COVID Flexibilities: What you need to know

Written by on April 10, 2020

What do the recent announcements made by Fannie MaeFreddie Mac, FHA, and VA really mean for appraisers? We want to help you better understand these temporary changes, what you need to do, and the tools available to help you navigate the new appraisal types. 

Appraisal during COVID-19

Here’s what’s changed

Please read the announcements linked above, and make your own determination, but we hope to give you all of the resources needed to come to your conclusion. In summary, during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, and VA have released requirements for appraisers to visit the property for certain assignments. Appraisers can also rely on the interested party (homeowner) photos and information.

We know there’s a lot of confusion in the industry surrounding regular reports and reports under the COVID-19 temporary exceptions. So, make sure you understand the type of assignment your client is requesting. 

What you need to do

When you accept appraisal work under these new, temporary guidelines, you’ll be required to do two things: 

Map Reference Field:  Enter the appropriate value (Desktop or Exterior) in the map reference field

Addendum text:  Enter specific text in the addendum

Comparison on addendum text

To better understand what’s changed between your existing text (scope of work, intended use and user, definition of market value, statement of assumptions and limiting conditions, and certifications) and the new guidelines, we’ve provided a comprehensive comparison below. This is critical to understanding the type of assignment and differences. 

We’ve provided pre-filled addenda in TOTAL and Titan Reports to accommodate these temporary revisions. The addenda can easily be added to your report.

How can you get property information from homeowners or occupants? 

During COVID-19, our new, free  PropertyAssist® web app is the the fastest, safest way to transfer the information you need from the homeowner into your WorkFile.   PropertyAssist is free to all of our customers during the pandemic and ready to use now.

PropertyAssist helps you to safely continue to work during shelter-in-place orders, as it follows social-distancing practices during the pandemic. You can conditionally decline onsite inspection orders and let your clients know that you’ll accept under the new COVID-19 guidelines.  

As you appraise from a distance, PropertyAssist helps streamline your workflow by: 

  • Guiding homeowners through the photo-taking process, so that you don’t have to spend time on the phone, directing each shot. 
  • Only allowing homeowners to submit photos that are current and for the property being appraised – otherwise, the tool won’t let them submit. 
  • Automatically flowing photos and data into your WorkFile, so you can easily drag them into your report. Photos are conveniently stored, in case future questions arise. 

Unlike other third-party tools, PropertyAssist grants you immediate access to everything you need, right inside TOTAL. You can easily drag and drop report-optimized photos, with labels, into the appropriate slots. There’s no copy-and-paste and no need to log in to multiple products.   


We’re staying up to date on new information concerning appraisers during the pandemic and will continue to communicate any changes. Here are some helpful links for you to bookmark and monitor: