The home buying process can be complex, especially for veterans and service members utilizing the benefits of the VA home loan program. One unique aspect of this program is the Tidewater Initiative. This initiative is a critical, though often misunderstood, part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loan appraisal process. Understanding the Tidewater Initiative can help veterans and active-duty military members navigate the homebuying journey more effectively.

Here’s a comprehensive look at what the Tidewater Initiative entails and how it operates.

What is the Tidewater Initiative?

The Tidewater Initiative, formally known as the Tidewater Process, is a procedure implemented by the VA that allows for a reconsideration of value (ROV) before finalizing a property’s appraisal value. It was introduced to provide a fair and transparent system for addressing situations where the initial appraisal value of a home comes in lower than the sale price or the estimated value.

How Does the Tidewater Initiative Work?

The process starts after a VA appraiser has already worked up their opinion of the value of the home being appraised, and that value is lower than the contract price.  In such cases, the appraiser invokes the Tidewater Initiative by notifying the lender's point of contact (POC). This notification must occur before the appraisal is submitted, allowing stakeholders an opportunity to provide additional information to support the contract price.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the process:

  1. Tidewater Invocation: If an appraiser anticipates that the appraisal will fall short of the contract price, they initiate the Tidewater process. They     provide no details about the estimated value at this point.
  2. Information Gathering: Once the Tidewater is invoked, the lender’s POC (usually the loan officer or processor) notifies the agents involved and they have two business days (48 hours) to gather & submit additional information or comparable sales data to lend support to the contract price.
  3. Submission and Review: The gathered information is then submitted to the appraiser for review. The appraiser takes this additional data into     account and re-evaluates the property's value.
  4. Final Appraisal Report: After considering the additional information, the appraiser finalizes the appraisal report. This report may or may not meet the contract price, based on the appraiser's professional judgment and the additional data provided.

Why is the Tidewater Initiative Important?

The Tidewater Initiative is significant for several reasons:

  1. Transparency: It ensures transparency in the VA loan process by providing an opportunity to address concerns about property valuation before the appraisal is finalized
  2. Proactive Approach: It allows all parties involved in the transaction (buyers, sellers, and agents) to proactively provide additional information to support the property's value, rather than reacting to a completed appraisal that doesn't meet expectations.
  3. Preserving VA Loan Benefits: The Tidewater Initiative helps veterans and service members fully utilize their VA loan benefits without unnecessary compromises on property value.

Tips for Navigating the Tidewater Initiative

For those involved in a VA loan transaction, here are some tips for effectively navigating the Tidewater Initiative:

  • Be Prepared: Agents and lenders should be ready to provide additional comparable sales data or other relevant information quickly if the     Tidewater Initiative is invoked.
  • Understand the Limitations: It’s essential to realize that the Tidewater Initiative is not a guarantee that the appraisal value will match the contract price. The final appraisal value is still at the discretion of the professional appraiser.
  • Communication is Key: Open and prompt communication between the lender, real estate agent, and appraiser is crucial for making the Tidewater process as smooth and effective as possible.


The Tidewater Initiative is a valuable component of the VA loan process, offering a structured and fair mechanism for dealing with potential discrepancies in property valuation. By understanding and effectively navigating this process, veterans and active-duty military members can enhance their prospects of a successful home purchase, ensuring that the benefits of their VA loan are fully realized.

If you are a veteran looking to utilize your VA benefits to buy a home, give CapCenter a call. CapCenter helps veterans everyday get the most of their VA benefits with our ZERO Closing Cost loans.