It doesn’t matter if you are selling your property or thinking about refinancing it, when a home loan is involved there’s likely an appraisal inspection as well.

Unfortunately, a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) appraisal inspection is still feared by many because of the perceived extra scrutiny involved at the time of site inspection. However, regardless of the type of financing being used, your home should be ready to meet certain minimum property requirements of your lender.

By doing so, you will experience a much smoother transaction and ultimately position your property to align with the strongest available comparable properties in your area.

Here are 14 things, of course not limited to, that an FHA appraiser is required to observe and report when inspecting your home:

1. Any built-in appliances or appliances included in a sale must be operational.

2. All cabinetry is operational.

3. Heating and air systems are operational.

4. Toilets, sink, tub and shower water to operate normally and observed for signs of leaks, foul odors, low or extreme pressure and adequate hot water flow.

5. Water heater is strapped to local code, and temperature pressure relief valve exists.

6. Observe the interior of the attic.

7. Observe the crawl space.

8. Confirm the home meets local fire code and the required number of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

9. If applicable, appraiser observes the septic system for any signs of failure inside the home such as slowing draining sinks, gurgling sounds in the plumbing, constant backups, sewage odor in the house.

Also observes the septic system for any signs of failure at the site of the septic system. The location of the septic system must be identified for the Department Housing and Urban Development (HUD) appraiser.

10. If applicable, appraiser observes the well to confirm distance from the septic system and for any signs of failure.

11. Observes the roof for any signs of defects. The appraiser does not climb onto the roof but observes the roof from the exterior and the interior of the home (including from the attic).

12. Observes the exterior and interior of the home for any peeling, lifting or flaking paint surfaces. For homes built prior to Jan. 1, 1979, HUD will condition for repair.

Repair will include scraping all defective paint surfaces, removing of scraped paint leaving no remnants at the site and repainting.

13. Observes if pool equipment functions normally. HUD appraiser does not turn the equipment on. This must be turned on prior to the inspection so that it’s running at the time of the inspection.

Observe if pool is well maintained, filled with water and if pool security meets local code. Generally, a fence around pool or alarms on all doors leading from house to backyard and from fence gates to backyard is acceptable.

14. Contact the appraiser immediately if you have questions as to whether something might meet FHA/HUD guidelines prior to the site appraiser’s visit. The appraiser may be able to provide guidance or further clarification in advance of the site visit.

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Chris Salese can be reached at chris@delsurmortgage.com or 707-363-4439. He is a licensed California mortgage banker (NMLS 254469/1850 CA BRE 01377933/01215943) and equal housing lender.


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