It’s a good idea for home owners, real estate agents and loan officers to be familiar with FHA appraisal standards so a house can be “FHA-ready” before the appraiser gets there. We all know FHA-required repairs are very common, but if you at least know some of the most frequent condition issues out there, you may be better prepared to avoid reinspections (and fees). Here is my “Top 10” list of FHA repair items I see in the field in the Sacramento area:
- Defective Paint: FHA requires any defective paint surface to be properly cured. This means there shouldn’t be any chipping, flaking or peeling paint. This goes for houses built before 1978 because of lead-base paint, and even after 1978 because FHA is not okay with bare wood that could foster wood decay and not support the longevity of the property. Read more and watch video.
- No Carbon Monoxide Detector: It seems maybe only about 50% of homes I inspect for FHA loans have a carbon monoxide detector installed. FHA requires carbon monoxide detectors since it became California State law on July 1, 2011. Read more and watch video.
- Missing Smoke Alarms: If the local county mandates smoke alarms, then they should be present for FHA loans. Many times there is a smoke alarm in the hallway, but they are frequently missing in each bedroom (or they are present, but not operable).
- Missing Appliances: If there is a space for an appliance in the kitchen, then it should be there and work properly – bottom line. This means if there is a space for a dishwasher, but no dishwasher, then there should be a _________ (answer: dishwasher). Regarding stoves, FHA only requires drop-in stoves, while slide-in stoves are not required (but the lender might require one). Read more and watch video.
- Garage Door is not Self-Closing: If the door from the garage to the house does not close automatically when you open it, then it’s a safety issue because the firewall door should automatically close. This is an easy fix because you’ll probably only need to replace the middle hinge on the door. Read more and watch video.
- Utilities Not Turned On: The appraiser needs to test all utilities and systems, so if something is not turned on, the appraiser will have to come back for a re-inspection.
- Water Heater Pilot Not Lit: If the hot water heater pilot is not lit, the appraiser is not able to test to ensure the water heater is working or not.
- Doggy Door: If there is a pet door installed in the firewall door from the garage to the house, it is a breach of the firewall door. While it’s convenient for Fido, it’s an FHA safety issue. Read more and watch video.
- Exposed Wires: If there are any exposed wires from missing fixtures or anything else, that’s a safety issue. If you see anything that might seem like an electrical issue, it probably is.
- Broken Windows: Small cracks in windows are not an issue requiring correction for FHA, but large cracks or shards that may cause a potential for harm are definitely an issue.
Here’s a quick video I did on the most common FHA repairs:
I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you have any questions or insight. If you are in real estate, I’d be curious to hear what FHA issues you commonly see. If you are a local home owner or agent, feel free to email me or give me a call.