What’s On an FHA Appraiser’s Checklist

fha loan paperworkThe purchase and sale contract is signed, but now you are nervous about the appraisal for the FHA loan. It helps to know what is on the FHA appraisal checklist (and what is not ) so you know what to expect.

A bank appraiser looking to approve an FHA loan is primarily concerned with the safety and functionality of a house and that there are no health or safety issues. This means that the FHA’s minimum requirements will be that everything needs to be in working order.  For example, if the dishwasher does not work or the light in the closet doesn’t switch on, there could be some issues.

What the FHA appraiser will look for:

  • Appliances functioning properly.

  • Utilities must be on so systems and appliances can be tested.

  • The furnace must be in working order (and AC if applicable).

  • Windows must open and close, and none can be broken.

  • When viewing the attic, appraisers make sure there are vents, no damage, no exposed or frayed wires, and that sunlight is not beaming through. When inspecting the crawl space, appraisers make sure there are no signs of standing water or any other foundation support issues.

  • There must be adequate water pressure for the house. The appraiser will flush toilets, turn on all faucets and ensure that both hot and cold water are working. Toilets must flush and be mounted.

  • The house should have proper drainage around its foundation.

  • The water heater must be in working order and strapped according to local code.

  • Paint cannot be peeling or chipping – especially on homes built before 1978 because of the danger of lead-based paint (lead was in paint prior to 1978). But there also must be no defective paint or bare wood on any properties built after 1978 – because exposed wood impacts the longevity of the home. Chipping paint should be scraped and the wood re-painted (with no chips on the ground).

  • Electrical outlets must work and have a cover plate.

  • Any active termite infestation needs to be cured.

  • There can be no loose or dangling wires anywhere in the home.

  • Smoke detectors & carbon monoxide detectors are required, and must work, if they are required by local code.

  • The firewall from the garage to the house should be intact. Missing sheetrock, a pet door installed in the door, a lack of self-closing hinges, or a hollow door can pose a safety issue.

  • The roof must not have any leaks and must have two years of life remaining.

FHA appraisers look at comparable properties to determine the value. The house does not have to be perfect, but if there are health and safety issues or the something that impacts the long-term economic viability of the property, those issues must be fixed for the loan to be approved.


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