In most cases, getting a mortgage loan requires a home appraisal. Usually, this is a rather long process that involves extensive analysis of a home by an appraiser, inside and out. But sometimes the process can be expedited by using a drive-by appraisal, in which the appraiser only looks at the home’s exterior. The other advantage, besides the speed, is that it’s much less invasive for any current occupants, especially if they are tenants. Of course, this is at the cost of a much less in-depth evaluation.
Also, it’s not always possible to get a drive-by appraisal. It’s essentially at the discretion of the lender whether a drive-by appraisal is allowed. If the lender wants a full investigation, they simply won’t approve the loan. That said, more and more lenders are permitting them as a result of COVID, since evaluating the interior can be risky. Lenders are also more likely to allow a drive-by appraisal for a refinance as opposed to a new loan.