Origination / Processing: Applications and Disclosures

HUD Handbook 4000.1 >> Origination / Processing: Applications and Disclosures

a. Applications and Disclosures (09/14/15)

Effective for case numbers assigned on or after September 14, 2015

The Mortgagee must obtain a completed Fannie Mae Form 1003/Freddie Mac Form 65, Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) from the Borrower and provide all required federal and state disclosures in order to begin the origination process. The Mortgagee is responsible for using the most recent version of all forms as of the date of completion of the form.

Included in this section are:

i. Contents of the Mortgage Application Package

ii. Disclosures and Legal Compliance

iii. Application Document Processing

i. Contents of the Mortgage Application Package

The Mortgagee must maintain all information and documentation that is relevant to its approval decision in the mortgage file. All information and documentation that is required in this SF Handbook, and any incidental information or documentation related to those requirements, is relevant to the Mortgagee’s approval decision.

If after obtaining all documentation required below, the Mortgagee has reason to believe it needs additional support of the approval decision, the Mortgagee must obtain additional explanation and documentation, consistent with information in the mortgage file to clarify or supplement the information and documentation submitted by the Borrower.

(A) General Requirements

(1) Maximum Age of Mortgage Documents

(a) General Document Age

Documents used in the origination and underwriting of a Mortgage may not be more than 120 Days old at the Disbursement Date. Documents whose validity for underwriting purposes is not affected by the passage of time, such as divorce decrees or tax returns, may be more than 120 Days old at the Disbursement Date. For purposes of counting Days for periods provided in this SF Handbook, Day one is the Day after the effective or issue date of the document, whichever is later.

(b) Appraisal Validity

(i) Initial Appraisal Validity

The 120 Day validity period for an appraisal (see Ordering Appraisals) may be extended for 30 Days at the option of the Mortgagee if (1) the Mortgagee approved the Borrower or HUD issued the Firm Commitment before the expiration of the original appraisal; or (2) the Borrower signed a valid sales contract prior to the expiration date of the appraisal.

(ii) Appraisal Update

An appraisal update must be performed before the initial appraisal, with no extension, has expired. Where the initial appraisal is subsequently updated, the updated appraisal is valid for a period of 240 Days after the effective date of the initial appraisal report that is being updated.

(2) Handling of Documents

Mortgagees must not accept or use documents relating to the employment, income, assets, or credit of Borrowers that have been handled by, or transmitted from or through the equipment of unknown parties, or Interested Parties. Mortgagees may not accept or use any third party verifications that have been handled by, or transmitted from or through any Interested Party, or the Borrower.

(a) Information Sent to the Mortgagee Electronically

The Mortgagee must authenticate all documents received electronically by examining the source identifiers (e.g., the fax banner header or the sender’s email address) or contacting the source of the document by telephone to verify the document’s validity. The Mortgagee must document the name and telephone number of the individual with whom the Mortgagee verified the validity of the document.

(b) Information Obtained via Internet

The Mortgagee must authenticate documents obtained from an Internet website and examine portions of printouts downloaded from the Internet including the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) address, as well as the date and time the documents were printed. The Mortgagee must visit the URL or the main website listed in the URL if the page is password protected to verify the website exists and print out evidence documenting the Mortgagee’s visit to the URL and website. Documentation obtained through the Internet must contain the same information as would be found in an original hard copy of the document.

(c) Confidentiality Policy for Credit Information

Mortgagees must not divulge sources of credit information, except as required by a contract or by law. All personnel with access to credit information must ensure that the use and disclosure of information from a credit report complies with:

  • Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act);
  • the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Public Law 91-508;
  • the Right to Privacy Act, Public Law 93-579;
  • the Financial Privacy Act, Public Law 95-630; and
  • the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Public Law 94-239 and 12 CFR Part 202.

(3) Signature Requirements for all Application Forms

All Borrowers must sign and date the initial and final Fannie Mae Form 1003/Freddie Mac Form 65, Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA). All Borrowers must sign and date page two of the initial form HUD-92900-A, HUD/VA Addendum to Uniform Residential Loan Application, and sign and date the complete final form HUD-92900-A. The application may not be signed by any party who will not be on the Note.

  • For Borrowers that are Entities, the signatory must be a representative who is duly authorized to bind the Entity.
  • A Power of Attorney (POA) may not be used unless the Mortgagee verifies and documents that all of the following requirements have been satisfied:
    • For military personnel, a POA may only be used for one of the applications (initial or final), but not both:
      • when the service member is on overseas duty or on an unaccompanied tour;
      • when the Mortgagee is unable to obtain the absent Borrower’s signature on the application by mail or via fax; and
      • where the attorney-in-fact has specific authority to encumber the Property and to obligate the Borrower. Acceptable evidence includes a durable POA specifically designed to survive incapacity and avoid the need for court proceedings.
    • For incapacitated Borrowers, a POA may only be used where:
      • a Borrower is incapacitated and unable to sign the mortgage application;
      • the incapacitated individual will occupy the Property to be insured, or the Property is being underwritten as an eligible Investment Property; and
      • the attorney-in-fact has specific authority to encumber the Property and to obligate the Borrower. Acceptable evidence includes a durable POA specifically designed to survive incapacity and avoid the need for court proceedings.

For guidance on use of POA on closing documents refer to Use of Power of Attorney at Closing.

Prohibition on Documents Signed in Blank

Mortgagees are not permitted to have Borrowers sign documents in blank, incomplete documents, or blank sheets of paper.

(4) Policy on Use of Electronic Signatures

(a) Definition

An Electronic Signature refers to any electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with a contract or record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record. FHA does not accept an electronic signature that is solely voice or audio. Digital signatures are a subset of electronic signatures.

(b) Use of Electronic Signatures

An electronic signature conducted in accordance with the Electronic Signature Performance Standards (Performance Standards) is accepted on FHA documents requiring signatures to be included in the case binder for mortgage insurance, unless otherwise prohibited by law. Electronic Signatures meeting the Performance Standards are treated as equivalent to handwritten signatures.

(c) Electronic Signature Performance Standards

The Performance Standards are the set of guidelines that govern FHA acceptance of an electronic signature. The use of electronic signatures is voluntary. However, Mortgagees choosing to use electronic signatures must fully comply with the Performance Standards.

(i) The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign Act) Compliance and Technology

A Mortgagee’s electronic signature technology must comply with all requirements of the E-Sign Act, including those relating to disclosures, consent, signature, presentation, delivery, retention and any state law applicable to the transaction.

(ii) Third Party Documents

Third Party Documents are those documents that are originated and signed outside of the control of the Mortgagee, such as the sales contract. FHA will accept electronic signatures on Third Party Documents included in the case binder for mortgage insurance endorsement in accordance with the E-Sign Act and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA). An indication of the electronic signature and date should be clearly visible when viewed electronically and in a paper copy of the electronically signed document.

(iii) Authorized Documents

Authorized Documents refer to the documents on which FHA accepts electronic signatures provided that the Mortgagee complies with the Performance Standards.

  • Mortgage Insurance Endorsement Documents: Electronic signatures will be accepted on all documents requiring signatures included in the case binder for mortgage insurance except the Note. FHA will accept electronic signatures on the Note for forward Mortgages only. FHA will not accept electronic signatures on HECM Notes.
  • Servicing and Loss Mitigation Documentation: Electronic signatures will be accepted on any documents associated with servicing or loss mitigation services for FHA-insured Mortgages.
  • FHA Insurance Claim Documentation: Electronic signatures will be accepted on any documents associated with the filing of a claim for FHA insurance benefits, including form HUD-27011, Single Family Application for Insurance Benefits.
  • HUD Real Estate Owned (REO) Documents: Electronic signatures will be accepted on the HUD REO Sales Contract and related addenda.

(iv) Associating an Electronic Signature with the Authorized Document

The Mortgagee must ensure that the process for electronically signing authorized documents provide for the document to be presented to the signatory before an electronic signature is obtained. The Mortgagee must ensure that the electronic signature is attached to, or logically associated with, the document that has been electronically signed.

(v) Intent to Sign

The Mortgagee must be able to prove that the signer certified that the document is true, accurate, and correct at the time signed. Electronic signatures are only valid under the E-Sign Act if they are “executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.” Establishing intent includes:

  • identifying the purpose for the Borrower signing the electronic record;
  • being reasonably certain that the Borrower knows which electronic record is being signed; and
  • providing notice to the Borrower that their electronic signature is about to be applied to, or associated with, the electronic record.

Intent to use an electronic signature may be established by, but is not limited to:

  • an online dialog box or alert advising the Borrower that continuing the process will result in an electronic signature;
  • an online dialog box or alert indicating that an electronic signature has just been created and giving the Borrower an opportunity to confirm or cancel the signature; or
  • a click-through agreement advising the Borrower that continuing the process will result in an electronic signature.

(vi) Single Use of Signature

Mortgagees must require a separate action by the signer, evidencing intent to sign, in each location where a signature or initials are to be applied. This provision does not apply to documents signed by Mortgagee employees or Mortgagee contractors provided the Mortgagee obtains the consent of the individual for the use of their electronic signature. The Mortgagee must document the Borrower’s consent.

(vii) Authentication

Definition

Authentication refers to the process used to confirm a signer’s identity as a party in a transaction.

Standard for Authentication

Before a Mortgagee submits the case for endorsement, the Mortgagee must confirm the identity of the signer by authenticating data provided by the signer with information maintained by an independent source. Independent sources include, but are not limited to:

  • national commercial credit bureaus;
  • commercially available data sources or services;
  • state motor vehicle agencies; or
  • government databases.

The Mortgagee must verify a signer’s name and date of birth, and either their Social Security Number (SSN) or driver’s license number.

(viii) Attribution

Definition

Attribution is the process of associating the identity of a signer with their signature. Standard for Attribution The Mortgagee must maintain evidence sufficient to establish that the electronic signature may be attributed to the individual purported to have signed. The Mortgagee must use one of the following methods, or combinations of methods, to establish attribution:

  • selection by or assignment to the individual of a Personal Identification Number (PIN), password, or other shared secret, that the individual uses as part of the signature process;
  • delivery of a credential to the individual by a trusted third party, used either to sign electronically or to prevent undetected alteration after the electronic signature using another method;
  • knowledge base authentication using “out of band/wallet” information;
  • measurement of some unique biometric attribute of the individual and creation of a computer file that represents the measurement, together with procedures to protect against disclosure of the associated computer file to unauthorized parties; or
  • public key cryptography.

(ix) Credential Loss Management

Mortgagees must have a system in place to ensure the security of all issued credentials. One or a combination of the following loss management controls is acceptable:

  • maintaining the uniqueness of each combined identification code and password, such that no two individuals have the same combination of identification code and password;
  • ensuring that identification code and password issuances are periodically checked, recalled, or revised;
  • following loss management procedures to electronically de-authorize lost, stolen, missing, or otherwise compromised identification code or password information, and to issue temporary or permanent replacements using suitable, rigorous controls;
  • using transaction safeguards to prevent unauthorized use of passwords or identification codes; or
  • detecting and reporting any attempts at unauthorized use of the password or identification code to the system security unit.

(d) Required Documentation and Integrity of Records

Mortgagees must ensure that they employ industry-standard encryption to protect the signer’s signature and the integrity of the documents to which it is affixed. Mortgagees must ensure that their systems will detect and record any tampering with the electronically signed documents. FHA will not accept documents that show evidence of tampering. If changes to the document are made, the electronic process must be designed to provide an “audit trail” showing all alterations, the date and time they were made, and identify who made them. The Mortgagee’s system must be designed so that the signed document is designated as the Authoritative Copy. The Authoritative Copy of an electronically signed document refers to the electronic record that is designated by the Mortgagee or holder as the controlling reference copy.

(B) Mortgage Application and Initial Supporting Documentation

(1) URLA and HUD/VA Addendum to the URLA

Unless otherwise noted, URLA and HUD/VA Addendum to the URLA refer to both initial and final applications. The Mortgagee must obtain the Borrower’s initial complete, signed URLA (Fannie Mae Form 1003/Freddie Mac Form 65) and page two of form HUD-92900-A before underwriting the mortgage application. The Mortgagee must also include the debt of a non-borrowing spouse on the URLA if the Borrower resides in or the Property to be purchased is located in a community property state. The loan originator identified on the URLA must be the actual licensed loan originator regardless of whether the loan originator is employed by a sponsored Third-Party Originator (TPO) or the Mortgagee. The URLA must contain the loan originator’s name, Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLS) identification number, telephone number, and signature.

(2) Mortgage Application Name Requirements

(a) Standard

All mortgage applications must be executed in the legal names of all parties. All mortgage applications must be executed in the name of one or more individuals. Mortgage applications from a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or trust must be in the name of the Entity and also be in the name of one or more individuals. Exception Mortgage applications for Governmental Entities and HUD-approved Nonprofits that provide assistance to low or moderate income families may be solely in the corporation’s name.

(b) Required Documentation

The Mortgagee must include a statement that it has verified the Borrower’s identity using valid government-issued photo identification prior to endorsement of the Mortgage or the Mortgagee may choose to include a copy of such photo identification as documentation. For nonprofit Borrowers, the Mortgagee must obtain a copy of the FHA approval letter from the nonprofit. The Mortgagee must also verify that the nonprofit is eligible to be a Borrower as indicated on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Nonprofit Agency Roster.

(C) Borrower Authorization for Verification Information

(1) Borrower’s Authorization

(a) Standard

The Mortgagee must obtain the Borrower’s authorization to verify the information needed to process the mortgage application. The Mortgagee must obtain a non-borrowing spouse’s consent and authorization where necessary to verify specific information required to process the mortgage application, including the non-borrowing spouse’s consent for the Mortgagee to verify their SSN with the Social Security Administration (SSA).

(b) Required Documentation

For each individual or Entity, Borrower authorization may be accomplished through a blanket authorization form.

(2) Form HUD-92900-A Part IV: Borrower Consent for Social Security Administration to Verify Social Security Number

The Mortgagee must obtain the Borrower’s signature on Part IV of form HUD-92900-A to verify the Borrower’s SSN with the SSA.

(3) Tax Verification Form or Equivalent

The Mortgagee must obtain the Borrower’s signature on the appropriate Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form to obtain tax returns directly from the IRS for all credit-qualifying Mortgages at the time the final URLA is executed.

(D) Borrower’s Authorization for Use of Information Protected under the Privacy Act

(1) Standard

The Mortgagee must obtain the Borrower’s consent for use of the Borrower’s information for any purpose relating to the origination, servicing, loss mitigation, and disposition of the Mortgage or Property securing the Mortgage, and relating to any insurance claim and ultimate resolution of such claims by the Mortgagee and FHA.

(2) Required Documentation

The Mortgagee must obtain a signed statement from the Borrower that clearly expresses the Borrower’s consent for the use of the Borrower’s information as required above.

(E) Sales Contract and Supporting Documentation

(1) Sales Contract

(a) Standard

The Mortgagee must not originate an insured Mortgage for the purchase of a Property if any provision of the sales contract violates FHA requirements. The Mortgagee must ensure that (1) all purchasers listed on the sales contract are Borrowers, and (2) only Borrowers sign the sales contract. An addendum or modification may be used to remove or correct any provisions of the sales contract that do not conform to these requirements. The Family Member of a purchaser, who is not a borrower, may be listed on the sales contract without modification or removal.

(i) Amendatory Clause

If the Borrower does not receive form HUD-92800.5B, Conditional Commitment Direct Endorsement Statement of Appraised Value, before signing the sales contract, the sales contract must be amended before closing to include an amendatory clause that contains the following language:

“It is expressly agreed that notwithstanding any other provisions of this contract, the purchaser shall not be obligated to complete the purchase of the property described herein or to incur any penalty by forfeiture of earnest money deposits or otherwise, unless the purchaser has been given, in accordance with HUD/FHA or VA requirements, a written statement by the Federal Housing Commissioner, Department of Veterans Affairs, or a Direct Endorsement lender setting forth the appraised value of the property of not less than $___________*. The purchaser shall have the privilege and option of proceeding with consummation of the contract without regard to the amount of the appraised valuation. The appraised valuation is arrived at to determine the maximum mortgage the Department of Housing and Urban Development will insure. HUD does not warrant the value or condition of the property. The purchaser should satisfy himself/herself that the price and condition of the property are acceptable.”

* Mortgagees must ensure the actual dollar amount of the sales price stated in the contract has been inserted in the amendatory clause. Increases to the sale price require a revised amendatory clause.

An amendatory clause is not required in connection with:

  • HUD REO sales;
  • FHA’s 203(k) mortgage program;
  • sales in which the seller is: Fannie Mae; Freddie Mac; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA); United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing Services; other federal, state, and local government agencies; a Mortgagee disposing of REO assets; or a seller at a foreclosure sale; or
  • sales in which the Borrower will not be an owner-occupant (for example, sales to nonprofit agencies).

(ii) Real Estate Certification

The Borrower, seller, and the real estate agent or broker involved in the sales transaction must certify, to the best of their knowledge and belief, that (1) the terms and conditions of the sales contract are true and (2) any other agreement entered into by any parties in connection with the real estate transaction is part of, or attached to, the sales agreement. A separate certification is not needed if the sales contract contains a statement that (1) there are no other agreements between parties and the terms constitute the entire agreement between the parties, and (2) all parties are signatories to the sales contract submitted at the time of underwriting.

(b) Required Documentation

The Mortgagee must obtain all signed copies of sales contract(s), including a complete copy of the final sales contract with any modifications or revisions agreed upon by Borrower and seller.

(2) Statement of Appraised Value

The Borrower must receive a copy of form HUD-92800.5B. A statement of appraised value is not required in connection with:

  • HUD REO sales;
  • FHA’s 203(k) mortgage program;
  • sales in which the seller is: Fannie Mae; Freddie Mac; the VA; USDA Rural Housing Services; other federal, state, and local government agencies; a Mortgagee disposing of REO assets; or a seller at a foreclosure sale; or
  • sales in which the Borrower will not be an owner-occupant (for example, sales to nonprofit agencies).

ii. Disclosures and Legal Compliance

(A) HUD Required Disclosures

The Mortgagee must provide or ensure the Borrower is provided with any disclosure required by FHA, including the following disclosures.

(1) Informed Consumer Choice Disclosure

The Mortgagee must provide the Borrower with an Informed Consumer Choice Disclosure in accordance with the requirements of 24 CFR § 203.10 if the Borrower may qualify for similar non FHA-insured mortgage products offered by the Mortgagee.

(2) Form HUD-92900-B, Important Notice to Homebuyers

The Mortgagee must provide the Borrower with a copy of form HUD-92900-B, Important Notice to Homebuyers, signed by the Borrower and provide the Borrower with a copy to keep for the Borrower’s records when the Borrower applies for the Mortgage. The Mortgagee must retain the original form HUD92900-B signed by the Borrower.

(3) Lead-Based Paint

If the Property was built before 1978, the seller must disclose any information known about lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before selling the house, in accordance with the HUD-EPA Lead Disclosure Rule (24 CFR 35, subpart A, and the identical 40 CFR 745, subpart F). For such Properties, the Mortgagee must ensure that:

  • the Borrower has been provided the EPA-approved information pamphlet on identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards (“Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home”);
  • the Borrower was given a 10-Day period before becoming obligated to purchase the home to conduct a lead-based paint inspection or risk assessment to determine the presence of lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards, or waived the opportunity;
  • the sales contract contains an attachment in the language of the contract (e.g., English, Spanish), signed and dated by both the seller and purchaser:
    • containing a lead warning statement as set forth in 24 CFR § 35.92(a)(1).
    • providing the seller’s disclosure of the presence of any known lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards in the target housing being sold, or indication of no knowledge of such presence;
    • listing any records or reports available to the seller pertaining to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards in property housing being sold, or indication by the seller that no such records or reports exist; and
    • affirming that the Borrower received the pamphlet, disclosure, and records or reports, above; and
  • when any agent is involved in the transaction on behalf of the seller, the sales contract includes a statement that the agent has informed the seller of the seller’s Lead Disclosure Rule obligations, the agent is aware of his/her duty to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Rule, and the agent has signed and dated the contract.

(4) Form HUD-92564-CN, For Your Protection: Get a Home Inspection

Mortgagees are required to provide form HUD-92564-CN, For Your Protection: Get a Home Inspection, to prospective homebuyers at first contact, be it for pre-qualification, pre-approval, or initial application.

(B) Compliance with all Applicable Laws, Rules and Requirements The Mortgagee is required to comply with all federal, state and local laws, rules, and requirements applicable to the mortgage transaction, including all applicable disclosure requirements and the requirements of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), including those related to:

  • Truth in Lending Act (TILA); and
  • Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act (RESPA).

(C) Nondiscrimination Policy The Mortgagee must fully comply with all applicable provisions of:

  • Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act);
  • the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Public Law 91-508; and
  • the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Public Law 94-239 and 12 CFR Part 202.

The Mortgagee must make all determinations with respect to the adequacy of the Borrower’s income in a uniform manner without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, handicap, marital status, actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, source of income of the Borrower, or location of the Property.

iii. Application Document Processing

(A) Mortgagee Responsibilities

The Mortgagee must order the FHA case number and perform any associated tasks in FHA Connection (FHAC). The Mortgagee may use non-employees in connection with its origination of FHA-insured Mortgages only as described below. The Mortgagee ultimately remains responsible for the quality of the Mortgage and for strict compliance with all applicable FHA requirements, regardless of the Mortgagee’s relationship to the person or Entity performing any particular service or task.

(1) Sponsored Third-Party Originator

The Mortgagee is responsible for dictating the specific application and processing tasks to be performed by the sponsored TPO. Only HUD-approved Mortgagees acting in the capacity of a sponsored TPO may have direct access to FHAC.

(2) Housing Counseling Services

Mortgagees must ensure that Borrowers receive all required counseling, and that all counseling is provided by HUD-approved housing counseling agencies.

(3) Other Contract Service Providers

The Mortgagee may utilize Eligible Contractors to perform the following administrative and clerical functions: typing of mortgage documents, mailing out and collecting verification forms, ordering credit reports, and/or preparing for endorsement and shipping Mortgages to Investors.

(4) Excluded Parties

The Mortgagee may not contract with Entities or persons that are suspended, debarred, or otherwise excluded from participation in HUD programs, or under a Limited Denial of Participation (LDP) that excludes their participation in FHA programs. The Mortgagee must ensure that no sponsored TPO or contractor engages such an Entity or person to perform any function relating to the origination of an FHA-insured Mortgage. The Mortgagee must check the System for Award Management (SAM) and must follow appropriate procedures defined by that system to confirm eligibility for participation.

(B) Initial Document Processing

The Mortgagee begins processing the Mortgage by obtaining an initial URLA (Fannie Mae Form 1003/Freddie Mac Form 65) and Part V of form HUD-92900-A.

(1) Ordering Case Numbers

The Mortgagee must use FHAC to order FHA case numbers. A case number can be obtained only when the Mortgagee has an active mortgage application for the subject Borrower and Property. In order to obtain a case number, the Mortgagee must:

  • provide the subject Borrower’s name, SSN, and date of birth;
  • provide the property address; and
  • certify that the Mortgagee has an active mortgage application for the subject Borrower and Property.

The Mortgagee is not required to input appraiser information at the time the case number is ordered.

(a) Automated Data Processing Codes

FHA Automated Data Processing (ADP) Codes are derived from the section of the National Housing Act under which the Mortgage is to be insured. The Mortgagee must select the correct ADP code for each Mortgage in FHAC.

(b) Case Numbers on Sponsored Originations

The Mortgagee will not be able to order case numbers for sponsored originations unless their sponsored TPO has been registered in FHAC.

(2) Holds Tracking

If FHAC detects that a case number currently exists for the Property, a case number will not be assigned. The Mortgagee will receive notification that the case number assignment has been placed in Holds Tracking. The Mortgagee must review the Holds Tracking screen in FHAC to determine the necessary actions to obtain a case number.

(3) Canceling and Reinstating Case Numbers

(a) Canceling a Case Number

The Mortgagee may request cancellation of a case number by submitting a request to HUD. A case number will be cancelled only if:

  • an appraisal has not been completed and the Borrower will not close the Mortgage as an FHA-insured Mortgage;
  • the FHA mortgage insurance will not be sought; or
  • the appraisal has already expired.

The Mortgagee must submit a request for cancellation to the FHA Resource Center at answers@hud.gov using the Case Cancellation Request Template.

(b) Automatic Case Number Cancellations Case numbers are automatically cancelled after six months if one of the following actions is not performed as a last action:

  • appraisal information entered;
  • Firm Commitment issued by FHA;
  • insurance application received and subsequent updates; or
    Notices of Return (NOR) or resubmissions.

Updates to the Borrower’s name and/or property address, an appraisal update, or a transmission of the Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium (UFMIP) do not constitute Last Action Taken.

(c) Reinstatement of Case Numbers

The Mortgagee may request reinstatement of cancelled case numbers by submitting a request to the FHA Resource Center using the Case Reinstatement Request Template. Case numbers that were automatically cancelled will be reinstated only if the Mortgagee provides evidence that the subject Mortgage closed prior to cancellation of the case number, such as a Settlement Statement or similar legal document.

(4) Transferring Case Numbers

(a) Requirements for the Transferring Mortgagee

The original Mortgagee must assign the case number to the new Mortgagee using the Case Transfer function in FHAC immediately upon the Borrower’s request. The original Mortgagee may provide processing documents but is not required to do so. The original Mortgagee may not charge the Borrower for the transfer of any documents, but the original Mortgagee may negotiate a fee with the new Mortgagee for providing the processing documents. The original Mortgagee is never entitled to a fee for the transfer of processing documents for a Streamline Refinance.

(b) Case Number Transfer Involving a Rejected Mortgage

If the transfer involves a rejected Mortgage, the original Mortgagee must complete the Mortgage Credit Reject function in FHAC prior to transferring the Mortgage.

(c) Case Number Transfer Involving a Sponsored Third-Party Originator

Where a case number is transferred to a new approved Mortgagee or sponsored TPO, the original Mortgagee, its authorized agent, or sponsored TPO that is also an FHA-approved Mortgagee must complete the appropriate sections in FHAC as described in the FHAC Guide – Case Processing Support Functions.

(5) Ordering Title Commitments

The Mortgagee must order a title commitment to ensure the Property will be properly titled and the Mortgage secured in accordance with FHA requirements.

(6) Ordering Appraisals

The Mortgagee must order a new appraisal for each Mortgage or refinance case number assignment and may not reuse an appraisal that was performed under another case number, even if the prior appraisal is not yet more than 120 Days old.

(a) Appraisal Integrity

The Mortgagee is responsible for identifying any problems or potential problems with the integrity, accuracy and thoroughness of an appraisal submitted to FHA for mortgage insurance purposes. Appraisers must comply with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), including the Competency Rule, when conducting appraisals of Properties intended as security for FHA-insured financing. In appraising any Property for the purpose of obtaining FHA mortgage insurance, the Appraiser must certify that they are capable of performing the appraisal because they have the necessary qualifications and access to all necessary data. The Mortgagee must ensure that FHA is listed on the appraisal report as an Intended User of the appraisal.

(b) Selection of a Qualified Appraiser

The Mortgagee must order an appraisal from an Appraiser who is listed on the FHA Appraiser Roster and is qualified and knowledgeable in the specific market area in which the Property is located. The Mortgagee must evaluate the Appraiser’s education, training and actual field experience to determine whether the Appraiser has sufficient qualifications to perform the appraisal before assignment. The Mortgagee may not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity in the selection of an Appraiser.

(c) Use of Appraisal Management Company or Third-Party Contractors

The Mortgagee may engage an Appraisal Management Company (AMC) to perform services related to the obtaining of an appraisal. The Mortgagee remains responsible for the acts of its AMC or third-party contractors. The Mortgagee may not pay the AMC and other third-party contractors fees in excess of what is customary and reasonable for such services in the market area where the Property being appraised is located. Any management fees must be for actual services related to the ordering process, or review of appraisal for FHA financing.

(d) Appraiser Independence

The Mortgagee must ensure it does not compromise the Appraiser’s independence. The Mortgagee may not allow the Appraiser to be selected, retained, managed, or compensated by a mortgage broker or any member of a Mortgagee’s staff who is compensated on a commission basis tied to the successful completion of a Mortgage or who is not independent of the Mortgagee’s mortgage production staff or processes. The Mortgagee must ensure that it does not:

  • compensate the Appraiser at a rate that is not commensurate in the market area of the Property being appraised with the assignment type, complexity and scope of work required for the appraisal services performed;
  • withhold or threaten to withhold timely payment or partial payment for an appraisal report;
  • prohibit the Appraiser from recording the fee paid for the performance of the appraisal in the appraisal report;
  • condition the ordering of an appraisal report or the payment of an appraisal fee, salary, or bonus on the opinion, conclusion or valuation to be reached, or on a preliminary value estimate requested from an Appraiser;
  • provide to the Appraiser, appraisal company, AMC or any Entity or person related to the Appraiser, appraisal company or AMC, stock or other financial or non-financial benefits;
  • order, obtain, use, or pay for a second or subsequent appraisal or Automated Valuation Model (AVM) in connection with a Mortgage financing transaction unless: there is a reasonable basis to believe that the initial appraisal was flawed or tainted and such belief is clearly and appropriately noted in the mortgage file; or such appraisal or AVM was completed pursuant to written, pre-established bona fide pre- or post-Disbursement appraisal review or quality control process or underwriting guidelines and the Mortgagee adheres to a policy of selecting the most reliable appraisal, rather than the appraisal that states the highest value;
  • withhold or threaten to withhold future business from an Appraiser, or demote or terminate or threaten to demote or terminate an Appraiser in order to influence an Appraiser to arrive at a predetermined or desired value;
  • make expressed or implied promises of future business, promotions or increased compensation for an Appraiser in order to influence an Appraiser to arrive at a predetermined or desired value;
  • allow the removal of an Appraiser from a list of qualified Appraisers or the addition of an Appraiser to an exclusionary list of qualified Appraisers, used by any Entity, without prompt written notice to such Appraiser. The notice must include written evidence of the Appraiser’s illegal conduct, violation of USPAP or state licensing standards, improper or unprofessional behavior or other substantive reason for removal;
  • request that an Appraiser provide an estimated, predetermined or desired valuation in an appraisal report prior to the completion of the appraisal report, or request that an Appraiser provide estimated values or comparable sales at any time prior to the Appraiser’s completion of an appraisal report;
  • provide to the Appraiser an anticipated, estimated, encouraged or desired value for a subject Property or a proposed, or target amount to be loaned to the Borrower, except that a copy of the sales contract for purchase and any addendum must be provided; or
  • perform any other act or practice that impairs or attempts to impair an Appraiser’s independence, objectivity, or impartiality, or that violates any applicable law, regulation, or requirement.

(e) Additional Requirements When Ordering an Appraisal

The Mortgagee must provide to the selected Appraiser a complete copy of the subject sales contract including all addendums, land lease, surveys and other legal documents contained in the mortgage file necessary to analyze the Property. The Mortgagee must disclose all known information regarding any environmental hazard that is in or on the subject Property, or in the vicinity of the Property, whether obtained from the Borrower, the real estate broker, or any other party to the transaction.

(7) Transferring Existing Appraisals

In cases where a Borrower has switched Mortgagees, the first Mortgagee must, at the Borrower’s request, transfer the appraisal to the second Mortgagee within five business days. The Appraiser is not required to provide the appraisal to the new Mortgagee. The client name on the appraisal does not need to reflect the new Mortgagee. If the original Mortgagee has not been reimbursed for the cost of the appraisal, the Mortgagee is not required to transfer the appraisal until it is reimbursed. The second Mortgagee may not request the Appraiser to re-address the appraisal. If the second Mortgagee finds deficiencies in the appraisal, the Mortgagee must order a new appraisal. Where a Mortgagee uses an existing appraisal for a different Borrower, the Mortgagee must enter the new Borrower’s information in FHAC. The Mortgagee must collect an appraisal fee from the new Borrower and refund the fee to the original Borrower. If a Case Transfer is involved, the new Mortgagee must enter the Borrower’s information in FHAC. The new Mortgagee must collect an appraisal fee from the Borrower, and send the fee to the original Mortgagee, who, in turn, must refund the fee to the original Borrower.

(8) Ordering Second Appraisal

The Mortgagee is prohibited from ordering an additional appraisal to achieve an increase in value for the Property and/or the elimination or reduction of deficiencies and/or repairs required. The Mortgagee may order a second appraisal for Mortgages that are in accordance with requirements on Property Flipping.

(a) Second Appraisal by Original Mortgagee

A second appraisal may only be ordered if the Direct Endorsement (DE) underwriter (underwriter) determines the first appraisal is materially deficient and the Appraiser is unable or uncooperative in resolving the deficiency. The Mortgagee must fully document the deficiency and status of the appraisal in the mortgage file. The Mortgagee must pay for the second appraisal. Material deficiencies on appraisals are those deficiencies that have a direct impact on value and marketability. Material deficiencies include, but are not limited to:

  • failure to report readily observable defects that impact the health and safety of the occupants and/or structural soundness of the house;
  • reliance upon outdated or dissimilar comparable sales when more recent and/or comparable sales were available as of the effective date of the appraisal; and
  • fraudulent statements or conclusions when the Appraiser had reason to know or should have known that such statements or conclusions compromise the integrity, accuracy and/or thoroughness of the appraisal submitted to the client.

(b) Second Appraisal by Second Mortgagee

A second appraisal may only be ordered by the second Mortgagee under the following limited circumstances:

  • the first appraisal contains material deficiencies as determined by the underwriter for the second Mortgagee;
  • the Appraiser performing the first appraisal is prohibited from performing appraisals for the second Mortgagee; or
  • the first Mortgagee fails to provide a copy of the appraisal to the second Mortgagee in a timely manner, and the failure would cause a delay in closing and harm to the Borrower, including loss of interest rate lock, violation of purchase contract deadline, occurrence of foreclosure proceedings and imposition of late fees.

(c) Use of Second Appraisal

For the first two cases outlined above, the Mortgagee must rely only on the second appraisal and ensure that copies of both appraisals are retained in the case binder. For the third case above, the first appraisal must be added to the case binder if it is received.

(d) Required Documentation

The Mortgagee must document why a second appraisal was ordered and retain the explanation and all appraisal reports in the case binder.

(9) Ordering an Update to an Appraisal

The Mortgagee may only order an update if (1) it is a Mortgagee listed as an Intended User of the original appraisal or (2) it has received permission from the original client and the Appraiser. The Appraiser incorporates the original report being updated by attachment rather than by reference per Advisory Opinion 3 of the USPAP. The Mortgagee may use an update of appraisal only if:

  • it is performed by the FHA Appraiser who performed the original appraisal, who is currently in good standing on the FHA Appraiser Roster;
  • the Property has not declined in value;
  • the building improvements that contribute value to the Property can be observed from the street or a public way;
  • the exterior inspection of the Property reveals no deficiencies or other significant changes;
  • the update of appraisal was ordered by the Mortgagee and completed by the Appraiser prior to the expiration of the initial 120-Day period; and
  • the original appraisal report was not previously updated.