Monday, March 31, 2008

Zaio launches Propertywise appraisal program

Zaio Inc., Scottsdale, Ariz., has released a new product that may make lenders feel better about allowing mortgage brokers to order appraisal reports, a practice that may be in danger of extinction.

Using Zaio's Propertywise Qualified Appraisal product, mortgage brokers can place an order that Zaio will then assign to an independent, pre-screened appraiser. When the appraisal is returned to Zaio, Zaio will review the appraisal, and reconcile the value against automated risk indicators. Once completed, the appraisal will be delivered to the broker along with a Propertywise Seal of Approval, which indicates to the broker and to investors that the appraisal was independently ordered and reviewed.

It's not yet clear what the value of the company's seal of approval will be to the GSEs or New York's attorney general, but at least one lender has already agreed to use the product. GMAC ResCap recently reached an agreement to use Zaio's Propertywise Qualified Appraisal program for certain mortgages purchased through its Homecomings Financial wholesale channel.

Zaio says that GMAC-ResCap worked with the company to create quality control procedures that promote the independence contemplated in the proposed Home Valuation Code of Conduct recently advanced by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. No information was included in the release about the GSEs' reaction to the product.

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