While many homeowners fear a home appraisal, there is nothing like knowledge and a bit of sweat equity to avoid the most common FHA violations that appraisers notice most often. By addressing these issues prior to the appraisal, you can save time, money, and avoid a whole lot of frustration.
NOTE: The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is a government agency that promotes affordable, easy-to-qualify-for home loans available through approved lenders, most typically an attractive option for first-time homebuyers without a substantial credit history.
Below is a list of some of the most common FHA violations found by home appraisers and a checklist to help prevent them.
FHA Appraisal Preparation Checklist: What to Know / What to Do
Your appraiser will test the home’s utilities such as the water service, property operation of your furnace and air conditioning unit (weather permitting), hot water heater, appliances, and any other mechanicals in the home to ensure proper operation. The appraiser will make sure your water heater is heating properly by checking the water at the sinks and ensuring it has a pressure relief valve installed.
PAINT-PEELING / CHIPPING
Homes built on or before 1978 may have lead paint in them therefore FHA requires that any chipping, peeling, and loose paint be chipped off and discarded properly. Once scraped off, the interior and exterior bare wood of the main dwelling needs to be repainted including any external accessory buildings like garages and sheds in addition to decks, doors/door/window trim, and fences.
More than half of all FHA violations are due to peeling paint.
HAND RAILINGS / BALUSTERS
Because stairways are one of the most hazardous areas of your home and stair falls are often fatal, your appraiser will be inspecting any stairs/guard rail balusters for loose, split, broken, or damaged balusters. Handrails MUST be present whenever “the distance from the finished floor to the ground surface is greater than 18 inches.”
Your appraiser will inspect your attic for water-staining, insufficient ventilation, evidence of infestation, the smell of mold, and any safety hazards like exposed wiring. If access cannot be gained to an attic, your appraiser will need to report the lack of accessibility, your lender may then require the attic be made accessible so that the appraiser or another qualified third-party inspector can view the attic However the good news is there is no requirement to cut open walls, ceilings, or floors.
Make sure your attic is accesible to prevent any unnecessary inspections and cost.
Your electrical outlets, light switches, and electrical panels need to have covers on them! Per FHA; “The Appraiser must examine the electrical system to ensure that there is no visible frayed wiring or exposed wires in the dwelling.” Furthermore, “the Appraiser must operate a sample of switches, lighting fixtures, and receptacles inside the house and garage, and on the exterior walls, and report any deficiencies.”
Any situation that can be considered a trip hazard should be corrected such as your sunken concrete walkway or damaged interior flooring or threshold that may cause someone to trip and fall.
ROOF & GUTTERS
Leaking or worn-out roofs need to be replaced. Roofs that have two layers of shingles should not be roofed again. Roofs with less than two years of remaining life (based upon the appraiser’s judgment), require that the roof be inspected by a professional roofer. Gutters and downspouts need to divert water away from the foundation. Clogged gutters and downspouts need to be cleaned and opened up.
Bedrooms must have at least one window and/or exterior door that is operable so that it can open to the exterior. If your bedroom windows or doors have security bars this is acceptable, however, they must be able to be opened in the event of an emergency. There must be a direct egress bedroom window to the outside, for escaping in the event of a fire or emergency.
While this is not an exhaustive list of FHA violations, your certified Authority Appraisals appraiser strives to provide premier, heart-centered appraisal services and education to our clients. For more information please reach out to us directly, for additional resources please refer to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) website at HUD.gov and FHA Handbook 4000.1
Thank you for your interest in our education. My team and I are privileged to serve your evolving needs. Please do not hesitate to contact us!