Standardization is the main objective of the new rules. Appraisers now have an approved collection of abbreviations they must use when assessing homes. Now, rather than the narrative approach that is unique to each appraiser, all appraisers will note “AdjPrk” for “adjacent to park” or “Wtr” for “water view,” and the conditions of properties will be rated on a 1 to 6 scale.
Realtors are also required to provide more information to appraisers, such as when remodeling was done on the house.
Some appraisers fear that the abbreviation system will confuse appraisers and homeowners alike. Stephen E. Sousa, the executive vice president of the Massachusetts Board of Real Estate, said he is ultimately supportive of the unifying efforts of the new rules, but he fears that a lack of public awareness will make the transition to the rules a difficult process.
“The whole real estate profession is ill prepared for this,’’ Sousa said. “It is going to create a lot more confusion.’’
To lessen that confusion, the Massachusetts association, along with the National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers in Illinois, is lobbying the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to postpone the implementation of the new rules. The FHFA, which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, said it is going along with the plans.