Why does Fannie Mae allow the desktop appraisal for purchase but not for refinances?
Homes available for purchase are the most likely to have current photos and data concerning the subject property. Refinances may have very dated information in the MLS, if any at all. Having the appraiser complete an exterior inspection provides current information about the home’s condition that might not be available otherwise. Reminder, for refinances of non-Fannie Mae owned loans and all cash-out refinances, we continue to require a traditional appraisal.
For more information, refer to the published Lender Letter LL-2020-04, Impact of COVID-19 on Appraisals.