It seems like most of us in the real estate community are on the same page that a property built before 1978 with a defective paint surface will require repairs for an FHA loan. We know lead-base paint was used in the United States before 1978, so there is a health and safety risk present when the paint surface is defective. This makes sense and it’s pretty much common knowledge.
What about after 1978? But what about a property built after 1978 that has a defective paint surface (chipping, peeling or flaking paint)? There is much confusion in the market on this point among lenders, real estate agents, home owners and even appraisers. Does FHA require repairs for a defective paint surface for a house built in 1979, 1993, 2005 or anytime after 1978? The answer is YES, but not because there a “health and safety” issue due to the potential for lead-base paint. The issue here is promoting economic longevity for the property since bare wood can lead to decay, which does not promote the longterm health of the property.
FHA’s latest Valuation FAQ on 2-28-12 (click here for PDF link) (unfortunately FHA removed this link, so I did too. Here is the text though still):
Noted lead based paint still seems to be an issue that is unclear in the minds of some appraisers and lenders. Should the lender automatically call for painting only if the home is pre-1978, or should further measures be taken in all cases?
Page 6 of Appendix D in Handbook 4150.2 states, “For any home built prior to 1978, check for evidence of defective paint surfaces, including: peeling, scaling or chipping paint. For all FHA insured properties, correction is required to all defective paint surfaces in or on structures and/or property improvements built before January 1, 1978 in accordance with 24 CFR Part 35.” The appraiser is further instructed to provide a detailed description and identify the exact location of any deficiency under “physical deficiencies” affecting livability. The appraiser is required to condition the appraisal on the “repair” of any noted lead based paint deficiencies.
As noted in mortgagee letter 2005-48, defective exterior paint surfaces in homes constructed post-1978 where the finish is otherwise unprotected will require automatic repair.
Here is a video I did in 2010 on this very issue of pre-1978 vs post-1978. Watch below or here.
I hope this was helpful to answer some of your questions. You can check out other FHA appraisal articles I’ve written including not leaving paint chips on the ground when curing the defective paint surface and even potential options for handling the cost of the defective paint surface.