Selling Guide

Published June 3, 2020

The Selling Guide is organized into parts that reflect how lenders generally categorize various aspects of their business relationship with Fannie Mae. To begin browsing, select from any of the sections below. You may also download the entire Selling Guide in PDF format.

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B4-1.1-03, Appraiser Selection Criteria (01/31/2017)


This topic contains general information on appraiser selection, including:

Appraiser License and Certification

Fannie Mae requires a lender (or its authorized agent) to use appraisers or supervisory appraisers that are state-licensed or state-certified (in accordance with the provisions of Title XI of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 and all applicable state laws). The lender (or its authorized agent) must document that the appraisers it uses are licensed or certified as appropriate under the applicable state law. The lender must ensure that the state license or state certification is active as of the effective date of the appraisal report. The appraiser must note his or her license or certification number on the individual appraisal report forms, in compliance with the Uniform Appraisal Dataset Specification, Appendix D: Field-Specific Standardization Requirements.

Fannie Mae’s appraisal report forms identify the appraiser as the individual who

  • personally inspected the property being appraised,

  • inspected the exterior of the comparables,

  • performed the analysis, and

  • prepared and signed the appraisal report as the appraiser.

This does not preclude appraisers from relying on individuals who are not state-licensed or state-certified to provide significant professional assistance, such as an appraiser trainee or an employee of the appraiser doing market data research or data verification in the development of the appraisal. Under some state laws, a lender’s use of an unlicensed or uncertified appraiser that is working as an employee or sub-contractor of a licensed or certified appraiser will satisfy the state’s licensing and certification requirement, as long as the appraisal report is signed by a state-licensed or state-certified supervisory or review appraiser. The state-licensed or state-certified appraiser that signs the appraisal report must acknowledge in the report the extent of the professional assistance provided by others and the specific tasks performed by each individual, and must certify that each named individual is qualified to perform the tasks.

Appraiser Trainees

Fannie Mae allows an unlicensed or uncertified appraiser, or trainee (or other similar classification) to perform a significant amount of the appraisal (or the entire appraisal if he or she is qualified to do so). If an unlicensed or uncertified individual provides significant professional assistance, he or she must sign the left side of the appraiser certification as the Appraiser if

  • he or she is working under the supervision of a state-licensed or state-certified appraiser as an employee or sub-contractor,

  • the right side of the appraiser certification is signed by that supervisory appraiser, and

  • it is acceptable under state law.

If the jurisdiction does not provide license numbers for trainees, the term “Trainee” should be entered in the “Other” field in the Appraiser Certification section.

Knowledge and Experience

Lenders must use appraisers that

  • have the requisite knowledge required to perform a professional quality appraisal for the specific geographic location and particular property type; and

  • have the requisite knowledge about, and access to, the necessary and appropriate data sources for the area in which the appraisal assignment is located.

Appraisers that are not familiar with specific real estate markets may not have adequate information available to perform a reliable appraisal. Although the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) allows an appraiser that does not have the appropriate knowledge and experience to accept an appraisal assignment by providing procedures with which the appraiser can complete the assignment, Fannie Mae does not allow the USPAP flexibility.

Selection of the Appraiser

The lender

  • is responsible for the selection of appraisers and for the qualifications and quality of work provided by the appraisers that are selected;

  • may not use appraisals ordered or received by borrowers or other parties with an interest in the transaction, such as the property seller or real estate broker. Fannie Mae does allow lenders to use third-party vendors (for example, appraisal management companies) to manage the appraiser selection process. However, it should be noted that if a lender enters into a contract with any vendor, contractor, or third-party service provider, the lender is accountable for the quality of the work performed as if it was performed by an employee of the lender.

The lender (or its authorized agent)

  • must establish policies and procedures to ensure that qualified individuals are being selected in accordance with Fannie Mae requirements, including the Appraiser Independence Requirements .

  • must ensure that an appraiser has demonstrated the ability to perform high quality appraisals before using an appraiser’s services. The quality of an appraiser’s work is a key criterion that must be used in determining which appraiser the lender (or its authorized agent) uses for its assignments. The requirement for an appraiser to produce a high quality work product must always outweigh fee or turnaround time considerations.

Delegating these responsibilities to a third party does not relieve the lender of its responsibilities related to the appraisal or the value, condition, and marketability of the property. See B4-1.3-12, Quality Assurance, for information related to ongoing review of appraisals.

Note: Fannie Mae does not approve appraisers. Therefore, when selecting appraisers, lenders must not give any consideration to an appraiser’s representation that he or she is approved or qualified by Fannie Mae.

Supervisory Appraiser

As noted in the License and Certification section in this topic, Fannie Mae allows an unlicensed or uncertified appraiser, or trainee (or other similar classification) that works as an employee or subcontractor of a licensed or certified appraiser, to perform a significant amount of the appraisal (or the entire appraisal if he or she is qualified to do so), as long as the appraisal report is signed by a licensed or certified supervisory or review appraiser and is acceptable under state law.

If a supervisory appraiser is used, the supervisory appraiser does not need to physically inspect the subject property or comparables, but must sign the right side of the report and certify that he or she

  • directly supervised the appraiser that prepared the appraisal report,

  • has reviewed the appraisal report,

  • agrees with the statements and conclusions of the appraiser,

  • agrees to be bound by certifications as set forth in Fannie Mae’s appraisal report forms, and

  • takes full responsibility for the appraisal report.

A supervisory appraiser may not sign the left hand side of the appraisal report unless he or she has met the requirements of the appraiser as noted in the License and Certification section in this topic.

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