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FHA Appraisal And Inspection

FHA Appraisal And Inspection

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This is a complete guide about the FHA inspection process as part of the appraisal and inspection protocols dictated by the Federal Housing Administration.

We will also discuss the related part of the appraisal as well, but we are mostly centered on the FHA inspection and its checklist.

Lenders and homebuyers alike are better protected by FHA lending restrictions, which include minimum property criteria.

The safety, security, and soundness of homes backed by FHA loans must encompass areas such as the roof, electricity, water heater systems, and domain access.

Planned maintenance and regular wear are not required to be repaired by the FHA if they do not jeopardize safety, security, or soundness.

Making repairs on a property before selling it, is a workaround for fulfilling requirements.

FHA 203(k) loans, which enable the acquisition of a house with substantial difficulties but are not available to purchasers who cannot become eligible for an FHA loan, are instead an alternative for buyers who cannot obtain eligibility for an FHA loan.

If you are purchasing or selling the property with an FHA loan, you will have to submit it to an inspection by an FHA representative. The buyer is responsible for paying for this examination, which goes into more detail than a conventional assessment does.

All properties financed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) are subject to a rigorous examination by the FHA. Checking for basic necessities like power, clean drinking water, heating, and fire extinguishers is the primary objective of the inspection process. As a result, the buyer may feel certain that the property he has just acquired is worth the money.

Unless a home meets the standards set by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the buyer will be unable to acquire it and his financing will be denied. It is important to remember that the borrower is liable for the cost of the home inspection.

The FHA inspection must be performed by a qualified US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) house appraiser. The inspector’s job is to guarantee that the home is structurally sound, safe, and secure, among other things.

The appraiser will compare the property to others that have recently sold in the same neighborhood. Additionally, he will inspect the “subject residence” from the inside and out. The appraiser will prepare a report detailing his conclusions after this assessment procedure. Any repairs that need to be made are also included in the report. After then, the lender will have a chance to go through it before taking any further action.

Home loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) enable borrowers to have lower credit scores and smaller down payments than traditional loans. Banks or other mortgage lenders provide the funding for these loans, which are then guaranteed by the federal govt.

A single-family home, a townhouse, or a condominium must be appraised by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) before this form of loan may be used to acquire it.

FHA-specific appraisals are required by the federal government in order to support a mortgage loan because the government needs to ensure that the loan is safe. The initial goal of an evaluation is to determine the house’s current market worth. As long as the loan amount is equal to or less than the home’s market worth, the government will be happy to support it, The inspector also will require to examine the home’s condition, lifespan, and livability as part of their evaluation.

What Is An FHA Appraisal?

An FHA appraisal verifies that the property fulfills the minimal requirements specified by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The market worth of a house may be estimated via the use of a home appraisal. The selling price is not impacted by the purchaser or borrower since the evaluation is done by a third party. Numerous mortgages and refinances call for an appraisal as a condition of the loan.

FHA loans are subject to a pre-closing inspection and appraisal of the property. The market value of a real estate object is determined through an FHA appraisal. Mortgage lenders utilize a property’s appraised value to determine the LTV ratio (loan to value). The maximum loan-to-value (LTV) for an FHA mortgage is 96.5%.

The loan-to-value ratio is calculated by the lender based on the projected market value provided by the appraiser. Lenders can avoid lending more than they can afford to lose, and purchasers may avoid borrowing a superior quantity than what the real estate object is worth thanks to this equation.

In order to assess the marketplace valuation of a home, a professional FHA licensed appraiser will compare and arrange prices of similar transactions in the region.

Quantity of bedrooms and baths, as well as any unique characteristics of the property, are taken as attributes to be considered for the arrangement of the prices in the vicinity and the final determination of the value of the property subject to the FHA mortgage loan.

Both the worth of your house and some basic safety checks are the major goals of an FHA assessment, as is the case with any home evaluation. It is possible for an FHA assessment to be a little more unusual than a standard mortgage, but the procedure is not fundamentally different. Property is given a value to ensure that the lender is not issuing a mortgage  loan for a higher value than what the for more than the property is worth. This will be explained in further detail in the following sections.

Since your lender would have to attempt to recoup as much money as possible for the investors if you fail on the loan, this is a reasonable precaution to take. Mortgage investors prepare for the worst-case situation, even if no one expects it to happen.

The appraisal also saves the prospective buyer from overpayment in the FHA loan . You will be able to get a clear picture of the home’s current market worth.

Safety assessments are performed to determine if the real estate object is suitable for immediate occupancy. A health and safety hazard might arise if the floorboards are exposed or the utilities are broken and that may jeopardize approval. So each issue has to be evaluated accordingly.

As part of traditional financing, the lender requests a market value assessment to evaluate the home’s worth. Appraisals for an FHA loan, on the other hand, are used for both reasons. As part of an FHA appraisal, it is determined whether the property fulfills the agency’s minimal property standards.

During the mortgage application process, an appraiser provides a written evaluation of a property’s value. The purpose of the appraisal is to evaluate whether the house is suitable for financing:

Calculates the property’s market value. Estimates are used by FHA in order to ensure the residence is of sufficient value to justify the amount of money it is going to guarantee.

Assesses the property’s physical condition. Any repairs required will be documented on a Valuation Conditions (VC) form by the appraiser.

Determines whether, or if, the real estate object is devoid of dangers, smells, physical flaws, and loud noises of any kind.

Assesses the property’s lifespan. A long-term mortgage is only appropriate if the property’s lifespan is predicted to be at least that long.

Analyzes the location of the property in its entirety. The site’s topography, appropriateness of soil, easements, encroachments, and neighboring properties will be examined by the appraiser.

Determines whether or not a house is habitable. The appraiser will look at the construction and operation of the building as a whole, as well as the living quarters on the first and second floors and in the basement.

For the most part, the appraiser will check for the following:

negatively impact the property’s physical state

jeopardize the well-being and safety of everyone within

influence the home’s marketability and livability.

The assessments are carried out by FHA-approved appraisers who adhere to strict rules while appraising the property. During the evaluation, they will:

Answer the VC form after visually inspecting the inside and outside of the property.

Take pictures of the property’s front, rear, and side.

What Does The Inspector Looks During An FHA Home Appraisal Process

During an FHA home appraisal, the inspector will look at the property itself during a physical visit and determine its safety, security, and soundness, and research the market value in relation to other similar real estate objects in the vicinity.

A house appraisal is required by the mortgage lender for legal reasons in order to determine the real worth of the property being acquired. This is to ensure that the house is worth the asking price. FHA loans demand this as well as a home inspection by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The house must fulfill basic requirements for safety, security, and soundness to approve the FHA inspection. 

It is the responsibility of a professional and HUD-approved property appraiser to perform an FHA inspection. As a general rule, the house must provide enough protection for its residents’ health and safety, as well as for their belongings. As a result, the building’s structural integrity remains unaffected.

On an FHA form, the inspector assesses whether the property fits these requirements. The Uniform Residential Appraisal document is used for detached single-family dwellings. In this section, the inspector also outlines any faults that need to be addressed before the HUD may authorize the loan.

When it comes to determining the home’s market worth, the HUD-compliant inspector will follow standard procedure. When he sees the home, he will compare it to other recently sold properties in the region. Keep in mind, however, that health and safety issues are the most significant component of the FHA and HUD’s review process here.

Safety, Security, And Soundness As Requirements To Pass The FHA Inspection Of The Real Estate Object: An FHA appraiser makes a physical visit to a house to take measurements, make notes, and take pictures. There is a thorough examination of the building’s construction, its interior and exterior conditions, the status of the fixtures and systems, and the overall property condition.

An FHA appraiser may point up safety concerns, such as peeling paint or shaky handrails, and the loan may be placed on “hold” until the problems are resolved. Using traditional assessment criteria for a conventional mortgage loan does not include this risk.

Appraisal Of The Market Value: Appraisers do market research by looking at similar houses that have been recently sold in the same region and over the prior six months. Site visit results are used to arrive at a valuation for the property.

In contrast to a conventional non-FHA appraisal, an FHA appraiser additionally inspects the whole facility for stability and soundness criteria to establish the genuine market value.

FHA appraisals are used to ensure that the selling price of a property is at least equal to its fair market value and assist in assessing the property’s worth and if it fulfills the agency’s basic standards. To determine whether the property is valued in accordance with the sale price, a HUD-approved housing appraisal is used.

To gain an indication of the house’s worth, an inspector often compares comparable residences previously sold in the vicinity to this one in question. It is possible to compare the property being examined to a nearby house with identical quantities of sleeping quarters, bathrooms, and other facilities. This improves the house’s value on the market.

As an appraiser and home inspector, an FHA appraiser is essentially doing double duty in the FHA’s unique assessment process.

When you purchase a home with a conventional loan, the appraiser is more interested in the property’s current market worth. With an FHA loan, the appraiser’s duties are split between determining the house’s worth and inspecting it for compliance with the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) basic health and safety criteria (HUD).

Because HUD needs a higher degree of inspection to fund a loan, this is the main difference between the two.

An inspection report is sent to the lender when this procedure is completed. Obtaining an FHA loan is sometimes as easy as getting approval from a lender in a conventional mortgage loan. When an inspection reveals issues, the bank will need to rectify them before the loan can be approved. Having an idea of what an inspector is looking for can assist speed up the loan application process.

FHA Appraisal Comparable Sales Proximity To Subject

A qualified, HUD-approved property appraiser must do the appraisal on all homes acquired with an FHA-insured mortgage loan under the 2021 FHA appraisal rules.

The appraiser must, at the very least, perform the following duties:

Examine the subject property from all sides, including the interior.

In order to have a record of the property, the appraiser requires to take pictures of it. This includes any value-enhancing additions like a swimming pool or deck, which must be included.

To support the appraisal, the FHA appraiser must take a picture of each similar sale transaction to the subject property.

Maps showing the location of the property in question and each of the comparable sales figures, utilized in the valuation process should be obtained and provided.

FHA Appraisal Requirements for Homes and Condos

Your home’s eligibility for an FHA loan is confirmed by an FHA appraisal. FHA appraisers do not conduct a full examination, but they do check for structural integrity and safety.

Financial and property conditions stipulated by HUD will have to be met before you can get a loan from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

The “minimum property criteria” set by HUD apply to all existing houses, as well as new ones. By following the FHA’s property regulations, you may be certain that your house is safe, habitable, and worth about the same price as the loan that the prospective borrower requires to obtain. 

Following are the criteria of the 2020 FHA rules for appraisers.

FHA Rules For Appraisers From 2020

All FHA-insured loans must be assessed by a HUD-approved qualified appraiser.

To complete the checklist on the VC form, the appraiser must assess both the inside and outside of the property.

Any renovations that raise the property’s worth should be documented in photographs taken from the front, rear, and sides.

To support the appraisal, all similar sales must be photographed as well as the actual transaction.

Each similar sale is shown on a simple print of a local street map.

Purpose For The FHA Appraisal And Inspection

The following are some of the topics that an FHA appraisal is used for:

Taking a look at the property’s location In addition to the location’s topography, appropriateness of the land, encroachments, and properties close to the region, the appraiser examines all of these factors.

The evaluation of the house’s livability The construction and overall operation of the property, both above and below ground, are all part of this evaluation. It is also inspected for any potential dangers.

Determining the property’s market value In order to arrive at an estimation for the asset being sold, the appraiser examines comparable properties in the region.

The property’s physical condition is inspected and evaluated. All of the repairs that the appraiser deems required are documented by the appraiser. It is necessary for him to complete a form known as the Valuation Condition (VC).

Determining how long the property will last. For a long-term mortgage, this is critical.

Difference Between FHA Appraisals And Appraisals In Conventional Home Loans

Unexpectedly, the FHA assessment criteria offer specific directions for evaluating the property, which sometimes catches buyers and homeowners off guard. In contrast to a typical appraisal, which focuses on determining the value of a property, this one focuses on the condition of the property. A Federal Housing Administration loan necessitates that the appraiser conducts two jobs at once.

Because HUD mandates a higher degree of examination in FHA assessments, this is the main difference. If the HUD-licensed professional in charge of the appraisal finds any safety concerns, such as peeling paint or sagging handrails, the loan cannot be authorized until the problems are resolved. A “hold” will be placed on your transaction until all issues have been addressed. This does not happen with the evaluation of a conventional mortgage loan. 

The following are the main distinctions between the two:

Using a traditional (non-government-insured) house loan, the appraiser is primarily concerned with the property’s current market value in a normal real estate transaction. He comes to the residence with the express purpose of doing this. He just cares about the property’s condition in relation to its market worth.

It is important to note that appraisers working with FHA loans have two goals in mind while doing their work. In the same manner, as an appraiser, HUD mandates the appraiser with the determination of the actual valuation in the market of the real estate object. 

For the lender and FHA, it ensures that the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) when you acquire a house is an acceptable risk.

A property inspection is required to ensure that the residence fulfills HUD’s minimal health and safety requirements. So here we are again, doing double-duty. This is what distinguishes the FHA appraisal procedure from others.

If the HUD-licensed professional in charge of the appraisal finds any safety concerns, such as peeling paint or sagging handrails, the loan cannot be authorized until the problems are resolved. A “hold” will be placed on your transaction until all issues have been addressed. This does not happen with the evaluation of a conventional mortgage loan. 

Having a separate “normal” house inspection from the FHA appraiser’s “health-and-safety” examination is a good idea for home purchasers. This is encouraged by HUD, which mandates the borrower to sign the following statement:

“I understand the importance of getting an independent home inspection. I have thought about this before I signed a contract with the seller for a home.”

Prior to signing a deal with the vendor, HUD recommends regular house inspections, that are not required by any legal regulation, but they are highly recommended. Among both buyers and sellers, this is a widespread misunderstanding.

What is the Difference Between an FHA Inspection and an Appraisal?

FHA inspections and appraisals are not interchangeable terms. An FHA inspection examines the property in great detail to assess its condition, while an FHA appraisal verifies its monetary worth.

The inspection performed by the FHA entails a thorough examination of the residence to ascertain its current condition. It gives the buyer valuable information about the property’s current state, which helps him in making an informed purchase choice. Typically, an FHA-approved mortgage plan does not need an FHA inspection.

The FHA appraisal, as opposed to the conventional appraisal, is based on a comparison of the home being purchased with comparable homes in the region. As a result of this, the market worth of the property may be estimated. In order to get an FHA loan, a qualified HUD appraiser is required to determine the property valuation. In order to get a mortgage, an appraiser conducts an in-depth review of the property.

An FHA inspection is a comprehensive examination of the property. During the inspection, it is searching for structural flaws, risks, and ensures that the property meets FHA minimum criteria. Additionally, the FHA inspection certifies the home’s genuine market value.

A non-FHA standard appraisal merely confirms that the home’s genuine market worth is similar to the sale price determined for the prospective mortgage loan.  The purpose of the appraisal is the protection of the lender, not to protect the buyer.

An FHA-insured loan requires an inspection and assessment by the agency. Check out our FHA-approved properties page for additional information on the minimum property requirements.

Your prospective house’s worth will be determined by a home appraisal required by your mortgage lender. If you are applying for a loan, an appraisal is a necessary component of the process.

However, this assessment will not give any precise information regarding the home’s condition. Rather than focusing on the specific features of the house, an appraiser will look at the neighborhood, size, and overall condition.

The appraiser, in contrast to a home inspector, will not creep inside the crawl space or scale the roof in search of roofing issues.

The FHA’s Minimum Property Standards

To pass an FHA appraisal, there are minimum property standards required. Therefore, it is normal that a property that would be eligible for a conventional mortgage is instead not eligible for a stricter FHA mortgage loan.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has implemented certain minimum property standards to protect lenders.

However, as they are implemented, they also protect borrowers.

The FHA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mandate the following minimum requirements for homes funded using their loan products:

Inhabitants’ health and safety should be ensured by the structure of the house itself.

The property should be protected by the home’s security measures.

The property should be structurally sound, with no physical defects or circumstances that might compromise its integrity. 

Handrails not present in stairs with more than two steps are a reason for rejection.

Inoperable exit doors with cracks or damage but still functioning

There are some small leaks in the pipes where a dripping faucet, for example, is one good example of this.

Floor finishes or coverings that do not work well. Carpets whose finish is worn through and are badly soiled

Wood-eating bugs and other organisms have done damage in the past, however, there is no indication or proof of structural damage that has not been fixed.

Some countertops are broken or have been used up.

Plaster, sheetrock, and other materials on walls and ceilings that have been damaged can be found in homes that were built after 1978.

Poor quality of work

The risks of a trip. Pavements that are partially or completely cracked, or carpeting that is poorly installed. Driveways with concrete that is not leveled and that would require a concrete raising with an injection of foam or at least mudjacking of some kind.

Crawlspaces with garbage and debris and severe water damage.

Validity Of The FHA Appraisal

Appraisals have a validity of 120 days, but there is the possibility of extending them for another 30 days in some circumstances, such as when a home sale contract is signed prior to the appraisal’s expiration date. For example, if the buyer signs a contract before the appraisal’s end of validity date. 

In that case, even when the FHA appraisal expired, there is a contract signed and the appraisal performed earlier stays.

The FHA examines the premises to ensure that the residents’ health and safety are not jeopardized. The Federal Housing Administration’s inspection team has been more permissive over the years. If the inspectors discover any repairable damage, the FHA may still approve the loan, provided that these damages can be reasonably repaired. 

However, if there are major repairs that need to be done, the FHA loan would not become approved until the next inspection is completed and approved.

Consider the following scenario: If a room is missing all of its exterior doors, the FHA puts the loan on hold, you cannot proceed with the loan processing until those deficiencies are addressed.

The house is used as security for the loan when a borrower obtains the mortgage. As a result, the mortgage lender may foreclose on the property and reclaim it from the borrower. In order to recoup as much money as possible from the loan, the lender will subsequently sell the property.

The lender’s interests are protected by mandating that the facility fulfill certain requirements. Because of this, if a foreclosure is necessary, the house must be simpler to sell and fetch a greater price for the lender.

The borrower, on the other hand, is protected by this requirement: It ensures that they will not be saddled with expensive house repair and maintenance costs from the outset. With a stable location to live, the borrower is more likely to perform the payment of the installments and avoid losing their newly acquired house.

The inside and outside of the house must be completed and “marketable” in order for it to be considered a full residence. Due to incomplete construction, it will not qualify as an FHA-approved residence.

Access to the site must be available to the general public and not necessitate neither infringing on a privately-owned house or building nor the request on an easement to a third party.

The residence should be accessible out of a public network of streets or roads in a safe manner.

Any exposed electrical wiring or lead-based paint should be removed before selling the house.

FHA Appraisal Checklists

HUD-approved property appraisers employ an FHA appraisal checklist to arrive at an estimate of the property’s current market value. Access to transportation, health care, and education are just a few examples of what goes into making a city livable.

Using this tool helps to ensure that the property is in compliance with FHA regulations, which protects both the lender and the purchaser.

Verifying the property’s details and providing transparency to stakeholders are two benefits of an FHA appraisal.

Safety, security, and soundness were grouped into three categories by Housing and Urban Development (HUD). When completing an FHA appraisal form, keep in mind the 3 S’s.

1. Safety

Appraisers should check the degree of risk to guarantee that purchasers and occupants are protected from undesirable outcomes. They should examine. A look at the following health & safety is essential:

  • Threats to human health and the environment
  • The house’s structural soundness;
  • Utilities, such as electrical installation.
  • Other chemical risks, such as lead-based paint.

During the FHA inspection, safety is paramount. The inspector will examine the home’s inside and exterior for vulnerabilities.

This might be an oil tank on the property that is leaking or a hazardous waste dump adjacent. True, it is an extreme case, but the surrounding environment will dictate whether the house passes inspection.

If the property is located near an airport and its flight pattern, excessive noise concerns may exist, disqualifying the home from being financed via an FHA loan.

Additionally, the inspector will ensure that each dormitory has a window or door that may be utilized as a fire exit.

2. Security

In order to protect the lender, it is necessary to assess the market worth of the property, which acts as collateral for the loan. In order to verify the property’s security, an FHA inspector will look at the following things:

  • The property’s physical and aesthetic state;
  • Problems with drainage and grading;
  • a possible lack of water supply;
  • Accessibility to public roads without requiring an easement.

3. Soundness

Inspectors and appraisers should look for any physical defects or circumstances that might compromise the property’s structure before conducting an evaluation. The damage to the house and the need for repairs are examined using the following FHA home inspection checklist.

Damage caused by sinkholes or other natural depressions;

Large or many fissures in the building’s foundation or walls;

Ventilation systems that do not work well;

Irrigation system failure due to leaking roof and gutters.

Pest infestation. Although, the presence of burrows around the foundation in the landscape or garden might not provoke any rejection.

Buying a property that meets the minimal criteria helps homebuyers save money in the long run by avoiding costly repairs and replacements. When it comes to the borrower, it guarantees that the value of their house is not diminished due to a missed payment and lowers the likelihood of having to pay insurance claims.

Is an FHA Appraisal Something to Be Afraid Of?

The only thing to be concerned with is whether or not the property itself is safe, secure, and sound. Before the FHA assessment, it is a good idea to double-check everything to make sure the property passes and no extra repairs are required.

A third-party inspector who is familiar with HUD guidelines may provide a more accurate assessment of the property’s condition if you are uncertain. It is not needed to be concerned regarding an FHA appraisal in the case that the real estate object is approved in this examination or just has a few aspects to rectify. This gives you a chance to correct any faults that are discovered during the inspection or by a third-party inspector before the property is officially assessed by the FHA.

How does the FHA Appraisal Process Work?

The property will be inspected by an FHA-approved appraiser who is well-versed in the ins and outs of the mortgage financing process.

In the case of a single-family house, the appraiser will prepare a form known as the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report, which also details the property’s numerous characteristics. There will be a Condominium Unit Appraisal Report completed by the appraiser for a condominium.

The appraiser will also offer the FHA an assessment of the property’s market value during the inspection.

HUD’s acceptance requirements include that an appraiser must identify any deficiencies within a property and estimate the cost of fixing them if they are discovered during the inspection.

If an FHA appraiser is unable to identify whether a property genuinely fulfills HUD criteria, the mortgage lender might hire another certified inspector to examine the property as a second opinion is required.

FHA Inspection Checklist: What Does A Licensed Inspector Look for in an FHA Inspection?

When it comes to preparing for an assessment, there are not many items on your checklist that need to be completed ahead of time. The appraiser is the one who performs the heavy lifting.

The property must be free of risks and situations that might endanger the health and safety of the residents or have an unfavorable effect on the structural soundness and utilization of the property.

Because of FHA requirements, the appraiser will examine numerous components of the property during its visit. In order to qualify for an FHA-insured loan, you must meet the very minimum eligibility standards. A checklist of the things an FHA licensed inspector might be searching for is provided below.

The home is inspected by an FHA appraiser who makes notes on the building and other important features, such as the layout. In addition, he will keep a lookout for any dangers that need to be addressed prior to the property being authorized for an FHA loan. Here are a few examples:

Single Real Estate Register

The property must be comprised of a unique real estate object in one single registrar entity.

This will be checked by the Direct Endorsement underwriter from HUD and must appear in the public register after a simple title search and evaluated during the underwriting process.

Access To The Property And Easements

Access from public roads to the property must provide safe and appropriate access to vehicles as well as pedestrians under any weather conditions.

Additionally, the residence must have sufficient access for enforcement, firefighting, and ambulance emergencies. This is a case of a legal easement

It is accepted that the real estate object may be located on a gravel road, but it must be passable with a vehicle.

It is necessary to offer access to the property without the need to go to another location, except that a non-possessory right of easement is in place and properly recorded.

Recorded easements should be revealed by a title search. It is the responsibility of the DE Underwriter (Direct Endorsement Underwriter from HUD) who will finally underwrite and approve government-insured loans, to determine whether there is evidence of a permanent easement within the public records.

Encroachment

The inspected property may not infringe on the land of an adjacent real estate object in any way or shape.

Structures on neighboring properties are not permitted to intrude on the land you are acquiring. These concerns must be remedied prior to the closing phase.

As long as the encroachment is not detrimental to the property’s value, a fence may be allowed to stay in place.

Roofing

Roofing shall be watertight and strong enough to survive for at least two to three years.

Asphalt shingles have a lifespan of fifteen to forty years so the material and the conditions of the roof are key.

Furthermore, up to 3 layers may be present on the roof. An entirely new roof would be required if the appraiser determines that there is sufficient damage. 

An entirely new roof would be required if the appraiser determines that there is sufficient damage.  The reliability of the building’s structure is critical to the well-being of its tenants. If a property has structural issues, leaks, moisture, rot, or termite damage, it will not pass a property inspection.

If the tar paper is damaged or peeled, this is not an issue if the roof is not compromised, but the inspector might raise this issue in the checklist during the FHA inspection.

The roof must be in excellent condition in order to keep moisture out of the house.

Repairs must be completed in order for an FHA loan to proceed in this situation.

We discuss here what factors must be considered when buying a house with an old roof.

Structural Soundness Chapter For FHA inspections

Any defective structural conditions and any other conditions that could lead to future structural damage must be remedied before the property can be sold. These include defective construction, excessive dampness, leakage, decay, termite damage, and continuing settlement.

Facilities And Amenities Available

Heating, water, and electricity must be provided in every room that is livable. There are, however, certain exceptions in locations with mild winters. In addition, local construction requirements must be followed while installing the water heater. Electric boxes or switchboards must also be free of broken or exposed cables.

Bathroom

Verification of toilet, sink, and tub or shower plate in good working condition without leaks.

The requirement of having a functioning sink and shower might seem obvious but many homeowners take them away during foreclosure and also some are stolen from empty houses.

The bathroom must have ventilation in the form of a window, an exhaust fan or any standard ventilation device.

Let me clarify that having a window is not mandatory and the bathroom will do well with a simple ventilation or an exhaust fan.

Kitchen

There should be a refrigerator, a stove, and a sink in working condition, and the latter, with no water leaking.

There has to be a surface available for the preparation and serving of food.

Handrailing In The Stairways During FHA Inspections

Stairways must have a handrail if there are more than three steps.

Water Heaters

If there is a water heater, it should not have leaks.

The water heater must be tested to ensure it is functioning properly.

There are no indications about tankless water heaters or any specific location required.

The water heater must be in good working condition, with scheduled maintenance being conducted timely. In practice, I have not seen that FHA inspectors request a maintenance or service plan to the homeowner.

The water heater must adhere to the local building codes and must convey the type of property. What does this mean? The water heater cannot be a model eligible only for manufactured homes, so it has to be a HUD-approved device.

Plumbing

Fewer specifications here than in other areas, just that the plumbing system has to be in good working conditions.

The water heater must have no leaks. Despite what you will read in forums, the latest FHA rules do not indicate that the water heater must be installed in a specific location.

Environment, Health, And Safety (EHS)

Additional health and safety risks include blockage in doorways and stairs without handrailing.

There is no evidence of lead-based paint (code VC-12). Must have surfaces free of chipping or peeling lead-based paint in homes constructed before 1978. The concern is here about the presence of exposed lead.

The home must be free of contamination in the soil, and this is in the FHA inspection checklist with the code VC-2.

We will include the analysis of asbestos in the paragraph below.

Presence Of Asbestos During FHA Inspection

Appraisers look for possible safety issues like asbestos while inspecting a property for value. Additional testing is needed if the inspector discovers asbestos that has been damaged.

Therefore, if an area of the home contains asbestos that appears to be damaged or deteriorating, the FHA requires further inspection by an asbestos professional.

Water Sprinklers

Water sprinklers – If the property has a sprinkler system installed all zones must be tested to ensure functionality.

The water sprinklers must be turned on and tested during the FHA inspection.

Septic System

The septic system (when there is one) must be in working order. The septic system must be visually inspected for readily observable evidence of system failure, along with the septic system’s immediate surrounding area.

There must be a minimum distance between the wells and the septic tank. The septic tank will need to be at least 50 feet away from the home.

The well needs to be 10 feet away from the property. If this distance is not met, the interested party may need to fix it.

Presence Of Water In Yards And Landscapes Near The Foundation

There is a special check within the FHA inspection for the verification of standing water next to the “structure”. For “next to the structure”, we understand that is inside the real estate object but outside the foundation, as the foundation has a verification on its own.

Is there the presence of standing water next to the structure?

Checking for standing water on and around the property can reveal grading issues that could otherwise have been missed. Look closely for puddles of water.

Foundation: Crawlspaces And Basements

Attics and crawlspaces should have natural and enough ventilation.

There should be access to the crawlspace and sufficient height so a person can reasonably crawl therein.

Regulations after 2020 and some inspections after 2022 are putting a lot of emphasis on water damage. There is a drainage check that verifies that any excess water can flow easily away from the foundation.

So what does “proper drainage” means in this context? Proper drainage should combine guttering and downspouts with appropriate grading or landscaping to encourage water to flow away from the structural foundations.

The FHA licensed inspector will check for any evidence of past or present standing water in the basement or in the crawl space. Therefore, ensure that the floor and the beams are free of mold and that the joists are not rotten or have signs of humidity.

Despite what we usually read in forums, FHA inspectors will not check if there is a French drain. There are many ways to protect your foundation against water damage so you can do it without a sump pump and without a French drain as well.

In practice, FHA inspections achieve more chances of approval when there is a vapor barrier or an encapsulation in place. But the FHA regulations do not require it.

Sistering floor joists is a standard procedure in the framing industry. In practice, the FHA inspector does not check if the new joist is properly sistered and carrying the structural load of the original joist.

VC-10 Mechanical Systems Specific FHA Inspection Chapter

The appraiser must inspect all the appliances present on the property. This will involve turning the appliances on and monitoring them while in use to make sure they are in full working order.

Mold

Mold Inspection – The home must be 100% free of mold.

Electricity

The availability of electricity is required for lights and any other devices.

Aluminum wiring is not on the list of electricity checks performed during an FHA inspection. However, it is something that you would want to identify: we have an article analyzing the pros and cons of buying a house with aluminum wiring and how remediation can be done.

Nevertheless, there cannot be wires that are loose, switchboards or breakers must function correctly.

Switchboards and electrical boxes must not have any frayed or exposed wires, but pigtailing of aluminum wiring is fine when performed according to Alumiconn or COPALUM industry standards.

Pigtailing of aluminum wiring is not observed generally, according to my experience. I have seen inspections with a COPALUM arrangement that brought no issues.

Air Conditioning And Heating During An FHA Inspection

Calefaction sources must be functional, and compliant with any applicable local regulations.

All habitable rooms must have a functioning heat source (except in a few selected cities with mild winters).

Areas with cold winter months, and this is the majority of US cities, must have a fully functional heat source in all the habitable rooms.

Air conditioning and heater – Heating and air condition systems must be inspected to ensure they are completely operational.

All systems must be turned on during an FHA inspection to test their functioning.

Garage Doors In FHA Inspections

Does the mechanical garage door fail to stop when it meets reasonable resistance?

Converted garages have a specific scrutiny. It is up to the underwriter’s decision if this type of garage can stay or if it will need to be fixed. In some cases, it may need to be taken apart.

The appraiser can give a value to the home without the converted garage and, in some cases, may deduct the cost for removing the garage from the value of the home.

Sewage And Wastewater Management

The site must have a suitable drainage system to keep wastewater away from the foundation perimeter.

It is necessary to have an adequate and reliable water supply.

It is necessary to have a safe and hygienic sewage disposal system.

Sewer connection either to the city sewer or an operable septic system

Pest Control In FHA Inspections: Termites

Termite Inspection general principle. The interior and exterior of the home should be inspected for termites.

Existing termite treatment systems should be checked.

Rodent droppings, termite tunnels, or other signs of pest infestation constitute another essential part of the inspection. The home and any other structures, such as sheds or garages, are examined at the ground area for signs of termite infestation.

Concentrations of wood in the yard, like a wooden enclosure for plants, are checked for evidence of termites.

In all cases where wood from the primary structure makes direct contact with the ground, the FHA inspector could order an additional terminate inspection.

In the case of condominiums, a termite inspection would only be required for the first-floor units.

The key elements to check to uncover potential termite presence include but are not limited to:

Mud tunnels up the side of the building

Swarms around wooden structures

Small collections of wings around windows and windowsill areas

Excessive dampness

Areas where vegetation has died

VC-1 Location Hazards And Nuisances (Code VC-1 For FHA Inspections)

Section VC-1 pertains to general potential problems within the immediate location of the premises.

Overhead high voltage transmission lines: Low voltage lines must also not directly pass over living spaces including pools of the property being insured by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Broadcasting towers nearby.

Explosion-prone locations such as an oil piping network nearby. 

Proximity to a variety of potentially distracting noise sources, such as a nearby airport (however, I could not find practical examples of an FHA rejection for being close to an airport)

Sources of oil and gas near the home: The inspector will check whether the house is too close to outside hazards, such as a leaking oil tank or a waste dump. Oil or gas wells still in use within 300 feet of an existing building or 75 feet from new construction are marked by the inspector, as well as abandoned wells within 10 feet of new or existing structures.

There will be no subsurface storage tanks.

Mechanical systems must be secure, sheltered from damaging factors, functional, long-lasting, and of good quality in order to perform well.

It is necessary to have sufficient distance between buildings to enable for the upkeep of the outer walls.

The FHA inspector looks for nuisances and hazards around the property. Any sinkholes, or natural depressions in the ground’s surface, are noted by the inspector.

Some common nuisances the inspector checks for include noise in the area or sounds from an area with a lot of traffic, smoke, and excessive odors. We have already mentioned above that this issue can come from a nearby airport too.

Completion Of The VC Form After The FHA Inspection

Where the appraiser completes the VC Form, they will make a note of the condition and any faults that may exist in each item, as appropriate.

So in each point of the checklist, the FHA inspector may be writing remarks on what has to be repaired. For example “water heater located in the basement is leaking”.

The findings of the appraisal and inspection will be used by the lender to decide whether or not the property is eligible for financing.

FHA Required Repairs Before Closing

When it comes to housing conditions, the Federal Housing Administration is on the lookout for anything that might endanger residents’ health and safety. Before getting a loan, you may have to fix up a few things. Among them include, but are not limited to:

  • Repairing flaking paint in pre-1978 houses. If they are made with lead, they might be harmful.
  • Non-painted downspouts
  • Inoperable rain gutters
  • Incorrectly functioning exterior doors
  • Parts of the estate which should removed because they are rotting
  • Uncovered wiring
  • Plumbing system leaks
  • Roofs that are leaking or need to be repaired
  • Roofs projected to last less than three years
  • Symptoms of an infestation by termites
  • Supports that have begun to rot.
  • Ovens and other kitchen items are missing from the property.
  • Bedrooms without windows or with windows that do not open-
  • The foundation has problems or fractures in it.
  • Standing water in the basement
  • Swimming pools that have cracks
  • No T&P valves in a water heater
  • Fences that are damaged or falling apart when they divide the property in order to avoid confusion or encroachment of the two different real estate objects.

Is It Hard to Pass An FHA Inspection?

An FHA inspection should not be too difficult to pass if the property fulfills the HUD’s three minimal requirements. Preparing ahead of time for the FHA inspection can boost the odds of the property passing.

Do a walk-through of the property to look for risks, damaged systems or components, and other quality concerns. Do a dummy FHA inspection to identify and fix all of these issues before the real thing.

Which Defects Will The FHA Inspection Overlook?

The FHA’s safety regulations may seem to be overbearing. However, take into consideration that many of these challenges are solvable. Furthermore, the FHA does not assign a high value to minor aesthetic flaws, delayed repair, or regular wear and tear. It will most likely pass inspection as long as it is not significantly damaging to safety, security, and soundness. Following is a list of such examples:

  • Floor joists that are sistered and the new joist does not clearly receive the structural load transferred properly.
  • Damaged windows, doors, countertops, and other appliances that are still in ordinary use.
  • Aluminum wiring that has not gone through a remediation process of any type. However, even if this can pass an FHA inspection, it is an issue in the FHA underwriting process.
  • Sistered floor joists that follow a nail pattern contrary to IRC regulations
  • Missing handrails in stairways.
  • Peeling paint in homes built after 1978. Houses built earlier could have the presence of lead, so peeling paint will not be overlooked during FHA inspections in those houses.
  • Minor leaking, some small puddles of water after heavy rain in the crawl space or basement, or a minor water heater leaking.
  • Damaged plaster, ceiling material in homes built after 1978
  • Flooring that is in poor condition but without an evident sagging or sinking, otherwise, it would not pass the FHA inspection because it indicates a problem with the framing that can affect the whole property.
  • If the driveway is built with a material not regarded as weather resistant.
  • Flat roofs that would require a refurbishment in a couple of years.

Who Does FHA Home Appraisals?

FHA house appraisals are performed by trained specialists. Home appraisers that are FHA-approved must complete numerous hours of training and countless hours of supervised experience in order to become eligible. Before seeking to be included on the FHA Roster of Approved Appraisers, they must also pass exams and get a state license.

How Much Does An FHA Inspection Cost?

An FHA inspection will cost on average between $294 and $671, which is dependent upon the location and size of the property. 

There is not a defined nationwide fee for an FHA inspection. Whereas the FHA inspection is ordered by the seller, it is the prospective buyer that bears its costs as applicant for the FHA mortgage loan. 

To learn more about how FHA closing fees are handled, see our article on FHA closing costs.

How Much Does An FHA Appraisal Cost?

FHA appraisal cost averages from $286 to $516 and is paid by the prospective buyer.

An FHA appraisal costs the same as an appraisal for a conventional mortgage loan.

The FHA appraisal cost is influenced by these factors:

  • Location from the office of the appraiser.
  • Quantity of living quarters in the property.
  • Square footage, especially with the presence of landscapes or gardens.
  • The suspicion or further analysis of a possible encroachment. The reason is that more time is required for the appraiser to deliver the appraisal results.
  • Specific registral anomalies that can affect the value of the home.

Who Pays For An FHA Appraisal?

The borrower pays the cost of the FHA appraisal while the seller usually orders it.

The FHA appraisal cost is often included in the FHA loan closing fees that must be paid by the borrower upon closing the FHA loan.

Lenders often demand that the borrower pays the whole amount of the FHA appraisal when applying for the FHA mortgage loan.

How Long Does The FHA Inspection Take?

An FHA inspection can take from a few hours long up to a complete working day since it is a thorough examination of all aspects of the property and larger properties will require an adequate scrutiny.

The comprehensive FHA inspection report may take a few days depending on the inspector’s workload and the complexity of the property inspected. There is an FHA inspection checklist followed and marked for each of the topics included therein.

When an inspector determines that certain issues must be addressed before a property may pass an FHA inspection, it may easily delay several working days for the issues to be rectified.

When Does FHA Appraisal Happen?

The FHA appraisal happens after the FHA mortgage loan is conditionally approved and before the FHA inspection.

The first step is to have your loan conditionally approved by the lender. The borrower may begin the FHA appraisal process after meeting the first standards for income, assets, credit, and other eligibility conditions. These standards are the conditional approval.

This is intended to save you from having to pay for an FHA inspection in the event your loan is really not approved conditionally.

Why Order An FHA Appraisal Instead Of A Conventional One

If you want to do an FHA refinance or utilize an FHA loan to purchase a property, you must undergo an FHA home appraisal.

After the buyer and the seller sign a sales contract, or in an FHA refinance with the signature of the application, the lender will schedule an appraisal that will be finally paid by the borrower.

It is later up to the borrower and the lender to determine whether or not to go through with the loan once the FHA appraisal is completed.

When an FHA house appraisal is issued, it is valid for 120 days from that date.

120 days is more than enough time for the typical buyer to complete the closing procedure. The borrower is able to get an extension on the loan closing papers if additional time is required.

How Long Is An FHA Appraisal Good For?

An FHA appraisal is good for 120 days. Eligible borrowers can obtain an extension for a further thirty days.

In normal situations, 120 days is enough time to proceed to the closing stage of the FHA mortgage loan.

How Long Does An FHA Appraisal Take ?

Appraisals are often done within a few days, just like appraisals for conventional mortgage loans.

However, the FHA appraiser’s schedule, effectiveness, and other situations may influence this.

In most cases, a trip to the property simply requires a few hours of your time. However, the appraiser must also do further research, such as comparing the property to other recently sold properties in the area.

As a result, the full evaluation procedure might take a few days to complete. A few appraisers can finish the procedure in only three days, although this may be quicker than the norm.

This is the process timeline where we can see how long the FHA appraisal process takes.

The borrower and the seller agree on the terms and conditions of the sales contract.

Both parties sign the contract for the sale of a residential real estate object.

After the signature, the lender orders an FHA appraisal and inspection.

The FHA appraisal requires a visit to the property. This visit in situ takes only a couple of hours, but the appraisal does not end here.

The appraiser performs a market research with the price of that property and an evaluation of other similar residential real estate objects in the vicinity.

The appraiser submits the report to the lender, namely to the interested parties.

There are 120 days from the conclusion of the FHA appraisal to the closing of the mortgage loan.

How Long After A FHA Appraisal And Inspection Do You Wait To Get The Result

After the FHA appraisal and inspection, you should wait an average of four working days to get the results, typically a working week of five days.

While some FHA appraisal and inspections are completed in a few days, most of them require more days so the FHA appraiser can study comparable sales in the area, take the pictures, complete the conclusions of the appraisal and deliver the results to the interested parties.

Otherwise, the actual physical inspection is completed in just one working days.

How Long To Close The FHA Loan After The Appraisal ?

How long does it take to close an FHA loan after the appraisal?

After the FHA appraisal, the buyer has 120 days to close the FHA loan.

The FHA appraiser will return and proceed to the verification that the observations to the FHA inspection and appraisal have been addressed properly, that the repairs have been completed, and that the property can be valued again properly.

What Do FHA Appraisers Look For

To begin, the FHA appraisers will establish the property’s current market value. The appraiser compares the property to similar properties that have been previously acquired in the neighborhood. The house will be compared to comparable properties with the same number of living quarters and bathrooms, as well as similar property attributes that might affect the home’s worth, like being in front of the sea, or near an airport.

Following that, the FHA inspector will conduct a thorough examination in accordance with FHA requirements to ensure that the house satisfies the FHA’s minimal standards for an approved property: this is the FHA inspection.

An FHA appraiser examines, assesses, and informs on whether or not a property complies with HUD’s “minimum property criteria” and, in the case of new construction, complies with “minimum property standards”. 

As explained in HUD’s Single-Family Housing Policy Handbook, the minimum property criteria are the FHA’s basic requirements that all residences insured by the agency be safe, sound, and secure.

On the other hand, minimum property standards address particular regulatory criteria pertaining to the safety, soundness, and security of new buildings.

As per HUD Handbook 4000.1, the property “must be free of all known hazards and adverse conditions that may affect the health and safety of the occupants.”

As a result, items tagged “subject to repair” are likely to be dangerous to occupants or to the building’s structural integrity. The basic topic of the guidelines is this.

It is HUD’s main concern that the homebuyer who will really be living in the house is safe and healthy. As a result, the vast majority of their inspection and evaluation checkpoints are focused on the property’s health and safety. The most important thing is that the house is safe to live in, with no possible threats for the people who live there.

In order to keep water out of the basement and/or foundation, the property should be sloped. As a result, the ground must be sloping away from the property, rather than toward it.

For the sake of fire safety, every bedroom should have an exit to the outside. As long as the window is big enough to facilitate exit, a bedroom window will serve.

Lead-based paint is still present in many houses constructed before 1978, posing a health risk. In these properties, the appraiser will inspect the paint for signs of wear and tear (peeling, chipping, etc.). Prior to a loan being given out, these criteria must be remedied.

A railing is required on every stairwell and on every step. This is a frequent reason for an appraisal to be rejected by the FHA.

In order to maintain “healthful and pleasant living circumstances,” the heating system must be adequate.

Ensure that the roof is in excellent condition and does not allow water to get into the house. As a rule, it should “offer adequate future usefulness, endurance, and efficiency of maintenance.”

In order for the foundation to sustain “all normal loads” exerted on it, it must be in excellent condition.

HUD defines new construction as properties that are under construction, slated for construction, or that were constructed within the last year.”  Existing construction” is defined as a structure that has been finished completely in its construction process for more than a year or that has been previously inhabited if built less than a year ago.

Appraisers’ observations are often confined to clearly apparent issues and are not comparable to the full examination done throughout the home buying process by a qualified house inspector.

FHA appraisers are obliged to verify that the property is in good working order. This ensures that systems such as electricity and utilities operate correctly.

They are also concerned with the home’s health and safety, ensuring that stair rails are secure and functioning and that stairs and exterior walks are free of cracks or hazards.

Additionally, they will check for chipped or damaged lead-based paint. In order for windows and doors to be considered safe, they are required to be equipped with safety latches and must operate adequately so that they can be closed or opened without issues. 

The FHA appraiser will examine the inside, exterior, and surrounding land in order to assess the house’s worth and to confirm that it complies with FHA home criteria. Additionally, they will take photographs to record any faults they see.

If the house does not satisfy FHA guidelines, your appraiser may propose repairs or seek an additional examination by a certified specialist before proceeding with the deal.

When the licensed FHA appraiser indicates that repairs are necessary, you have several options:

  • Solicit from the seller to perform the necessary repairs.
  • Utilize an FHA 203k loan to finance the repair required by the appraiser and the acquisition of the property as well.
  • Utilize a conventional mortgage, which requires a higher credit score but does not need such a thorough appraisal.

Is An Independent Inspection Required?

Whereas an additional independent inspection is not required, HUD recommends buyers perform an independent home inspection. This independent inspection is apart from the FHA inspection and appraisal and the certificate of occupancy inspection that the township can perform at a local level.

Indeed, the FHA loan procedure requires you to sign a statement stating that you appreciate the value of an independent home inspection and contemplated receiving one prior to entering into the purchase agreement with the seller through the signature of the contract.

It is recommended that you schedule an independent house inspection to safeguard your interests.

Is An FHA Second Appraisal Required ?

An FHA second appraisal is not required. However, HUD recommends that buyers perform their own inspections to obtain a better representation of the condition and livability of the property.

There is a widespread notion that FHA loans need two appraisals. This is not true. Only the one specified by the lender is necessary.

Buyers are not obliged to conduct a separate inspection since the assessment contains an inspection component. Bear in mind, however, that an FHA appraisal is just for mortgage insurance reasons and doesn’t represent a guarantee of the home’s condition. The FHA recommends that purchasers do their own inspections.

While an appraisal provides your lender with an estimate of the property’s worth, an inspection thoroughly evaluates the overall status so the buyer can make an informed choice about whether to purchase it.

Apart from the obligatory FHA appraisal and inspection that we study here, HUD highly advises purchasers to have a professional and independent home inspection.

FHA Loan Process After Appraisal

If the FHA appraiser considers that the home is structurally sound and secure according to the FHA guidelines, the parties are greenlighted to advance to the further stages of the FHA loan and through the closing stage.

It is possible that the appraiser may detect significant damage to the property and urge that repairs are performed as a condition for the FHA mortgage loan.

After the FHA inspection, there may be items indicated on the inspection report that was not acceptable. The inspector’s recommendations for repairs or changes require to be completed before the loan could be closed. This implies that the present homeowner would either have to make the necessary modifications or forego transferring to an FHA buyer altogether.

With the exception of these fixes, the house must be of a livable quality. To put it another way, if the house needs window repairs or some floor repairs, that is great. However, if there is no functioning kitchen or bathroom, the loan will not be approved or closed.

You may not be able to close on your FHA loan if the property has dangerous issues, such as a sinking foundation or a deteriorating roof.

If you do not like the prospect of a long repair procedure, you may just hunt for another house that meets FHA guidelines.

If the appraiser points out any small problems (such as leaky faucets, broken windows, or missing handrails), the seller can readily fix them.

The loan may proceed as long as these repairs have been completed and the FHA inspector states this.

Before the second visit of the inspector, ensure that all the repairs are done and keep all the related paperwork. For example, the document stating that the aluminum wiring has been successfully remediated.

This is quite different from conventional mortgage loans, where the interested parties may negotiate a price decrease to cover the cost of repairs that the buyer will be responsible for after closing. An FHA loan does not allow for this to happen. All repairs must be completed prior to the property being sold.

The lender might set up an escrow account linked with the repair activities needed that cannot be completed prior to the closing date if they are deemed necessary after the closing date. The price of doing the repairs will be included in the escrow account, and borrower labor will not be included as part of the total expenditures.

If the required repairs cannot be performed by the seller, the buyer has two options:

The first option is to walk away and cast glances elsewhere, as all sales contracts are made contingent on the results issued after the FHA appraisal and inspection.

Another option for the borrower is also to apply for an FHA 203(k) loan, which enables the acquisition of a property that has notable repair and maintenance marks during the FHA inspection.

What Happens After An FHA Appraisal

A HUD-approved appraiser performs an FHA examination to ensure that the property is safe, secure, and sound. If a property fails the FHA inspection due to substantial damage, it may be preferable for the seller to seek a borrower who is not searching for an FHA loan and would be eligible for a conventional mortgage.

The borrower, on the other hand, should look for better alternatives and search for a property in a better condition or take some time to improve the credit score in order to qualify for a conventional mortgage. 

To avoid issues, the sales contract must be always contingent on the results of the FHA appraisal and inspection.

The buyer, the seller, and the lender may need to resolve any concerns raised by your FHA appraisal before the property can be approved. The following list contains a few of the most frequent issues:

Appraisals from the FHA might point out repairs that need to be completed before a loan can go through. Once the repairs are completed, the home is conditionally authorized, and the appraiser takes note of the market value that the real estate object will have.  

However, it must be guaranteed that the repairs are finished before closing, or in certain situations, cash may need to be deposited into an escrow account if the repairs have to be performed after the closing (for instance painting the facade during the winter months in colder climate states).

Following the completion of the FHA assessment, the mortgage lender evaluates the report and may request that repairs be made based on the appraiser’s recommendations.

The appraisal will specify what has to be fixed in order for it to be FHA-compliant.

Unless otherwise stipulated in the selling contract, the seller is normally liable for repairs. Some contracts state that the property will be purchased “as is.” These repairs are scheduled to be finished before the closing stage

However, not always the seller is ready to make any repair, so the borrower might be in the situation of keeping looking for an FHA-approved house.

You may also choose an FHA 203(k) loan, which enables you to finance both the acquisition of the house and the necessary fixes from the FHA appraisal and inspection with a single loan. An FHA 203(k) loan may be used to finance a range of home repair activities as indicated by the conclusions of the FHA inspection. These repairs include structural changes, rebuilding, modernization, and the removal of risks as per HUD regulations in regards to hazards.

Obviously, if your earnings and credit score permit it, a conventional mortgage may be used to buy the house.

FHA Comparable Sales History

The FHA appraiser will have to determine the fair market value of the real estate object by an analysis of an FHA comparable sales history, what are the “comps” or “comparables”.

Following that investigation, they hunt for comparable recent sales of similar homes, referred to as “comps.” “Similar” is a critical term here. A three-bedroom southern colonial property is compared to a three-bedroom colonial-style proper in order to be regarded as “similar”. It is not comparable to a Scandinavian-type home of four bedrooms, even when the square footage can be similar.

Additionally, “comps” are often evaluated against comparable properties in the same – or very adjacent – communities. There is some leeway in places with more closely spaced dwellings, but this is something exceptional and not the norm. Frequently, up to three similar homes are used in an FHA comparable sales history.

The appraiser then compiles all of this information and awards the property a fair market value.

FHA Appraisal Came In Low

Occasionally, the appraised value is less than the acquisition price agreed upon earlier in the sales contract by both parties.

When this occurs, the buyer and seller might choose to renegotiate a lower price, or the buyer can withdraw if the seller refuses to accept a lower price and there is an appraisal contingency.

Therefore, you may receive your deposit back when the market value appraised is less than the sales price, allowing the prospective buyer to opt-out of the contract. This is because, in practice, these contracts are contingent on the results of the FHA inspection.

Alternatively, the buyer may request a price reduction from the seller keeping the FHA loan alive. Finally, you may file an application for a lower loan and compensate the difference with another asset.

Appraisals may be deal-breakers, instead, if they reveal a potential health or safety risk that the seller is unwilling or unable to remedy.

If, for example, a home’s foundation has to be repaired because of a structural defect, such as severe cracks in the basement wall,  the FHA is unlikely to provide insurance coverage.

FHA loans are not available in this situation.

So if the seller refuses to perform the repairs, the FHA loan will fall completely and cannot be closed.

It’s important to remember that an appraisal might be valid for several months, particularly in a market with low velocity where house values are not rising as quickly.

In a hot market, however, an evaluation may only be valid for three months before it becomes obsolete due to a higher market velocity.

You may appeal an FHA appraisal that you feel is incorrect, nevertheless, only a tiny proportion of appealed appraisals result in a revised value. Once the appraisal phase, which normally takes one week to ten days, is complete, the value is valid for 120 days. After its expiration, the prospective borrower may reapply for the loan and receive a fresh appraisal; however, you will be forced to a repayment of the FHA appraisal.

Probably all is easier to understand with an example:

In this typical case, there is an FHA appraisal performed and within ten business days, the appraiser returns with the appraisal report and releases it for the interested parties.

If the value of the appraisal is superior to the agreed values in the sales contract, then there is no problem and the buyer moves forward to the next stage of the FHA loan.

In the example, however, the FHA appraisal comes in low: the sales contract is for 280K while the appraisal comes back lower at 250K.

The lender will not approve a loan for these additional 30K, because this is more than the appraised value so here there are some options.

The seller can lower the price to adjust to the appraised value, something impossible in a market with high velocity.

The buyer can pay the difference between the agreed value and the appraised value or obtain a separate loan to cover this difference.

Otherwise, the operation will fall and both parties should walk away from the table.

Typically, the buyer must ensure that there is an appraisal contingency in the sales contract in order to dismiss the contract if the appraisal came in low. Without this appraisal contingency clause, the buyer will lose the earnest money deposit.

This is because an earnest money deposit is an amount of money put in escrow representing a promise that the buyer is undertaking the final steps to secure financing to buy the property. In order to retain the deposit when the buyer walks away, you have to be moving on due to a contingency defined in the agreement such as the “FHA appraisal contingency” to be utilized when the appraisal came in low.

The clause instead, will enable the buyer to walk away for free because the sales contract was made contingent on the results of the FHA appraisal.

What Won´t Pass FHA Inspection?

Despite the fact that appraisers may find a lot of issues, the majority of them might not affect the FHA inspection. However, health and safety problems like the presence of asbestos, lead paint, and bug infestations will result in an FHA rejection. In addition, a property’s lack of accessibility and the presence of structural problems in the foundation may disqualify it from FHA financing.

If you’ve been infatuated with a house, that however has deal-breaking flaws, found during the FHA inspection session, let´s see which options are available.

The first thing to do is to ask the seller to fix the problems found. To ensure that sellers receive their money back at the time of closing if they cannot afford repairs, the purchase price might be raised. Typically, if a home has serious issues, the buyer will want a lesser price to compensate. In certain cases, such as when the house is already priced well under market value or if the buyer is desperate enough to get their hands on it, a price increase might be a possibility. Buying a home from a bank might mean that the seller won’t be willing to enter into the repairs needed. Here, the sales contract is over. These sales contracts are made contingent on the result of the FHA inspection.

Therefore, only cash buyers or buyers who are not requiring FHA financing due to their credit score are the only ones who will be able to purchase the property in its current state as they can be able to negotiate a write-off in the total price to compensate these fixes.

FHA Appraisal Subject To Repairs

It can happen during the FHA appraisal and inspection process, that the inspector marks items as “subject to repairs” or for “further repair”.

An object tagged for “subject to repairs” indicates that it need further repair or inspection. Minimum Property Standards are met, and the loan’s value is conditional on the completion of needed repairs.

While certain issues may be readily remedied in order to qualify for conditional approval, if the damage is serious, the lender might decline to continue with the sales contract as these operations are always made contingent on the result of the FHA appraisal and inspection. 

The appraiser may indicate that issues need correction or further scrutiny. If they do, they will classify it “as-repaired,” which means that the home’s value and eligibility for satisfying the Minimum Property Requirements are conditional on the item’s repair.

The official FHA appraisal criteria for 2021 say plainly: “Required repairs are limited to those repairs necessary to preserve the continued marketability of the property and to protect the health and safety of the occupants.”

Certain issues are repairable and may be quickly remedied, in which case the residence will obtain conditional approval.

Do not be concerned with the breadth of the inspector’s list of deficiencies; rather, focus on the seriousness of the deficiencies.

Numerous concerns, such as loosened door handles or cracks in the cemented driveway, will be so tiny that you will overlook them immediately, despite the fact that you are aware they exist.

However, some faults might be deal-breakers: difficulties with the physical construction of the property, for example, or safety concerns such as lead pipes or inappropriate furnace or water heater installation.

There is a widespread misperception that FHA assessments are too stringent and that any remark in the checklist done by the FHA inspector would result in your FHA mortgage loan application being denied.

This is not accurate. Indeed, the FHA appraisal’s health-and-safety requirements have loosened somewhat over the years.

Additionally, the majority of problems that I see in practice are completely rectifiable. If they are fixed prior to the final inspection (in this case the FHA inspector does a follow-up on the hit list thus returning to the problems noticed in the checklist), the loan may still proceed.

Typically, the only “deal breakers” are significant safety concerns that cannot be quickly remedied. A bedroom without windows or doors, for example, would have no means of exit in the case of a fire.

An older house with deteriorating roofing and cracks in the foundation is another example. In each of these instances, the differences (A) produce dangerous circumstances and (B) are difficult to correct. These are the sorts of concerns that might derail FHA loans.

However, in the majority of situations, identified differences may be rectified rather simply – provided the seller is ready to correct them. If the appraiser is satisfied that the items have been rectified or remedied, the purchase may proceed.

So now, let´s see a typical example of how this works in practice.

The FHA appraisal and inspection takes place and during the inspection, the licensed FHA inspector marks some items in the inspection checklist as for “further repair” or more commonly “subject to repair”.

In our example, there is some aluminum wiring in the house that has to be brought up to code before the inspection can be regarded as passed and the FHA mortgage loan can advance to its closing stage.

The prospective buyer can perform those repairs and negotiate the price with the seller, or the seller does those repairs.

However, it is possible that the seller refuses to do these required repairs and the operation falls.

As these sales contracts are usually made contingent on the result of the FHA appraisal and inspection, the seller can refuse to continue the process and both parties will walk away.

In non-FHA mortgages, it is simple to perform an escrow holdback wherein an apportionment of the funds are separated within the escrow to pay for non-necessary repairs that can be completed later, such as when concrete leveling is required in a driveway, repairs in a gutter, the establishment of a pest control treatment, and many other examples.

It is always a good idea for the seller to have all repairs done in the property before even putting it for sale so that any FHA mortgage or conventional mortgage can go smoothly and not allow the prospective buyer to win more negotiation power during the sales process.

FHA loans make it simpler to become eligible for a mortgage, however, this does not always make it easier to purchase a home. If a house does not match the minimal FHA loan requirements, many purchasers will simply have to continue shopping until they locate a superior home that does meet FHA requirements, a process that may be irritating, particularly for homebuyers with low credit scores, low down payment cash and few homes in their available price bracket.

Making the Grade: Repairs

After the FHA inspection had some hits in the checklist, the seller may perform necessary repairs for the property to conform to standards. The FHA mortgage loan will not be approved until the property passes the FHA inspection.

Furthermore, if the property does not pass an FHA inspection, it might not pass either a conventional mortgage inspection. However, in the latter, it is possible to negotiate the future repairs with more liberty between the parties: for example, escrow payments, discounts in the price, and so on.

What Properties Qualify For FHA Loan

FHA mortgage loans are eligible only for owner-occupied properties that serve as dwellings wherein the home was not sold in the last 90 days. This is to avoid short-term investments to take advantage of market velocity or flipping.

Eligible real estate objects are condominiums, rowhouses, manufactured homes, and single-family homes that can be also either detached or semi-detached dwellings.

Should I Attend Home Inspection?

The buyer and the seller should attend the home inspection as the sales contract between both parties is contingent on the results thereof.

The buyer will have the opportunity to further examine completely the real estate object plus make the FHA inspector questions along the way.

Observing the house inspection process might be much more educational than just reading the report with the results of the FHA inspection.

Additionally, it may provide context for how significant or insignificant each problem is.

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Author D Laidler

I am David, economist, originally from Britain, and studied in Germany and Canada. I am now living in the United States. I have a house in Ontario, but I actually never go.  I wrote some books about sovereign debt, and mortgage loans. I am currently retired and dedicate most of my time to fishing. There were many topics in personal finances that have currently changed and other that I have never published before. So now in Business Finance, I found the opportunity to do so. Please let me know in the comments section which are your thoughts. Thank you and have a happy reading.

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