Written by Leah Phinney, as originally published in The Reverse Review.

Determining property conditions and current market value quickly and economically with innovative and compliant valuation solutions is critical for reverse mortgage lenders. With more than 20 million eligible reverse mortgage customers who own their homes outright, lenders have great opportunities today to grow and diversify their reverse mortgage portfolios. To manage risks, and to ensure that both accurate and timely valuations are obtained, lenders must work with a reliable appraisal partner. When considering a relationship with an AMC, be sure you have access to the following:

Traditional FHA 1004 Valuations
More than 90 percent of today’s reverse mortgage originations are insured by FHA. It is critical that the AMC you engage with is fully compliant with FHA regulations for appraisal independence and appraiser competency

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and meets industry process requirements. Be sure to ascertain how an AMC selects its appraisers, inquiring about the company’s minimum qualifications and hiring processes. Industry best practices dictate that AMCs develop metrics for performance to create a preferred panel, identifying a potential field of only the highest-quality professionals. The profiles of the appraisers on a preferred panel would include appraisers who have been certified and approved by the FHA for at least three years, have no complaints or state sanctions, and have track

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Appraiser Price Opinion
After state regulations started restricting the use of Broker Price Opinions as a valuation tool on REO properties, many AMCs began offering appraiser-authored alternatives. These products range in their scope of work, from desktop analysis to exterior inspections performed by a certified appraiser, and they are performed before or after the loan has been funded. (To be clear, we do not advise using an Appraiser Price Opinion or Automated Valuation Model in attempt to determine a prevalue. These products are supplemental only and a full inspection is required to adequately determine value.)

Automated Valuation Models (AVMs) and Analytics
Make sure your valuation partner is offering this data-driven product. There are several product types varying in breadth and depth, whose quality is directly related to data backing it. Be sure to ask questions about the data source fueling these reports. Does it draw from a source that has collected comprehensive national MLS data? Does the confidence score and accuracy of the report vary depending on the market? Make sure these products enhance your process and empower you with useful information. High-quality AVMs and analytics provide lenders with a quick and relatively inexpensive valuation to obtain annual market trending data for the loans they continue to service. Make sure the AMC handling your appraisal is enhancing risk mitigation by engaging appraisers that are familiar with the reverse mortgage product and is writing the appraisal with the intended use in mind.