Appraisal Inspection Procedures & Protocols

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Frederick E Rossiter
Latest posts by Frederick E Rossiter (see all)

Appraisal Inspection Procedures & ProtocolsThe industry needs to discuss the coronavirus issue and how to conduct inspections. I set up an inspection a few days ago using the Procedures & Protocols form below and this is how I handled it.

I called the listing agent and tactfully told him that we had to discuss this Coronavirus issue … that I had a family member with a compromised health situation and that we had to presume the virus was already within our community.

Then I explained to him that I inspect a lot of homes every week and that normally involves touching a lot of things inside a house. I further explained that the last thing I want to do is to contaminate myself or, if I am a carrier, contaminate someone else’s home. I apologized for having to employ these procedures but I felt it was either this or quit appraising homes until a vaccine is developed.

Thankfully, he was quite understanding and accepting of it. He would pass it along to his sellers and notify me of when I could inspect the home. I could almost hear the “gears turning” in his head as he contemplated the same risks to himself as he conducted his business.

Later in the day, I turned down an FHA order because of the increased inspection requirements with a FHA loan.

We need to discuss this. If somebody has a better idea, I’d like to hear it.

Appraisal Inspection – Procedures & Protocols Form:

Property:Homeowners:
Realtor:Date of Inspection:Time:

Greetings,

(The appraisal company) will be inspecting the property noted above at the time and date stated. In light of the risks posed by the Coronavirus to myself and to all parties involved, I must insist upon your compliance with a set of procedures and protocols outlined below. These procedures are for your protection and mine.

Thank you,
Appraiser’s Name
License #
Appraiser’s Company

  1. If the Realtor or homeowners have contracted a cold, the flu or the Coronavirus, or if they have been exposed to someone with a cold, the flu or Coronavirus, it is imperative that the appraiser be notified immediately. All parties will be presumed to be carriers of the Coronavirus.
  2. An appraisal requires a floor plan sketch. If one is available, please email it to the appraiser prior to the inspection at: appraiser’s email address
  3. The appraiser will wear gloves, and disposable booties while inside the home.
  4. A “Social Distancing” of 6’ from the appraiser is requested. No physical contact will be made between the appraiser and the Realtor or Occupants. No handshakes! No fist bumps. The inspection will be completed as quickly as possible to minimize exposure.
  5. The appraiser will not make physical contact with any interior surfaces in the home. This includes doorknobs and light switches. All lights must be turned on.
  6. The appraiser will not open any doors. All doors to all interior rooms must be opened prior to the appraiser’s inspection. All garage doors and fence gates must be opened prior to an inspection.
  7. Every room must be inspected and photographed. This is a lender requirement.
  8. No information in written form will be handed to the appraiser.
  9. All information on the home’s condition, upgrades, remodel, etc. must be emailed to the appraiser at.
  10. All pets must be secured or removed from the home. There must be no contact with pets!
  11. The appraiser will not use a lockbox or keys to gain entry into a home.

If any of these procedures or protocols are violated, the appraiser will immediately stop the inspection and leave the premises. The appraisal will be cancelled. The appraiser’s client will be billed a Trip Fee of $200.

These protocols and procedures have been agreed to by the undersigned parties.

Realtor:date:
Homeowner:date:
Homeowner:date:
Appraiser:date:

Thank you for your cooperation.

Image credit flickr - Heidi De Vries
Frederick E Rossiter

Frederick E Rossiter

Fred Rossiter has spent the last 46 years of his life in the real estate industry as a State Certified Appraiser and Licensed Real Estate Broker, a custom home builder, investor and homeowner. Fred served as a Special Magistrate for the Lee County Value Adjustment Board for 6 years and is a Certified Collateral Valuation Specialist. He is a commercially licensed, instrument rated pilot and a USCG licensed Captain. Fred has served as a President and Director of two homeowner associations, built a community park and saved 40 acres of land from development for use as a wildlife preserve. Fred loves people, his family, real estate and the outdoors.

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64 Responses

  1. Avatar Bill Johnson says:

    Not to worry guys and girls as I’m sure the big AMC’s are going to look out for the appraiser and update their order forms with similar language and requirements for all. These instructions will be provided to all borrowers and their signature will be required to lock in their acceptance.

    Of course not people, we are on our own and the blog has solid advice.

    Seek the truth.

    7
    • Avatar SB says:

      My protocol is don’t shake Realtor’s hands and don’t eat at buffet restaurants with sneeze screens.

      5
      • Baggins Baggins says:

        This is awesome, you gotta have fun with it.

        I’m not discounting Mr Rossiter’s approach though. Nobody knows how this is going to play out over the coming months. We’ll see what happens. I like the article and welcome more like it. I knew I should have bought that full hazmat suit from the ebola crisis last time around. Besides, prepping is fun and finally after all these years, I got around to organizing and cleaning the basement.

        2
  2. Baggins Baggins says:

    https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/coronavirus_vs._the_mass_surveillance_state_which_poses_the_greater_threat

    Hazard pay. Hand them masks. Disposable gloves. Just stay home instead. I’m ready to charge hazard rates double and triple fees, and that will be a possibility as this grows. I’ll deserve the fee because I’ll be sharing supplies, willing to be in close contact with people in a responsible respectful manner, and stay on the job while others are panicking. Risk vs reward. Spraying myself and my auto interior with lysol is not going to be very fun.

    https://www.infowars.com/cdc-admits-in-federal-court-it-does-not-have-studies-to-support-claim-vaccines-do-not-cause-autism/

    A latex glove provides enough protection to open doors, just wash and then throw it away at the end. You’re more likely to get infected during the moment you take the mask off after exposure so spray the inside of mask with colloidal silver and have a mobile wash and exposure change kit. Are you talking about the L type, S type, or both? The appraiser is the likely transmission vector so the most important measure is to make sure you don’t spread it. If you’re worried about getting it, don’t take the order.

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  3. Bill Ritzdorf on Facebook Bill Ritzdorf on Facebook says:

    I walked away from an inspection on Saturday. Owner came to door and said “hope you don’t mind. I have a bad cold. My husband was supposed to meet you but got called out of town”. I said seriously with all that’s going on you want me to take a chance and walk through your home? I’ll reschedule when you things settle down and no one in the home is sick.

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    • Baggins Baggins says:

      The hysteria is only beginning to take hold. I’ve been rolling with a box of N-95 masks in my back for roughly 10 years, and keep a box of harbor freight latex gloves. Now adding can of lysol. Drop your overshirt after inspection, mobile wash, spray down if necessary, new pair of gloves, new mask, everything used in a bag for wash and reuse or disposal later, on to the next one.

      Many people are working from home right now, others are told not to worry, important they continue showing up. The thing to look out for is whether utility providers and lenders will offer payment relief during this time of crisis, or not. That stance is going to dictate peoples behaviors when it comes to real property movement and refinancing issues.

      Ironic that people will be inattentive to food and vaccine dangers, only to then demand something be done about this particular germ. If you guys are this worried about it you need to think very carefully about what goes into your body because that is what dictates the ability of your body to mount an effective response to pathogens.

      Meanwhile outside of news hype, insect counts are at record lows, bat and bee populations around the world are plummeting, high frequency cell towers and mobile device equipment continues to roll off the line at a record pace, people are still buying roundup to spray garden weeds. Lamestream media won’t let go of the bat soup story.

      3
    • Avatar Bryan says:

      Do not open any checks from clients! They may have sneezed in the envelope. Put on rubber gloves and slip them envelope and all into another envelope with a note giving me permission to cash them. Also – please put a note on the secondary envelope assuring you did not sneeze in or on it. Thank you in advance.

      3
    • Avatar HoneyWest says:

      Good for you! I did an inspection last Saturday in the rain on an investment property, property owner met me onsite then left. After measuring I went to the door, asked if anyone was sick, and the guy said “ yes, we’ve been sick all week but doubt it’s anything serious.” In hindsight I realize I should have left. I didn’t touch anything, and I always use a disinfectant hand wipe right away. I notice that I’m so ticked at the owner I keep moving her file to the bottom of the stack. In case I get sick I want everyone else’s appraisals to be completed, including those after hers.

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    • Avatar Fletcher says:

      Using the hand gel or wipes, Lysol type spray, booties and masks are all great ideas. Just do not forget to clean off your tablet, pencils, clipboard, and the camera! Also think about grabbing your keys to get back in the car.

      If the homeowner is sick, they probably don’t want you coming in anyway. Talk to the lender and get a few more days turn time. Just be safe everyone.

      2
  4. OR you could just wear gloves and ask if anyones sick. “Protocols” cited seem like unnecessary melodrama.

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    • Baggins Baggins says:

      I’ll just use the same protocols like for reo inspection. Never know what you’re going to run into. I went shopping so much that I caught a wicked flue anyways. Took theraflu this morning. If I never blog again you’ll know what happened to me and wish me luck downing this much robotussin at once. I may need more supplies…

      2
  5. Avatar Dave says:

    THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING. LOL…….

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  6. People – the seasonal yearly flu kills 61,000 US citizens alone in any given year. The Corona virus has been around for 30+ years. Keep your hands away from your face, wash them frequently, keep your immune system revved up and stop being part of the hysteria that is driving the economy into the ground.

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  7. Avatar Jason says:

    NJ, Illinois, NY, Oregon, Utah, CA, WA, Rhode Island, Ohio, and Florida have all declared state of emergency.

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  8. Bill Ritzdorf on Facebook Bill Ritzdorf on Facebook says:

    I would normally just say fugit and bounce through the home. But the uncertainty based on misleading information and how sick this lady was made my hair stand up on the back of my neck. I trust those hairs.

    4
  9. Avatar Steve Schmidt says:

    This is the type of “article” that spreads panic and hysteria. Read the facts on the Virus. Don’t get your “facts” from CNN OR The View. If you are so worried keep hand sanitizer in your car and take a bath in it after each inspection. PS make sure your burn all your clothing after each inspection also.

    3
    • Avatar California Appraiser says:

      The SF Bay Area has just been issued a Shelter in Place mandate. It cannot be considered hysteria at this point. Appraisers out there – the loans will have to wait or the requests will have to change to alternative valuation methods. Its 2020 – we have Skype people! Appraisers are precious resource. Stay home. Don’t spread it and Don’t get it.

      3
      • Avatar joyce geller says:

        Thank You for using common sense – i just cancelled 2 appointments – Gov Gavin just made it an order –
        San Diego Appraiser

        2
  10. States of Emergency are declared in order for processes and procedures to be in place, if needed, for the State to ask for and receive Federal Aid and assistance and so that other procedures can be enacted quickly. It is a tool of preparation. Be prepared not scared.

    2
  11. Avatar Jo says:

    Good luck with this, my guess is that there is no realtor or client that would agree to such requests. Shen Valley Appraiser, ditto. Stay safe out there!

    4
  12. Will do, Jo. A lot of common sense could serve us all to be a prudent move as always.

    3
  13. Avatar Aj says:

    Is there anyone else out there successfully using a form like this?

    2
    • Avatar Steve Schmidt says:

      Hell no. I think this form as well as most of the article is ridicules. Frankly many of these “requests” are insulting and uncalled for. If someone has COVID then they would not allow the appraiser or anyone else into their home. I have 3 children in the health industry. A nurse, a son in medical research, a daughter in upper management of a medical insurance compliance company, and an X-Wife that is an executive of a major Michigan Hospital chain. She is immediately notified by the CDC when any Michigan resident tests positive for COVID. I sent this letter to all of them and they said it was ridicules. After 30+ years in the industry I would never even consider this. If anyone is that worried, then lock yourself in your house until COVID is run its course.

      3
      • Baggins Baggins says:

        It’s quite complicated. We have family in medical too. They don’t have masks for regular workers right now and have these silly kits put together just in case. Nobody is actually prepared although they are trying to get there. They’ve been so busy cracking the whip and seeking maximum efficiency, there is no lee way left for process or supply disruption. The patients took all the masks by the handful, now there is none left for workers, and nobody can answer when more will come in. Everyone is presuming the medical workers will be there, but will they really under those circumstances?

        I tracked this mask link down today, it’s hopeless to even look at amazon or ebay right now, although I’ve heard of some random success finding them at retail if you happen to get lucky in that magic few hours from when they arrive to when they sell out. Some stores are price gouging, claiming it’s effective inventory control. Customer purchase limitations is obviously the better approach.

        I’ve tracked through about half of this list, not looking good for low priced pick ups. But is actually a hot lead if you wanted the big deal full respirator type masks. I’m not sure I actually need or want those right now but it’s interesting that depending on where you source the product from you actually could get a full gear setup for less than cheapie n95’s from the online hucksters.

        http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/1810710O/3m-healthcare-respirators-coronavirus-distributors.pdf
        3m mask supplier links. If you can’t find it retail, turn to wholesale channels.

        And this on the rate cut. Too many moving pieces, stack overflow, can not compute.
        https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/feds-emergency-rate-cut-was-big-mistake

        2
        • Avatar Steve Schmidt says:

          Masks won’t do anything. only if you have COVID. For those that do not the mask will not stop it. COVID can live on a hard surface for up to 9 days. So washing hands and non-contact is the best.

          3
      • Avatar John Walters says:

        Steve you are STUPID! It’s people like you that cause major problems in the world.

        0
        • Avatar Stephen Schmidt says:

          Thanks walters. I will tell you an appraiser knows better than my 3 children that are an ER nurse a medical researcher and an executive at a medical company. And oh ya a close friend that consults directly with the Governor of MI and the CDC. Hope you stay safe

          1
        • Avatar Bryan says:

          Unnecessary John.

          1
          • Baggins Baggins says:

            Home Depot is getting masks in now and then. Grabbed a few. The futility of it all, that thin piece of meshed paper to protect your life against a single microbe. If people knew more about germs they’d get full hazmat suits. Those however, may be more difficult to hawk for steep markups on ebay and craigslist.

            1
      • Avatar Aj says:

        I guess you haven’t been watching TV. Some people had tested positive and/ or had symptoms but didn’t think/care enough to let others know. A friend whose mother works at an MRI lab had a patient go in for days, waited until AFTER they finished and them told them because he was afraid they wouldn’t do the xrays.

        1
  14. Avatar Dave says:

    I’m sure lowly AMC’s would gladly pay an extra $200 because the appraiser didn’t want to open a door with his hand. Good luck with that…..

    4
  15. Avatar Jeanie says:

    I’ve been asked several times so far by homeowners and realtors to wear a mask, gloves, booties and use disinfectant on hands before entering the house. I had one realtor ask me not to touch doors or light switches. He had all doors including closet doors opened and lights on in every room.

    6
  16. Avatar Dave says:

    If everyone exhibited the same amount of paranoia, then we would all be on the same page!
    Realtors, appraisers and home owners alike. I guess we are all human and have our own unique quirkiness.

    1
    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Genius. We’re extra cleaning everything more than normal. “No place to run, no place to hide” is our new cleaning motto. We did clean all touchable door and handle areas. At least one spring cleaning item per day, thoroughly. My cabinets are white again, it’s been a while. Local MLS just put out a we’re monitoring it letter and the public school system is sending us one every few days. A key issue, they just ordered in italy, debt holiday, temporary suspension of debt payments. Latex gloves, just wash and toss.

      1
  17. Avatar cotton says:

    Im still waiting for the GSEs and AMCs to utilize this global pandemic as an opportunity to promote those scamming, crap bifurcation appraisals. Im sure Lyle Radke at Fannie Mae has already included the virus as part of his sales pitch to try and convince appraisers that bifrocraption is a great idea! They couldn’t sell it before when he was telling everyone at trade shows how you appraisers can sit home in your PJs and earn 1/15 the market rate for the appraisal process yet you get to assume all the risk and liability! Let those unlicensed burger flippers go in and complete the inspection for $50 with the only risk being death and the inability to pay for your own funeral! The GSEs and AMCs have tried hard enough to make biforcation appear like a good idea yet Ill take my chances and keep my full fee! Good luck everyone!

    5
    • Avatar Bryan says:

      Ummm….25 bucks!

      0
    • Avatar HoneyWest says:

      Right on, Right on, Right on!! Like a 70’s Protest, F the Man!!! Except, seriously, F anyone who continues to oppress appraisers. Those of you who allow yourself to be victimized (it’s happened to all of us, but burn me once, don’t count on a second chance) just get out!! This week I’ve been reflecting on the self- serving memos from Lenders/ AMC’s about how “we are essential” so YOU get out there and risk your life appraisers. Notice how glaringly obvious it has become that the whole mortgage industry basically stops without our participation? Why do we not stand up?! I’m no one’s indentured servant. If I didn’t actually love a lot of what I do I wouldn’t go along with any of the BS. I’m not risking my life or that of some innocent homeowner’s in case I have it and don’t know it, so other people can make a living off of my back. We need to seize the reins!! Rise up people!!

      1
  18. Avatar ej says:

    The clowns at HUD better be reading this. We are sick of your stupid inspection protocols. We are not home inspectors! If you want someone up in the attic or crawl space hire a **licensed home inspector**. If we get this virus it’s on you HUD!

    7
  19. Avatar OC Appraiser says:

    What about just doing Exterior Only appraisals (drive-bys)? I get emails from lenders and AMC’s saying that all their staff will be working from home and there should be no interruption with operations. So everyone’s safe at home….except the appraiser….. WTF?!?

    6
  20. Avatar Dave says:

    Appraisers are “The Expendables”……..

    1
    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Should not have cut all those virus jokes. Have a wicked flue. And I scared the heck out of neighbors doing reo inspections. My normal routine is to wear gloves and a mask when inside those homes, you never know what you’re going to run into. This sucks.

      What gives with lenders somehow being immune to this and government giving all these relief packages to citizens? They could simply demand lenders provide a debt holiday and roll everything back a month or two. Well, we know who’s really in charge.

      2
  21. Avatar Jo says:

    If we aren’t careful they will jerk the work out from under us; make no mistake there are powers that be that want the economy to fail, in light of the “Election Year Virus”. We need to keep on keeping on. Most of us are self employed with no safety nets to fall back on. I don’t want to have to fall back on any.

    2
    • Baggins Baggins says:

      My primary concern is that the people whom I rely on for work, being part of the larger network of employee and employers, will not be there to keep anything moving. I’m ringing them today asking for immediate check distribution.

      Can someone please write an article about the need to cut checks immediately or something to that regard?

      1
  22. Avatar don says:

    A lot of old ladies out their Hovering over the kids, this attitude frightens every one.

    One big problem is that many appraisers are over 60 and haven’t taken care of ourselves. Are these the voices of 80+ year old’s, or hard working business people who are trying to promote a threatened business

    2
  23. Avatar OC Appraiser says:

    I’ve decided to not take on anymore assignments for now.

    My question is, should appraisers who are still actively doing full inspections have home owners sign waivers in the event they get infected by the appraiser?

    1
    • Avatar Aj says:

      I’ve seem maybe 2 people post they use a form.. is that it? I’m in Texas, it’s it within our laws for us to be able to use it?

      1
    • Avatar Eugene says:

      I am on sabbatical from Interior jobs. I have a full time Govt job so I can turn away assignments. Too many risks. Let’s say you have the virus but exhibits no symptoms. You go to multiple inspections and Mrs. Jones who is in the risk age bracket catches the virus and dies. Mrs Jones son is a powerful Attorney in the area. Will the AMC/Client pay your legal fees if you are sued?

      Or, if you catch it… and pass it along to your spouse /children? I am sure those Appraisal fees will not cover your medical expenses from hospital service.

      1
  24. Avatar Jo says:

    Or should they ask US to sign a waiver? We go into others homes subjecting ourselves to a lot more risk of catching it then that homeowner does. Has anyone’s E & O made any statements about it?

    Honestly I feel that if I do due diligence in following the procedures, I should be pretty safe.

    1
  25. Avatar Bryan says:

    What if you just catch a cold?

    1
    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Tried inspecting a vacant home with a regular cold. Neighbor literally ran away from me and we talked from a complete like 30 foot distance. Then I went to walmart and everyone was coughing all over everyone else. If I get it, I blame walmart.

      Yes, I’m feeling better and am back to cutting jokes. I’m not going to buy into this hysteria.

      3
  26. Avatar Eugene says:

    Fannie Mae cleared the way to use alternative (2055/Desk review) forms for lenders. That was on 3/24/20. 4 days later I still see lenders requesting 1004 forms. I don’t understand the virus and numbers are still rising…that is enough to make me pass. Interior inspections are not on my necessity list.

    I spoke to an AMC staff member and asked: “Are you working from home?” She said “Yes.” Appraisers are making the least out of all the parties involved in the transaction but have the most risk. Like pawns on a chess board.

    2
  27. Avatar Dave says:

    Amcs say we can decline to do interior inspections and they will reassign order to another appraiser willing to do. Doesn’t look like we have an option to do the exterior appraisals in my market.

    2
    • Avatar Eugene says:

      Yes, they told me it is to the client’s discretion if they want to order a 2055/Desk review. They want to make money…business as usual for Banks. The loan officer and AMC staff member are home drinking Hot Chocolate while the Appraiser is going into house after house increasing his/her risk. Some Appraisers have to earn the money to pay bills if they don’t have an alternative income. Be safe for the Appraisers who are inspecting.

      2
  28. Avatar Jules says:

    FNMA is fine with exterior-only for just about all purchases. The refinances have to meet more stringent criteria (LTV, does FNMA hold the current mortgage).

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    0
  29. Avatar Eugene says:

    Thanks for the clarity. This virus is still escalating… I will stay on sabbatical for interiors. No Appraisal is worth human life.

    1

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Appraisal Inspection Procedures & Protocols

by Frederick E Rossiter time to read: 3 min
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