Monday, October 24, 2011Citing its benefits for consumers, the nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers announced support for recently introduced federal legislation that would improve the mortgage underwriting process by ensuring energy costs are included.
The Appraisal Institute expressed its backing of the Sensible Accounting to Value Energy Act of 2011 during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol with bill sponsors Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo, and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and other organizations.
“We strongly support the SAVE Act because it will improve communication and the flow of information among appraisers, lender clients and those interacting with the mortgage lending process,” Appraisal Institute Immediate Past President Leslie Sellers, MAI, SRA, said at the event. “It would require use of qualified, competent appraisers and would help ensure that appraisers have access to data needed to analyze the effects of energy-efficient home improvements in the marketplace. Consumers would benefit from the bill’s efforts to help ensure they receive a reliable, credible opinion of value.”
The SAVE Act would instruct federal loan agencies to assess a borrower’s expected energy costs when financing a house. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) would issue updated underwriting and appraisal guidelines for any loan issued, insured, purchased or securitized by the Federal Housing Administration or any other federal mortgage loan insurance agency.
The bill establishes two methods for determining expected annual energy costs: average utility costs, derived from the Department of Energy’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey database and adjusted for the square footage of the home, or if available, a qualified, independent energy report of the subject property. The measure includes two primary features: an affordability test and a loan-to-value adjustment.
Sellers said the SAVE Act would help protect taxpayers from another foreclosure crisis; would lower utility bills for U.S. households; would remove from federal mortgage policy an impediment to home energy efficiency; would drive business and job growth in the construction and manufacturing sectors; would expand the accessibility and affordability of energy efficient homes; and would reduce U.S. energy dependence.
“The SAVE Act would require that appraisers are provided with all relevant information relating to energy-efficient features of properties,” Sellers said. “And by defining these types of appraisal assignments as ‘complex,’ the SAVE Act would help ensure those properties are valued by an appraiser with enhanced competency who can more thoroughly analyze and make appropriate judgments for building energy performance and who can help lenders understand their collateral risk.”
For more information, visit www.appraisalinstitute.org.
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