Appraisal Waivers Explosion

Appraisal Waivers ExplosionFor all the talk about how important appraisers are to risk management by the GSEs, we really aren’t. There is a compelling blog post using AEI data by Ryan Lundquist over at Sacramento Appraiser Blog.

Appraisal waivers have really exploded in recent years – especially during the pandemic. But how many are there exactly? Let’s look at actual numbers to walk away with some perspective. These stats are from January 2021 from AEI.


  • 47.4% of all Freddie Mac loans had a waiver
  • 44.5% of all Fannie Mae loans had a waiver
  • Waivers are far more common during refinances
  • Only 10-12% of purchases had an appraisal waiver in January
  • Non cash-out refinances have the most waivers (67-69%)
  • The higher your loan-to-value, the lower your chance of a waiver
  • Waivers have seen a dramatic increase during the pandemic
  • Appraisal waivers stats

Jonathan Miller
Jonathan Miller

Jonathan Miller

Jonathan Miller is President and CEO of Miller Samuel Inc., a real estate appraisal and consulting firm he co-founded in 1986. He is a state-certified real estate appraiser in New York and Connecticut, performing court testimony as an expert witness in various local, state and federal courts.

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10 Responses

  1. Avatar Seneca says:

    Article last week said that the new leadership at the CFPB is “frowning” on waivers. We’ll have to see if any action is taken.

  2. Avatar Dave says:

    Why would any lender want an appraisal? Just loan people what they want. What could possibly go wrong????

  3. Interesting data. Aside from the 12% purchase waivers (& we don’t know the estimated LTVs on those), less than 67% waivers for non-cash-out refinance transactions is not earth-shaking. These are transaction types that were originally proposed to be covered by drivebys or desktops anyway. Could there be some that never should have been made in the first place? Possibly.

    As important as I think appraisals are for a variety of reasons, we also have to remember we don’t own any rights to or in lenders’ risk policies. We as appraisers don’t set federally regulated institutions valuation policies. Frankly, we are not seriously desired to be at the same table for any discussionson policies, except when it is unavoidable.

    FIRREA 1989, anticipated periods when a purported ‘appraiser shortage’, or more probably a spike in loan volume would exceed the ability of licensed and certified appraisers to complete in a timely manner (whatever that is). We are by all measurements, in such a shortage now. At least in the sense where we have another 1986 style situation where turn times can run from 4 to 8 weeks.

    Based on the stats compiled by Ryan (who lives for compiling statistics related to appraising & helping others undertand how to develop and use them for free), I am just not seeing cause for alarm…yet.

    Do I support waivers? No. Do I support bifurcated hybrids? No. Do I support drivebys or desk tops? Not for about 35% of all property types I have seen them ordered for.

    On the other hand, is KNOWING a property’s market value necessary for all lending decisions, as opposed to guesstimating it? Not really.

    For my part I long ago started developing alternative purpose appraising. Its far more lucrative than transactional lending appraisals and typically with far less interference in the process.

    I urge all my peers to consider doing something similar. Estate or Gift (for tax compliance), establishing a new basis for beneficiaries, court (divorce or other legal issues), estate planning, estate settlement, proposed construction, hard money loan transactions, bail bondsmen appraisals, tax appeals. The list is really pretty long. Get involved in helping other appraisers defend themselves agaisnt false charges.

    My point is, lets not panic (yet), nor waste this opportunity to develop even better income streams or to further our appraisal education. DO keep an eye on the trend however.

  4. Avatar Bill Johnson says:

    Waiver, smaiver, lets just sell out like the coach.

    “Are you tired of working 60+ hours a week, making less than $100k a year?

    If you said “yes,” you’re not alone. Dustin Harris, also known as The Appraiser Coach, found himself stuck in a rut and decided to dedicate himself to the study of success. He now makes over $1,000,000 a year, works fewer hours each week, and has increased the quality of his appraisal reports.”

    If we outsource the process to the Philippines like the coach, perhaps we can all churn out 5 to 9 appraisals a day. Do we really need 80,000 appraisers nationally when after all becoming all-stars 1 can do the work of 10?

    Principles before profits.

    Seek the truth

    • Avatar lance says:

      off topic, about to renew my E & O policy any recommendations for a quality provider ? -NJ certified appraiser

      • David Brauner, WorkingRE publisher and broker for OREP out of San Diego has always had the best rates whenever I shopped around. When LIA quoted 1250 to me after Appraiserfest; OREP wrote the policy at $750 I think.

        • Baggins Baggins says:

          I don’t get the renew with another different company approach, it looks really good to have that coverage term original date read further and further back each year.

          I like Landy because whenever their selected insurer may change, which is very rare, my effective arrears date does not change. Up to almost $750, 500/1m, no claims. That’s just the new price, I remember when it was only a slice over $500.

          Our state has some group pooled policy for a lower price, RICE something or other. Never went with it though, changing is such a hassle.

          Lance just go with the big names, the commonly recognized companies. Don’t shop to much because it’s a specialty coverage and you want the companies whom focus primarily on only appraisers. They’re the ones whom have the experience if you regrettably need them. That Christensen lawyer guy pushed an article with some name references many years back. You want the right type for you but if just mortgage lending, orep, landy, lia, I think those are the most common 3 but I may be mistaken. Pick the right one, never change, leave it on autopilot.

  5. Avatar JULIO E SUNE, JR says:


    The SEER Shakiro De Dama has seen the future, the year is 2025



    PROPERTY ADDRESS_________________________________________
    LEGAL DESCRIPTION________________________________________
    COUNTY__________________ZIP CODE_________________________
    ASSESSOR’S PARCEL NUMBER_______________________________
    SALES PRICE____________________DATE OF SALE______________
    REFINANCE (IF APPLICABLE)________________________________
    EQUITY LOAN (Loan to value ratio) 100%__125%__150%__200%__
    OTHER CONVENIENT Loan to Value Ratio%____________________
    ADDRESS OF LENDER________________________________________
    LOAN OR FILE NUMBER:_____________________________________

    Note: The primary purpose of the UCRAP is to calculate Achievable Value.


    AS OF: (Date)___________________________________________

    NOTE: This achievable valuation must be calculated and prepared by an approved LOONY (Loan Originator Of Net Yield)

    Name of Approved LOONY:____________________________Date Appointed:________
    A LOCA (Loan Originating Certified Assistant) or a LOCO (Loan Originating Certified Overwriter) may assist the LOONY in the preparation of this valuation.
    Name of the LOCO or LOCA who assisted in this UCRAP valuation:________________


    Free Willy Form 01-01-25 FannyWay Form 2005 01-01-25

    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Oh you just took an old comps search form and changed it a little. Clever. I worked with a hard money lender a while back and they actually sent me something similar to that. Flash from the past. Somewhere in a box in the basement is a big stack of comp searches from like 2005 or something. People would probably be shocked to see the way the pressure was so freely applied in the past. It was somewhat easier to manage than it is today though, because it was not concealed and buried pressure, but rather bold and direct. They’d even scribble little notes and willing to boost the pay and add rush fees and other such nonsense. Those go to the amc’s these days. Zinger!

      I keep rewatching the back to the future series because 2021 is intensely stupid and entirely disappointing. Someone lend me their time machine. Every time these modern zealots seek to improve or fix something, quality of life goes downhill as fraud and rackateering adopts new and innovative forms. Bozos are in control.


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Appraisal Waivers Explosion

by Jonathan Miller time to read: 1 min