Lending Giant to Offer In-House Appraisal Option

Man With Mask Appraising House Construction

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United Wholesale Mortgage has announced that it will offer an option to work directly with appraisers, a change from the typical use of an independent appraisal management company.

UWM is rolling out the program, called Appraisal Direct, nationwide on Oct. 1. Appraisal Direct will oversee the entire appraisal process, from scheduling the appraisal to its execution and delivery.

Lenders can choose whether they use Appraisal Direct or order an appraisal through an appraisal management company.

AMCs “have a lot of value in our industry, but we are offering new options,” said Mat Ishbia, CEO and president of UWM.

UWM will hire more than 100 people to work on the new program. Appraisers will be selected for an appraisal based on a scorecard that reflects their knowledge of a geographic area and past performance, Housingwire reported.

The appraisal industry has grappled with concerns over appraiser shortages in many areas of the country. With a booming housing market, some lenders have complained of delays in getting appraisals returned promptly.

However, Kimber White, president of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, said she doesn’t think UWM’s program is the solution to the appraisal shortage. “I think it’s okay for them right away, but I think it’s better for us all to work together to find a solution for the entire industry,” White said. “Is this really the way we want to go and allow all wholesalers to enter the appraisal business?” White said many lenders have increased their use of AMCs as an intermediary between appraisers and mortgage brokers to avoid past evaluation issues that were blamed for triggering the housing crisis.