When UAD was initially introduced, it was expected that appraisers and lenders/agents would require a grace period in order to become familiar with the new changes such as the quality and condition ratings. But few of us in the profession expected the “Design (Style)” field to become such a puzzling question mark. After all, it’s not a required UAD data field, and Appendix D didn’t stipulate a drop-down list of allowable responses as it did for fields like “view” or “location.”
We believe there are two primary reasons the Design field has triggered so much confusion. The first stems from the words used to describe the data field and the second is the liberty that appraisers are given to complete the field.
Better clarification would have been obtained if “design” and “style” were not associated with the same data field. We agree that style is one of the products of design, but the two terms aren’t synonymous. While it’s easy to argue that “one-story,” “two-story,” or “brick” could be used to describe “design,” identifying the number of stories or exterior material doesn’t express a “style.” The examples provided in Appendix D, such as “Colonial” and “Georgian” further illustrate the GSEs want a recognized architectural style, and not necessarily the design. This is reinforced again as Appendix D prohibits using the number of stories or terms like “average” or “brick” in lieu of a style. Granted, many homes are relatively “unstyled,” but there’s a term for that as well, and we’ll share that with you during an upcoming webinar.
Based on the challenges that many appraisers face with this data field, it seems both appraisers and lenders would benefit from a refresher on the topic of architectural style. For this reason our next webinar in the UAD series addresses the issues related to the “Design (Style)” data field. These sessions are courtesy of ACI to enhance your UAD knowledge and efficiency on these challenging topics.