The appraiser must be familiar with the different restrictions and develop the appropriate value for the subject property. The supply of comparable sales and rental transactions vary by site and by tribes. Until sufficient sales exist on a reservation or within the specific Native American area to provide a reasonable sales comparison approach for determining the value of tribal trust leaseholds or allotted land sales, the appraiser must rely on other value indicators. The appraisal process must be documented more thoroughly than a typical market appraisal. USPAP Standards #1 and # 2 are effective to allow the appraiser to "correctly employ those recognized methods and techniques that are necessary to produce a credible appraisal. " And "in reporting the results of a real property appraisal an appraiser must communicate each analysis, opinion and conclusion in a manner that is not misleading." An appraisal on trust land may rely more on the cost approach, or data developed from other tribes. HUD will accept the report if the appraiser has documented the search, information developed and conclusions clearly for the intended users to understand.

A. Cost Approach

The cost approach is often the primary indication of value based on the unique nature of the reservation setting. In conjunction with the completion of this approach on tribal trust sites, the value of the site as vacant does not apply. On the cost approach addenda to the URAR the value of the site is zero or a small leasehold value. if the land lease is at market and there was no upfront payment the lease-fee value is equivalent to the leasehold value, which is zero. This is the typical scenario and no value exists for the underlying land. The appraiser should enter the statement "subject is on Tribal Trust Land with annual rent not capitalized" in comments. If a market exists and the land was purchased, the value is estimated via traditional methods.

1. New Construction

Due to the flexibility allowed by law, HUD permits the inclusion of development costs for new construction, which can exceed market value, to be used in both Section 248 and Section 184. Following are instructions specific to new construction on tribal lands. The basic appraisal methodology is addressed in Chapter 4 of this handbook. In addition to including the cost of water, septic, and any other on-site costs in the cost approach, for lands within the reservation, the appraiser may provide an allowance for off-site development costs. The lesser of actual pro-rated costs or up to 10% of the cost of the construction of the subject house may be added for off-site infrastructure associated with development of the subject lot. This policy applies principally to new construction where such charges are assessed by tribally approved entities such as housing entities or housing authorities, or agreements with other federal or local government bodies for providing power, utilities, sewer/water and/or road construction. The costs to bring utilities; including public water, sewer, electricity, and telephone represent significant development costs. The traditional tract development of residential homes may not be a part of the local culture. Therefore, the utility costs to hook-up to any form of a public system in a more rural area can exceed local standards.

In remote areas, the construction costs in the Marshall and Swift guide or related cost manuals may have to be adjusted for transportation, labor or other costs not included in the basic estimate. Architect fees are not typically reflected in the base building costs. Due to special circumstances the normal Alsite for this fee may not automatically reflect the above actual cost. The appraiser must provide a supporting explanation in the adjustments to the construction costs.

2. Existing Construction

Where market sales are limited, HUD requires the cost approach to be completed on all tribal trust appraisals, including a credible estimate of depreciation.

B. Sales Comparison Approach

Native American communities are developing economies at varying rates and degrees. It is important for the lender and HUD to understand the economic factors which affect value. Therefore the appraiser must communicate the local tribal housing market. The sales comparison approach will generally be completed, and in remote areas may involve sales up to 18 months old. Where no credible comparables are available, a narrative justification that discusses the market, and provides any sales, rental or vacancy information pertinent to the subject will be acceptable to support value developed from the cost approach. In addition to the typical data sources the appraiser may obtain sales information from the local tribal or Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) realty office. Sales from other reservations within the region may be considered. Each situation will have unique factors and the appraiser should explain deviations from the sales comparison approach instructions outlined in Chapter 4 of this Handbook. The order of selection preferences for sales would depend on the type of land being appraised.

  • Tribal Trust Leasehold sales (market sales between tribal members)
  • Sales of allotted land trust between tribal members
  • Fee Simple within the Reservation (residual value of the improvements by adjusting out the land contribution)
  • Fee Simple proximate to the Reservation

For comparable sales that include land value, an adjustment is required to back-out the raw land value. This adjustment is required when comparing a fee simple comparable sale to a Native American trust sale transaction. Enter adjustments on the form under "Other" and label as "Raw Land Value," which is determined separately for each of the comparable sales.

C. Income Approach

The income approach is generally not developed with regard to Native American Trust Land. If the property includes a rental unit(s), the appraiser must provide an estimate of monthly rent for each unit and note whether or not the rent is limited to the tribal sub-market. If the appraiser determines that this approach is justified, the appraiser should complete the income approach according to the specifications outlined in Chapter 4 of this Handbook.

A-2.3 Reconciliation of Value

The appraiser must determine the market value for the restricted trust properties from the limited data available. Value determination on trust land is an exception to typical HUD/FHA instructions; value is not limited to the lower of cost or market. Where market information is limited, greater weight may be given to the replacement cost approach. Document the decision process and the value.


On loans involving restricted trust land, with either Section 184 or Section 248, HUD waives the requirement of a strict interpretation of market value and will accept loans based on the above market cost approach. All other HUD health, safety, access, and property condition issues must conform to FHA requirements. The appraiser must indicate if the property is in need of, or in the process of receiving any repairs. Make appropriate requirements for repairs-to-be-completed and appraise the property "as repaired." The appraiser must indicate if the property conforms to the applicable Minimum Property Requirements of this Handbook. If it does not, the appraiser must recommend correction of the deficiency or rejection of the loan and explain. Tribally owned and maintained streets and utilities are considered publicly owned. Appraisers must require easements and a maintenance agreement for non-public, common ownership situations. HUD accepts tribal enforcement of building codes and inspections to the extent they are standard and enforced. At the point tribal support is not available, review and certification that the work complies with an appropriate national standard must be contracted out to a licensed or certified specialist. Example, a tribe issues building permits, but has no provisions for inspections. The lender/borrower must contract with a lender approved qualified specialist such as an engineer, architect or inspector. Inspection/approval by the Indian Health Service is acceptable for individual or community water and sewer systems. The remaining economic life must be estimated and reported but does not limit the mortgage. The subject property must possess sufficient remaining physical life to warrant a long-term mortgage. The mortgage term may not exceed the remaining physical life of the property.

A. HUD/FHA Section 248 and HUD/ONAP Section 184 Requirements

For both Section 248 and Section 184 programs, the property must be free of hazards, noxious odors, grossly offensive sights or excessive noises which might endanger the physical improvements, affect the livability of the property, its marketability, or the health and safety of its occupants. If any of these conditions exist, the appraiser must recommend correction of the problem or rejection of the loan and explain. For both programs, the appraiser will make appropriate requirements to correct any observed or potential environmental problems. Many reservations have not been mapped for the 100-year flood plain. If the appraiser observes a possible flood plain problem, they are to require flood insurance on existing properties. The Underwriter may waive the flood insurance requirement if the borrower or the tribe provides an elevation certificate from a licensed engineer that the property is not at risk from flooding. Note that the lowest floor (including basement) for new construction must be at or above the 100-year flood elevation.


The appraiser must report if an approach was not developed and insert the rationale for exclusion of the approach. The appraiser must attach an addendum complete with the assumptions supporting the indication of value by the cost approach. The cost approach is reconciled to the other values, if any, on the URAR. The appraiser will indicate any work requirements or VC pursuant to outstanding instructions. The DE underwriter/lender must assure acceptable completion of any work requirements pursuant to existing instructions.


To accommodate the special conditions associated with remote sites on Native American lands, the following assisted appraisal process is allowed. The assigned appraisers may network with local personnel where the high cost of real estate appraisals is a concern for underwriting single family mortgages in Native American communities. To minimize this problem, FHA and ONAP will allow the use of trained local personnel to perform the inspection, provide current analysis of the local market, and draft the appraisal report. The report must be forwarded to the assigned appraiser who win review the report, provide additional documentation, sign the URAR and forward the report to the lender. Using the Assisted Appraisal Process is restricted to remote areas where licensed appraisers are not readily available. It may be used when the cost of transportation and/or time increases the cost of the appraisal to twice the cost of typical appraisals in the local urban areas. The process must be monitored and acceptable to the DE underwriter/lender. The assigned appraiser may use local subcontractors who:

  • Have general real estate skills (construction, lending, sales, management) acceptable to the appraiser (such as Housing Authority staff, Tribal Designated Housing Entities (TDHE) staff or BIA realty personnel, local real estate professionals).
  • Must comply with the Conflict of Interest limitations (have no personal or financial interest with the buyers or sellers of the property).
  • An appraiser who signs a real property appraisal report prepared by another, even under the label of "review appraiser" must accept full responsibility for the contents of the report, USPAP Standard 2-5.
  • The assigned appraiser is responsible for the entire appraisal and signs the URAR. The individual assisting in the report must document the extent of help provided and certify no conflict of interest exists in the certification.
  • The assigned appraiser must be familiar with the Competency Rule in the USPAP. This includes key issues such as the unique property rights conveyed, the local market involved and market conditions. It is assumed the remote area markets will change slowly. If conditions have changed, an updated analysis is required. The assigned appraiser assumes all responsibility that the appraisal meets all HUD/FHA and ONAP program requirements.
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