate market and values will know that the appraisal is not accurate and tell the buyer to take a hike (in this market, there’s another ready, willing and able buyer nearby).
This just cost the buyer the chance to buy a home they love and they have to start back at square one. The seller has to go back on market in order to avoid losing thousands of dollars thanks to an inaccurate appraisal.
Real life example #2: Many Listing Agents and sellers no longer want to see FHA or VA financing on an offer. They’re either taking lower offers that are doing conventional financing or flat out saying, “No FHA or VA financing.”
Buyers with FHA or VHA financing are getting their offers rejected or can’t even submit an offer on many properties.
Real life example #3: Based on the average time from contract to settlement date (30 to 45 days), buyers are locking in their interest rates, setting up movers, contractors, turning in notices to their landlords, terminating leases, etc. As little as only 1 week before settlement date, the appraisal is nowhere to be found. Sometimes, not even the appraiser is anywhere to be found. Either the appraiser has to be hunted down or another appraisal has to be ordered. Either way, settlement is delayed.
To the buyer, this could lead to their rate lock expiring and their interest rate becomes higher than at the time of contract. It could also mean that they now have to pay a penalty for rescheduling movers, contractors, the lease termination date, etc. And even worse, it could mean that the buyer is in default of the contract – this could lead to a $100 per day penalty and/or loss of earnest money deposit.
Real life example #4: Appraisal fees were an average of $300 to $350. Now they’re an average of $400 to $500.
Who pays the appraisal fee? The buyer.
Real life example #5: A mortgage broker goes with lender “A” for the buyer’s financing only to find out that lender “B” has a lower interest rate and lower closing costs. Rather than lender “B” being able to use the completed appraisal from lender “A,” lender “B” has to order a new appraisal costing the buyer another appraisal fee.
The buyer has to pay another $400 to $450 for the second appraisal.
These are just some of the real life examples of what’s going on out there. As long as the HVCC stays in effect, home buyers will continue to pay more money for crappier service and, in many cases, their chances of getting their offer accepted will continue to be diminished. Not only is the HVCC screwing the transaction up for buyers and sellers, the new HVCC rules could be the single largest hurdle to US home price recovery.
The HVCC needs to be rescinded or changed – ASAP!