What do appraisers look for during an FHA inspection? (free download)

What do appraisers look for when doing an FHA appraisal? These days it’s important to be in tune with FHA appraisal standards so your home can be FHA-ready or so you can know what to expect if accepting an FHA offer. Let’s talk through some of the most common FHA issues below. You can also download an FHA checklist to study or share with clients. This checklist has all the information from this post as well as one additional page.

what appraisers look for during an FHA inspection

DOWNLOAD an FHA checklist HERE (pdf)

The Main Idea with FHA: FHA is primarily concerned that everything in the house functions properly and that there are no health and safety issues. The basic concept of meeting FHA minimum requirements is that everything must work as it was designed to work. For example, a window that is supposed to open must open, and a built-in appliance should do what that appliance is supposed to do. If you have a sliding glass door with a lock on the handle, the lock should work.

FHA requirements - from sacramento appraisal blog

What do FHA appraisers look for?

  • Utilities should be turned on so the appraiser can test systems and appliances.
  • Appliances must function properly.
  • fha-logoThere should be proper drainage around the perimeter of the house.
  • The heating unit must be in working order (and AC if applicable).
  • Water pressure must be adequate for the house. Appraisers flush toilets, turn on all faucets and ensure that both hot and cold water are working.
  • The water heater must be in working order and strapped according to local code.
  • Attics and crawlspaces are to be viewed at minimum from the shoulder up by the appraiser. 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. Excessive debris in the attic or crawl space should be removed.
  • Paint must not be chipping, peeling, or flaking on homes built before 1978 because of the danger of lead-based paint (lead was used in paint prior to 1978). However, there must be no defective paint or bare wood for properties built after 1978 because defective paint impacts the economic longevity of the property. Defective paint should be scraped and re-painted (with no wood chips on the soil).
  • Electrical outlets must work (outlets should have a cover plate also).
  • Toilets must flush and be mounted.
  • Any active termite infestation needs to be cured.
  • Minor cosmetic issues such as stained carpet or a need for interior paint are okay. The house does not have to be perfect, but if there are issues that impact health and safety or the long-term economic viability of the property, then those issues must be cured.
  • Windows must open and close and they cannot be broken. Minor cracks can be okay so long as there is not an issue with safety, soundness and security.
  • No dangling wires from missing fixtures or anywhere else.
  • FHA doesn’t require air conditioning, but if present the system should work as intended.
  • Smoke detectors & carbon monoxide detectors are required insofar as 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 could pose a safety issue.
  • A roof should not be leaking and needs to have at least two years of economic life left.
  • A house will be rejected if the site is subject to hazards, environmental contaminants, noxious odors, or excessive noises to the point of endangering the physical improvements or affecting the livability of the property (this isn’t an issue for the vast majority of properties).
  • A trip hazard is a subjective call to make by the appraiser and not necessarily an automatic repair, but if there is a legitimate safety issue it should be called out by the appraiser.
  • There are things any appraiser will call out in an FHA appraisal, but there are times when appraisers have to consider how the spirit of FHA might apply in a situation. FHA is black and white on many issues, but other times appraisers simply need to use good judgment.

Reminder About Difference in Locations: Appraisers in different parts of the country may require some items in their appraisals that might not be required elsewhere. For instance, carbon monoxide detectors are required in most residential homes in California, but this is not the case in many other states. An FHA appraiser in a different state might not even mention a CO detector, but in Sacramento it is commonplace.

DOWNLOAD an FHA checklist HERE (pdf)

I hope this was helpful. If you’re looking for more information on FHA appraisal standards, you can check out other FHA appraisal articles I’ve written.

Questions: Anything else you’d add to the list? Any FHA questions? Appraisers, if you have any stories to share about properties that were rejected, speak on.

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  1. says

    Wood infestation reports are important in our area. Since our state is located in the “very heavy” probability zone on the termite infestation probability map the report is necessary for FHA financing. You’ve got a very comprehensive list Ryan that would be beneficial to all agents.

    • says

      Great example, Tom. Thanks. If you’re in the Birmingham area, FHA appraisers are probably going to have access to a pest report during each appraisal, whereas that is not the case here in California. Sometimes we get them and other times we don’t, and lenders don’t require them either.

  2. says

    I recently went through an FHA appraisal and the appraiser wrote up the right side of my driveway for being raised from tree roots. The irony is that I currently have an FHA loan on the home and the driveway was in that exact condition when I bought the home 4+ years ago. To be fair, the driveway does stick up about 5 inches. Under what category if any would you put the raised driveway?


    • says

      Hi Jason. Thanks so much for checking in. I appraised a property recently that had an FHA loan also, and I called for repairs that were clearly not called out before even though they should have been. While this maybe shouldn’t happen, some appraisers might know more than others, and others might not be making calls they should be making. Additionally, appraisers might miss a thing or two during the first inspection (even though that shouldn’t happen). The issue here is whether there is a trip hazard. If the driveway poses an issue to safety, it should be called out, and the problem should be repaired. Personally when I make this call, I say the driveway can be replaced (very expensive) or maybe some asphalt (or another substance) can be built up around the trip hazard. Either one is fine by me. The addition of some asphalt can be instrumental to keep the cost way down. 5 inches sounds like a pretty good trip, but I think too it comes down to the location of the elevated driveway on your lot. Does this make sense?

  3. Barbara says

    We are anticipating an FHA inspection for a re-fi. We currently have a rural development loan and my biggest concern is that there is a crack across the kitchen floor that is in the foundation that caused the tiles to hairline crack. It’s been this way since we bought it, with an exterior crack in the pool deck along the same line. We’ve been here for 8 years and there are no other signs of a sinking house such as stuck windows, cracks in walls, etc. I’m a little concerned they will make us “fix” it because it’s the foundation. What are our options?

    • says

      Hi Barbara. Thank you for reaching out. On one hand cracks are common, but on the other hand sometimes they raise red flags. If for some reason the appraiser is concerned about structural integrity, the appraiser would require a qualified professional to verify there are no structural issues (maybe an engineer?). If there are no issues, there are no repairs needed. But if the qualified professional determined there were repairs needed, the property would have to be repaired to the point it could be said there is structural integrity. Of course the appraiser who inspects the house may not even notice during the inspection. Or maybe the appraiser will notice, but won’t require any further inspection or repairs because it looks minimal and/or like every other house the appraiser has inspected. Does that make sense? I hope so.

  4. says

    There is a crack across garage door openings, insid the doors, is open, will this fail? Is a slab, garage is a 4″ step from house to garage.

      • says

        Hi Ray. It’s not easy to answer this question because I haven’t seen the issue you’re talking about. Cracks can be very different from each other, and almost every house has cracks. They just happen. Appraisers are not crack specialists, but when they see something that might indicate settling or a lack of structural integrity, they need to call out that issue for further inspection and/or repair if need be. The crack in this home might be no biggie, but if the appraiser thought there might be an issue, the appraiser would probably say something like the following, “The appraiser noted a crack in the garage on the flooring. The crack is 1/2 inch thick and extends the width of the garage. The appraiser is not a crack or foundation specialist, and the appraiser recommends further inspection by a qualified professional to verify there are no issues with structural integrity. The opinion of value in this report is subject to there being no foundation or structural integrity issues. The appraiser reserves the right to adapt the opinion of value in this report based on new findings.” In this example the appraiser has rightly shifted the onus of responsibility on a qualified professional. In short, if the cracks look “normal”, the appraiser might simply disclose and not require any adjustments, but if it looks like there might be an issue of some sort, the appraiser might make a call for further investigation or repairs. I hope that helps.

  5. Mal says

    We’ve found a property we love and are pursuing an FHA loan. We’ve been pre-approved but my concern is that the property has a barn from 1848 that is falling down. We would like to take the structure down immediately upon purchased but are afraid the FHA apraisal won’t go through. The seller will not pay to take it down. Is it ever ok to take it down for the seller just to get the loan to go through? Would the FHA care if it’s not near the home and has no potential to fall on the home?

    • says

      Hi Mal. Congratulations on finding a property. That’s wonderful. FHA says clearly that everything within the parcel lines has to meet FHA minimum property standards. There is a false idea out there that FHA standards only apply to the house, when in actuality they apply to everything within the parcel lines. This means if the barn is falling down, despite being located away from the house, it should be fixed or removed so that it does not pose a safety issue. Honestly though, some FHA appraisers don’t call for these repairs to be made even though they hands-down should based on FHA standards. This means sometimes homes like this sell with a dilapidated structure even though the barn should very clearly be removed or repaired. The appraiser will not care who removes the barn, but only that it is gone and no longer a safety issue. If you can work that out with the seller, that sounds like it might be something that works for the transaction. You may wish to wait until you find out what repairs the appraiser calls for though just to be sure you want to continue with the transaction and/or make the investment. As a side note, I love working with wood, and that barn sounds like a gold mine from a woodworking perspective. 🙂

      Please let me know if this answers your question. I’m around if you need anything. Best wishes.

      • Mal says

        Thanks, Ryan!

        We just made the offer to the seller to do the repairs ourselves and remove the barn and are waiting to hear back. Is it common for sellers to accept this type of offer? Honestly, I don’t see why they wouldn’t if we agree to have a licensed contractor do the work at our cost, he’d end up better for it if our sale should somehow not be successful.

        We’re just very nervous now. We really want the house.

        • says

          Congratulations, Mal. I wouldn’t say it is normal for the buyer to make repairs, but it does happen for sure. It’s not unheard of, though most of the time the seller makes the repairs. What is normal is to feel nervous about the transaction. I get that. Worry happens regardless of whether there is a barn or not. It seems like worry comes in stages: 1) worry about finding a house; 2) worry about getting the offer accepted; 3) worry about the loan going through; 4) worry about the appraisal; 3) general worry until the deal is 100% closed. 🙂

          For what it’s worth, hang in there. Do your best to be at peace because you cannot control the outcome (this is what I told myself when I recently bought a different house). It sounds like you put together a great offer for the seller in case the appraiser does require removal of the barn.

  6. Jessica says

    My husband and I just submitted a bid on a HUD home and it was accepted. We are using a USDA Rural Development Loan and have just been informed that they use the same inspection as FHA. We know there is a toilet leak in one of the bathrooms, obviously HUD won’t fix it nor will they allow for us to fix it before closing. What is the possibility of not passing inspection and not being approved for the loan?

    • says

      Hi Jessica. Thanks for reaching out. Congratulations on getting your offer submitted. If the appraiser calls for repairs, it will have to be repaired. There is always the chance the appraiser is not going to see the leak, particularly if the leak is slow, so I suppose that would be to your advantage if it was missed. 🙂 If the appraiser does call for repairs, it is going to have to be done somehow. Additionally, if there are other repairs, they will have to be fixed. I’m not sure why HUD would accept an offer when they know there are repairs that are going to be needed. I would let your agent and the listing agent figure out a game plan for how to get this done. Sometimes agents have a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy where repairs get done somehow. Whatever the case, I’m sure they’ve encountered this situation before and can get repairs done in a creative way.

  7. Cw says


    I just recently had my inspection done on my potential home in which we will be using a FHA loan. The inspection report came back with marginal maintenance repairs as well as recommended repairs. What advice would you offer to us, the buyers, considering that these are repairs that are going to need to be addressed rather sober not later. Thanks!

    • says

      Are you talking about a home inspection report or a pest report? It sounds like a home inspection report rather than an appraisal report. As a buyer, I recommend you strongly consider the repairs that are needed and if you have the skills and/or funds to make the repairs in the future when they are needed. Honestly, a home inspection report can sound scary no matter what the house is like because after the inspector is done sharing the contents of his/her findings can make it seem like the house is about ready to fall over. Yet there is a realistic aspect here regarding repairs. If there are some very big looming repairs in the future, do you have the funds available to handle those? Or will the seller possibly discount the price to take into consideration the cost of repairs? Or can the seller repair some of the items now? Or if you really want the house but don’t have the capital to make repairs, can you switch to an FHA 203K loan (a repair loan) so some of these repairs can be padded into the purchase price? (and finished before you move into the home). Just a heads-up, not all loan officers do 203K loans, so you may need to switch to someone who is competent to handle them if your LO does not know what to do. CW, I know some buyers make the mistake of being so excited about a home that they don’t really consider how that roof is going to be replaced in two years or how much it is really going to cost to repair the AC/HVAC. I hope that helps. I wish you the best as you consider your options.

  8. Kristine says


    We are wanting to put an offer on a short sale that is in excellent condition. It’s only 11 years old and everything is great except that the garage door is broken and off the track. Looks like someone dented it with a car and when they tried to open it the door fell off the track. We would replace that after moving in (if our offer is accepted) but will this pass FHA inspection? I hate to wait months for bank approval only to have our FHA loan denied for this one thing. The seller won’t fix it because it’s a short sale and the bank will not fix it either since it’s an as-is sale. Wondering if we should even bother putting an offer on the house. Thanks

    • says

      Hi Kristine. Thank you for reaching out. This is a good question. Here’s the gist. For an FHA loan, everything should work properly as it is supposed to work. If the garage does not open, it really needs to open properly. Otherwise it could be a safety issue anyway if it doesn’t work as it should. The appraiser should test the garage door opener and require repairs if the door is not able to open, but then again, there is always the chance the FHA appraiser will miss this detail. It shouldn’t happen, but it does sometimes for whatever reason. Also, there are sometimes ways to make repairs in situations like this, so maybe your agent has some ideas on how to get it done when the owner says no and the bank says no. I know I saw a recent short sale where the bank handled repairs and the owner did not do anything. You never know. One more thing. If the garage door opener is there, it should also work. However, if there is no garage door opener there when the appraiser comes for the inspection, there does not need to be one there. I just wanted to clarify though it has to be working if it is there. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

  9. says

    Hi Ryan,
    We are currently purchasing a new home and during a walk thru we saw large cracks in the garage area which they tried to patch up. We had added an upgrade to epoxy the garage floor, but you can see large cracks throughout the garage floor. Also, in the patio area, there are cracks as well, but not as significant as the garage. My question is, the appraisal was done and I looked over the report and saw the pictures that was taken in the report, however there were no mention of the garage floor cracks or even a picture that shows the inspector went in the garage. We are worried that there is structural integrety in question for the house and the developer is giving us the run around about it. Therefore, we decided to cancel our purchase and we are asking for our deposit back, but now the developer is saying that we canceled therefore, we don’t get our deposit back. I’m just wondering is there anyway that we could question the appraisal that was done? It’s a brand new house, there shouldn’t be large cracks like that in the garage area, that’s why we were worried about the foundation of the house it’s built on and didn’t want to go thru with the purchase. Any suggestions would really be great.

    Thank you,
    Ana J.

    • says

      Hi Ana. Thank you for sharing your situation. I have a few thoughts. Regarding a photo of the garage, the client may not require a photo of the garage, which could explain why one isn’t there. Many lender clients do require a photo of the water heater, so if the appraiser has a photo of the water heater, that may show the appraiser did access the garage (assuming the water heater is located in the garage). Regarding the cracks, it’s hard to say what the appraiser was thinking. It could have been something the appraiser didn’t notice, something the appraiser noticed but didn’t mention, something that wasn’t present during the appraisal inspection, or something that was noticed but not deemed to have an impact on value. I’m not sure if questioning the appraiser / appraisal would lead to you getting your deposit back in any way. I suppose you could ask the lender to ask the appraiser to address the cracks or ask why the cracks were not addressed. But even if the appraiser answers you, the cracks are still there, and you simply might not be comfortable with them no matter what. If you are concerned about structural integrity, maybe an engineer or different type of qualified professional needs to be involved? I would also ask the builder to explain why the cracks are there.

      • Ana says

        Hi Rryan,
        Thank you for your comments. I will definitely ask the mortgage company who sent the appraiser that question, if he even went into the garage area and then we will go from there. Thank you again. Really appreciate your advice.

  10. Bill says

    I just had an FHA appraisal done on my home and there were minor areas of the exterior of the home with chipped/peeling paint and they’re requiring it to be fixed. Will touch ups of these areas work (may be minor color differences) or will they require the whole exterior to be painted?

  11. Bill says

    I just had an FHA appraisal completed and they said I need to repair minor chipped/peeling pain on the exterior of my house. Will touching up these areas be good enough or will the appraiser require the whole exterior to be painted?

      • says

        Hi Bill. Thanks so much for the comment. I apologize for a slight delay in response as I was out of town for a family funeral. This is a great question though. Only the areas with defective paint need to be cured. You do NOT need to re-paint the entire house. You only need to address the areas where there is defective paint. I hope that helps.

  12. G.L. Bibbs says

    Hello Ryan,

    My partner and I have rehabbed our first home and have agreed to provide buyers with an appliance package (stove, fridge, oven, dishwasher) prior to closing.

    The buyers appraisal is next week. Will the pass if the appliance are not installed or will the pending agreement be acceptable?

    I’ve heard some many different viewpoints, I’m dizzy! Fyi, we reside in Georgia.

    • says

      Hi G.L. Thanks for reaching out. Great question. Eventually appliances will have to be installed (and verified as such by the appraiser). It’s okay if the appliances are not there during the initial inspection by the appraiser, but they will need to be there before escrow closes (for traditional financing – not a 203K or repair loan that allows for some work to be done after the close of escrow). If you don’t have them there yet, just let the appraiser know what will be there and what quality will be there so the appraiser can gauge quality and condition. For an FHA loan, the appraiser is going to have to observe appliances to make sure they work as well as observe and test systems. It’s best if the appraiser can do everything at one time during the inspection, but that doesn’t always happen. A lender can send an appraiser back out to verify all repairs have been made. Keep in mind this may cost time for the transaction as well as money to the buyer.

  13. courtney says

    Hi! My fiance and I are looking at closing on a house however it is not completely finished. The floor is solid but there is not carpet it needs some trim and the counter is not completely finished. Also there are two sliding doors that are bolted shut because they need to be replaced. Another concern is that the seller is taking all appliances. I am sure they will be there for the inspection however they are leaving with the seller. We have an FHA loan but we are concerned that the appraisal will make us fix these things right away! Do you think these will be major concerns with an FHA loan?

    • says

      Hi Courtney. Thank you for reaching out. Most of these are FHA issues that will require repair. The flooring is likely going to need to be added, though it’s less of a concern if it is a small area in my opinion. Sliding doors should definitely work and appliances will need to be there. Baseboards are minimal in my mind and shouldn’t require repair assuming there are no nails sticking out. I’m not sure what the counter is like, so it’s impossible to comment on that. Let me know if you have any questions.

  14. says

    Hi i am recently in contract in home and the basement is finished. There is a bathroom in there with no CO. The basement also has a kitchen and the stove was removed, it is electric and not gas. The appraiser went in the basement for less than 5 minutes and did not open any of the doors. Do you think he is going to flag any issues? I am planning on taking out the bathroom once we move in. The house has 6 and i do not need that many. Do you think any issues are going to be flagged?

    • says

      Hi Tom. Thank you for reaching out. I really wish I could help, but there is no way for me to know what the appraiser is going to do. I know it can feel like a roller coaster of worry after an appraiser has inspected a property. I’ve been there before personally. In this case you’ll simply have to wait to see what the appraiser does. I hope everything turns out well for you.

      • says

        Thanks Ryan, the appraisal has been sent to the bank and the property has been approved based on appraisal. The value came in higher than the purchase price. Can i assume that the basement is not an issue?

        • says

          Hi Tom. Congratulations. I think you can assume the appraiser did not consider it an issue (unless the appraiser brought up something in the report somewhere). Maybe there is nothing adverse that stood out to the appraiser. Or maybe the appraiser ignored something that should have been called out. Keep in mind appraisers are not code enforcement officers or the building department. Whatever the case, it sounds like it’s smooth sailing for you in terms of the loan. Congrats.

  15. CS says

    I am purchasing a condo and the seller is refusing to allow the water to be turned on. I am using FHA for my financing, is there something else that can be done? Would FHA consider doing a pressure test instead?

    • says

      Hi CS. I’m sorry to hear the seller won’t budge. I see that happen from time to time with bank-owned properties in particular. This is a non-negotiable item because the appraiser is supposed to test the water, hot water heater, toilets, showers, sinks, dishwasher, and garbage disposal. I may be missing something relating to water, but there are many things that need to be checked by having the water on. Unless the underwriter overrides this condition, an appraiser will hands-down not say the property meets FHA minimum guidelines until water and systems have been checked. I hope the seller will budge for your sake. Please keep me posted if you have any questions. Best wishes.

  16. says

    The saga continues. So the house has 6 bathrooms. However the appraiser missed one of bathrooms in the GLA and caught the one in the basement. so it matches tax records of 4 full 1 half. Now it has gone to the bank for underwriting approval. It has has two levels of appraisal review one is property approved and the next is loan approved. There have been no conditions written on the appraisal and there were none on the bank’s review. Last step is to get all documents for the final underwriter review at the bank which basically is the need of the Municipality Title. Now if that comes back clean with no issues, should there be any issues at the bank. I am being told no and my lawyer told me not to worry about it. I am wondering your thoughts. The basement’s bathroom never had a permit so should not come up on the muni title. what do you think?

      • says

        Hi Tom. I really cannot make a legal declaration of any sorts, but I do concur with your lawyer to not worry about something unless you have a reason to worry. So far it seems the process is moving forward, so I hope that continues for you. I have found in my area non-permitted items do not usually show up on Tax Records since the authorities don’t usually know about them. Though sometimes Assessors find out about extra square footage and such and will add non-permitted areas in the tax roll. The idea is if it’s there, they can tax you on it (whether it’s legal or not). Again though, I would say to not worry unless you have something to worry about. Or as the wise saying goes, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” Remember too, one difference in the bathroom count is probably not going to sway value in a major way when you are talking about so many bathrooms. The difference between say 1 or 2 bathrooms can be a much bigger deal than the difference between 5 or 6 bathrooms 🙂

  17. Jennifer says

    I am having an appraisal done next week on a home that I am in the process of buying. I have been a tenant of the home for 7 years now and am buying from my landlord. The carpet is slightly stained in the high traffic areas. Will this hurt my appraisal?

    • says

      Hi Jennifer. In terms of FHA standards, stains are okay – especially if they are only slight. But if the appraiser deems there to be some sort of a health issue because of the stains, then new floor covering would likely be required (or carpet cleaning). I have done this at times when a carpet is HEAVILY soiled from animals. Not only is the smell terrible, but it’s a very questionable safety issue if kids were crawling on the floor, etc… In terms of value, if you had brand new carpet, the home could be worth more. If the stains are small, I wouldn’t sweat it. The appraiser is not likely going to give incredibly strong weight to the carpet while ignoring the rest of the house.

      • Jennifer says

        Thanks! I can’t imagine that the appraiser is going to get down on the floor and sniff, but with that being said the house smells great. I couldn’t live in a bad smelling house. I wasn’t sure how it would affect the appraisal. I have steam cleaned the carpet. Just some things didn’t wash away. Thanks for the quick response. It’s much appreciated. Buying a home and having inspections done in a house I’ve been paying rent on for the last 7 years feels strange. Hoping for a good outcome as the landlord/owner probably won’t come down in price.

        • says

          It’s normal for a home to have some deferred maintenance or signs of occupancy, and appraisers are used to dealing with all those little issues and imperfections in homes. This is probably nothing at all to be concerned about – especially since you just steam cleaned. Best wishes to you.

  18. becky says

    we are having inspection done on a 1900’s farm house….one of the existing rooms on the second floor had damage to the floor…the current owner removed damaged wood…put down plywood with screws…what kind of repair will they require(since it is original floor we cant get the same kind of wood)….will the let us just put carpet over it ….also the celing in this room is about 7 to 7 1/2 feet high is this acceptable…thankyou

    • says

      Hi Becky. Thank you for reaching out. It’s hard to visualize what the issue is. I’d welcome you to email me a photo if you wish. Plywood is not really considered permanent flooring though, so I’m inclined to think it should be repaired. However, it really depends on the situation. I’d like to see a picture if that’s okay. The ceiling height of 7-7.5′ is fine. Minimum ceiling height is really 7 ft (or 6’8″ under beams).

  19. Connie Petthel says

    We are in contract of our home, the house inspection is tomorrow and its a FHA loan. Our concern is we have a big tree in the back of the garage, that is not attached to the house. The roots have cracked and buckled the cement floor in the garage. Will this cause a problem with the loan, under the trip hazard, considering its in a garage, and its not attached to the house?

    • says

      Hi Connie. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it. Two things:

      1) I would be more concerned about structural integrity rather than a trip hazard. Of course cracks are a subjective thing to interpret since they come in all shapes and sizes (and happen for so many reasons), so it’s hard to give you a verdict either way as to whether this will be an issue in your case. The appraiser is going to need to look at what’s there and then make a judgement call. If it looks like there is a deeper issue, the appraiser would be best to call for a qualified professional to investigate further to make sure there are no problems. I wrote a bit more on cracks here in case it’s useful: http://sacramentoappraisalblog.com/2016/02/22/how-do-appraisers-deal-with-cracks/

      2) Everything within the parcel lines needs to meet FHA minimum standards, so it does not matter if it is not attached to the house.

      I hope that helps. Best wishes.

  20. Connie Pethtel says

    We are under contract for a house we are selling. We have a detached garage that the floor is craceked and buckling form a tree in back. Will this pass or is there something we should do prior to the inspections, can we fill in the cracks and it pass?

    • says

      The remedy depends on what the appraiser says. I would recommend waiting to see what happens. If the issue is a trip hazard, then maybe filling in the cracks will help. If the appraiser questions structural integrity, maybe a qualified professional inspecting and saying everything is okay is the remedy.

  21. K says

    We applied for an FHA loan. The appraiser is horrible, to say the least. He took a week to get his appraisal in, which delayed our loan. Than underwriting wanted to know if anything needed to be done to the deck. Well, he said “rough spots need to be sanded and stained”. It is so incredibly vague and seems to have nothing to do with the structural integrity. My bf, who I am buying the home with, is an engineer and he checked out the deck himself.

    Is there any federal/fha guidelines on which he can base his response on?

    We plan to sand and restain the deck in a few months, but with the huge FHA closing costs it is a stretch for us to pay for these , seemingly rediculous, repairs.

    • says

      Hi K. Thank you for reaching out. I’m sorry to hear about your situation. You know, it’s difficult to speak too much into the issue of the deck since I have not seen it personally. However, I will say if there is defective paint or bare wood on the deck, I can see an appraiser calling for removal of any defective paint and then an FHA-approved sealant or paint to cover the deck. This would be legitimate for the appraiser to call out. Off the top of my head I do not know the section where the most recent manual addresses bare wood and paint, though here is a link in PDF format in case you are interested in tracking down any documentation. http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=40001HSGH.pdf

      Keep in mind FHA repairs are not just about structural integrity, so this may be right for the appraiser to call out. Of course it sounds like communication wasn’t clear though unfortunately, and that’s a bummer.

      Realistically if there are just a few spots to sand and stain, that can be far better so you can do a quick repair job now and then really sand and re-stain down the road (if that would work based on what the appraiser is really asking for). The loan officer should be able to reach out to the appraisal department so the appraiser can be asked to clarify. If that has not happened already, it’s a wonder why. Often appraisers will include photos in the report of the repair that is needed. Hopefully there is something there. If not though, then clarification is what will need to happen.

      Regarding turn-time, I wonder how much time the appraiser was given. For some context, sometimes lenders and loan officers blame the appraiser for delaying the loan when in fact the lender dropped the ball. Actually, I’m being nice. This happens quite a bit. 🙂 Please note I’m not excusing the appraiser if the appraiser was late, but sometimes lenders cannot perform or maybe they even ordered the appraisal too late. Or maybe the appraiser turned in the report but then it got held up in underwriter. Or maybe the appraiser was a day or two late, but then the appraisal management company held the report for days. Or maybe the lender is knowingly asking appraisers for a 5-day turn-time when they know appraisers are incredibly backed-up. There are many factors here. Again, I’m not excusing the appraiser, but objectively speaking in my experience the appraiser sometimes gets the blame when there are other issues at hand.

      Keep me posted if you have any questions. Best wishes. I really hope things work out well for you.

  22. John Funk says

    Hi, I put an offer in on a home in chula vista, ca. The inspection found cracks inside and outside of the rampart general chimney. I learned a lot about the rampart general over the past couple weeks. Cracks appear to be non repairable. Appears these chimneys were installed in 60s and 70s primarily in california. Any idea if cracked rampart general chimneys which do pose a safety risk are considered something the fha and an fha appraiser is concerned with?

    • says

      Hi John. Thanks for reaching out. You know, I would be curious first of all if these types of chimneys are common in your market and whether the information has permeated the marketplace too. On a practical note, would appraisers or even buyers and agents know how to tell the difference between this chimney and another? Maybe, maybe not. One of the big factors here is that appraisers are not chimney experts by any stretch. However, if the appraiser comes into contact with information that could be a health and safety issue from another reliable professional, then it could very well be an issue. I suppose part of it comes down to what “safety risk” really means. After all, there is a difference between imminent danger and something that is not curable but really just not ideal. It’s sort of like a home inspection report that makes it sound like a house is falling apart. Some issues clearly need to be fixed because they pose a risk, but others are simply items that are not ideal but really don’t pose an issue. Personally if I came across a situation where I was told the chimney was unsafe, I would require a qualified professional to do whatever needs to be done to make the chimney safe. I am not a chimney guy as an appraiser, but I would expect the chimney to be safe.

  23. Mary says

    Hi we are currently under contract with a home that was built in 1908. The home has been completely updated ac.roof.wiring….it has unlevel floors though. I’m am scared it May not go fha.

    • says

      Hi Mary. Thanks for checking out. Two things:

      1) It is completely normal to be scared. Escrows are like a roller coaster of emotion. I know this for myself too. They are nerve-wracking. Just hold on tight and try to enjoy the ride.

      2) Old homes are okay. Just because it is old doesn’t mean it will struggle with FHA. In fact, some older homes are built incredibly well. For what it’s worth at times I see some newer homes that struggle to go FHA because of the condition. It is to your benefit that the home has been completely upgraded. You may not be in my market, but this past quarter 24% of all homes were FHA purchases, which includes older and newer homes. For fun I just checked and see there were three homes built prior to 1910 that went FHA this year so far in Sacramento County. Keep in mind there really are few homes built prior to 1910 in my market.

      Anyway, best wishes. I hope everything goes surprisingly smoothly for you.

  24. Trav says

    If an older home has a furnace in the basement, but no egress windows in the downstairs bedrooms, is this a flag for an FHA appraisal? Also, this is an older home with wiring that is not updated completely to breaker boxes, will this be an issue as well? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Trav. I would recommend checking with your local code to be sure what the specifications are for basement windows (or an egress). In a typical above grade bedroom there needs to be at least one window of adequate size or a door to the exterior, though in this case we might be looking at a basement, so the rules may not be the same. I realize there may be some added rooms in the basement, but that doesn’t mean it’s no longer a basement. Anyway, technically a window is not needed in a bedroom upstairs, though clearly an egress would be needed. If not a window, a door would suffice. Regarding the basement though I would defer to your local code on this matter. If the bedrooms downstairs really are considered bedrooms despite being in the basement, they would need a secondary egress as far as I’m concerned. I would take old wiring on a case-by-case basis. I suppose it depends what is there and whether it is deemed a safety issue. If I thought there might be an issue I might recommend my client to maybe hire a qualified professional (electrician maybe) to verify things are okay.

    • says

      Hi Brad. I guess it depends on what we are talking about. I know Home Depot has some OSB siding that looks legitimate, though if it is an OSB we might see on a subfloor, I have to think that’s not up to par. I don’t think FHA has a specific list of allowable sidings, though the siding obviously has to have economic longevity (which speaks to needing enough quality to be sustainable). Of course the siding has to be suitable to curb moisture from the exterior too.

  25. Kasie says

    We are selling our home and the buyer ia getting an FHA loan. We live in town and have a shed in the back yard. The electrical service goes over the top of the shed, to a pole in our neighbors backyard. We have been told that FHA loans don’t care that it’s a detached shed, and that it won’t pass the inspection. Is this true?

    • says

      Hi Kasie. Thanks for reaching out. Everything in the parcel lines should meet FHA minimum standards. If there is something unsafe about the electrical, it’s likely going to be an issue (if the appraiser or someone else notices and/or discloses the issue). I don’t really know what it means to have electrical go over the top of the shed, so it’s hard to speak to that exactly. If it’s a major code violation or unsafe, there is a good chance it’s going to need to be cured.

  26. Bren says

    What happens if an appraiser doesn’t mention things in his report that should have been mentioned? Like no life span in the roof, electrical wires not being piped in the attic(just sitting on top of insulation, leaking sinks, electrical outlets with exposed wires… Since I’m from a small town all involved when selling a home know each other. I feel like my house was made to pass even thou it didn’t meet FHA standards. Please help Thank you

    • says

      Hi Bren. Appraisers aren’t roofers. If the roof does look like it does not have two years of life left, an appraiser should mention that and ask for a roofer or qualified professional to inspect it. I can imagine an appraiser not seeing wiring in the attic since a full attic inspection is not required. If the appraiser finds out there are issues though, they should be mentioned and called for repairs. If there are leaking sinks and exposed wires though, those things should likely be called out. If this is your house, you can always make the repairs yourself. If you are buying the house, you can always ask the lender to reach out to the appraiser and ask how these items impact the appraisal or the appraised value. If these are legitimate issues, then the appraiser ought to call them out for repair or further investigation. If you are buying the house, it’s frankly not fair to buy a house with a shoddy roof or with electrical safety issues.

  27. Patrick says

    Hi. My wife and I are doing a FHA Refi and was asked to fix some chipping/pealing paint on only one side of the house. We have painted the whole house now, but was unable to remove “ALL” of the chipping/pealing paint. The house looks much better now, but the side with the chipping/pealing paint 90% and the new paint on the house looks 100%. How picky are appraiser when it come to exterior paint on a house. “No lead paint”

    • says

      Hi Patrick. Thanks so much for reaching out. It’s not that appraisers are picky, but that FHA standards are picky. Defective paint is a big deal to FHA/HUD, so if the appraiser still observes chipping paint after coming back out, it’s most likely you’ll have to repair the issue. The appraiser really shouldn’t turn a blind eye to something like this. Hopefully there are no paint chips on the ground either. The appraiser will be looking for that too (because of FHA/HUD standards). Let me know if you have any further questions.

  28. Jay says

    Hi Ryan: I’m pursuing an FHA loan and have already agreed with the seller on an amount and started the contract. I will be having the inspection this week. The master bed room and one other small room has bare concrete flooring. My wife and I wanted to keep it concrete and go ahead with the purchase price we agreed on. Would this pass inspection.

    • says

      Hi Jay. Thanks for reaching out. I talked with someone at HUD on the phone earlier this year and asked them this very question. The person on the phone said there needs to be floor covering. However, some appraisers may not call this out for repair because it’s not a health and safety issue, and it’s hardly a marketability issue either. Some homes have a glaze over the concrete too, so a rule like this seems a bit archaic in my mind since concrete might actually be the desired look in some cases (feels more modern maybe). Whatever the case, as far as I’ve been told and understand, technically FHA states there should be floor covering. However, it may or may not be called out by the appraiser.

  29. Jessica says

    I’m confused by all the conflicting websites and their myriad advice, so please forgive me if I ask a question with an obvious answer.

    My fiance and I are looking to purchase our first home (for either of us) and want to use an FHA guaranteed loan. The house was built in 1906, so the likelihood that major mechanical systems need to be completely replaced is pretty high. We are honestly anticipating a full overhaul of the electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and the roof at a minimum just to make the house liveable. This is also my source of confusion (not to mention my frustration!). If all these issues are required to be in working order to secure the FHA loan in the first place, how do potential homeowners ever buy the house? If we had 100K set aside we wouldn’t be using a loan to buy the house, we’d simply pay cash for the purchase and repairs.

    Are banks in the habit of repairing REO properties to this extent simply to get it off their books? Or is there some other type of loan we need to look into? Homebuying really shouldn’t take a degree in rocket science to figure out. 🙁 Any insight you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

    • Jessica says

      I should clarify that all of the mechanical systems are there and are in somewhat decent working order, but they’ll definitely need to be replaced sooner rather than later to bring the house up to modern living standards.

      • says

        Hi Jessica. Thanks for reaching out. It sounds like you’re in the midst of the frustration of the homebuying process. I get that. Here’s the thing. There are certain standards for any type of loan. We as buyers don’t often like that, but the lender wants to be sure the property is in okay shape and is worth making a loan on. If the lender had to take back the property through foreclosure, could the lender still sell it in its condition? If not, and the property is less marketable, it’s more of a risk for the lender to make the loan. This is why standards exist.

        I mention this only to say some properties simply won’t be able to be financed with traditional financing because there are too many repairs needed. At the same time let’s realize there are many properties that will work for traditional and FHA financing. However, let’s keep in mind a heavy fixer might be best suited for a repair loan such as an FHA 203K loan or Fannie Mae’s Homestyle loan. These types of loans can handle a fixer property by essentially padding in the purchase price sorely needed repairs. Thus the homebuyer can effectively purchase a home that does end up meeting minimum standards (after repairs are done) even though the current condition would no way qualify for financing. This is a safeguard for the lender and it’s also a safeguard for the buyer who might not have $100,000 in cash set aside.

        Banks vary in what they do to properties. In 2007 they were doing literally nothing and just dumping properties on the market. Right now in my area at least they tend to paint, add carpet, do basic cosmetic repairs, etc… I find in many cases banks get their properties FHA-ready, though not all banks do that. When a property is a heavy fixer though it’s more common for a bank to put it on the market and end up selling it to the most likely candidate – an investor paying cash. There is no one standard though with what banks do, but I will say banks are doing a much better job making some repairs in advance than they used to do ten years ago.

        Any thoughts?

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