Desktop Appraisals Are Here to Stay – FHFA Announces

Desktop Appraisals Are Here to Stay – FHFA Announces

Are you keeping up with the digital mortgage industry?

Big news came on desktop appraisals came out of the 2021 Mortgage Bankers Association Annual Convention and Expo. Sandra Thompson, acting director of the FHFA, announced Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will permanently allow desktop appraisals to be conducted remotely.

Desktop appraisals and hybrid appraisals (desktop + review of recent exterior/interior property data report) —which have been a cornerstone in Accurate Group’s solution suite for years— became a highly sought-after technology in March 2020 when COVID-19 restrictions were put in place. Lenders and appraisers not yet leveraging desktop and hybrid appraisals were forced to adopt new technologies in order to conduct appraisals amidst lockdowns, social distancing, and market volatility. The benefits of desktop and hybrid appraisals were quickly seen as a significant advantage to handling large volumes of appraisals with quicker turn times without sacrificing quality – especially in rural and suburban communities where appraisers spend more time driving from location to location than they do conducting the appraisal itself.

We are not surprised to see desktop appraisals shift from a temporary fix to a strategic long-term solution, future-strengthened by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s full support of the technology. At the end of 2020, Accurate Group’s CIO said, “The pandemic forced change and innovation at lightning speed. Accurate Group stood ready to support this change with proven desktop appraisal technology, bifurcated/hybrid appraisal solutions, a digitally-enabled title information platform, Directed Remote Data Collection (DRDC), remote-only notary (RON) and video closing technologies. Our clients are now some of the most digitally-enabled lenders in the industry.

In the FHFA announcement, Thompson went on to say that frictions in the appraisal process can slow down the mortgage process; however, desktop appraisals “can help each appraiser complete more loans in a day, and it can also help rural communities more readily obtain a necessary appraisal when the borrower is purchasing a property. This certainty should allow lenders, borrowers, and appraisers alike to take advantage of the efficiency gains that desktop appraisals can provide.”

Government mandates, industry regulations and market dynamics have always been a catalyst for change in the mortgage industry – calling for streamlined processes, stronger compliance, improved accuracy and better borrower experiences. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 42% of lenders surveyed by Freddie Mac said they were aggressively pursuing digitization efforts in the mortgage process. The global pandemic added flame to the fire, forcing lenders and banks to reevaluate legacy technologies and processes and adopt solutions to meet the short-term needs of the pandemic and the long-term needs of an increasingly digital mortgage industry.

What are your thoughts on desktop appraisals now becoming an industry standard? Are you leveraging desktop and hybrid appraisal technology? Or are you looking for new technology to support your strategy moving forward?

Accurate Group has several resources to help lenders strategically think about their approach to digital mortgages including our “Appraisers, Third-party Inspections and the Rise of Hybrid Appraisals” whitepaper, which examines alternative approaches – including desktop and hybrid appraisals – to keep the loan process flowing without needing to have boots on the ground.

To learn more about Accurate Group’s market-leading desktop appraisal and hybrid appraisal technology suite, visit

To learn more about Accurate Group or speak with a digital mortgage and technology solution expert, contact us.


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