Before a home can be approved for an FHA loan it has to be appraised by a professional who has been chosen from the federal appraiser roster. Typically the lender chooses who will be going through the home, rather than the homeowner or buyer. This appraiser will have a checklist that he follows to determine whether or not the home will be able to qualify according to the standards that the federal government has put in place. The FHA inspection is a little more involved than an inspection for a conventional loan, so it’s a good idea to prepare your home before the professional comes for the walk-through.
Basic Appraisal Guidelines
Before you can prepare your home for the appraisal, you’ll need to have some idea of the areas that will be gone over in the inspection. Outside your home the appraiser will look at your foundation, roof, possibly the well and sewage areas, the home structure, and the property that the home sits on. Inside he will look at all living areas, the attic, crawl spaces, plumbing, electric, heating and air conditioning. To some degree he will look at the cosmetics of the home as well.
When going over the outside of the home the appraiser is keeping an eye out specifically for cracks or damage to the foundation. Structurally, he will pay special attention to bulging or water damaged walls and damage that may be due to pests or termites of some kind. On the roof he will look for any areas that appear to leak or that are in need of repair. If the roof will not last another two years per his assessment, it will have to be redone before approval can happen. On the property itself he will be looking for areas of contamination – anything that appears to be hazardous waste. His job is to locate any areas that may pose a future health risk to the homeowner or financial risk to the lender.
Inside the home the appraisal guidelines require the appraiser to inspect the wiring and plumbing of the home. He will check the power box and make sure everything is wired correctly. He will also go through each room and turn on the lights, just to make sure the electric is working. He will inspect the plumbing as well, making sure each fixture works and that there is adequate pressure in the home. Your heating and air conditioning will be tested so he can verify that they are working properly. He will also take a peek in the attic and look for areas of damage, ventilation, and leaking roofs. In addition to all of this, the paint and any areas that look like they might be hazardous will be inspected as well.
What to do Before the FHA Inspection
Preparing for your FHA inspection shouldn’t be too difficult. There are some things that you cannot change, such as cracks on the foundation, but if you can repair something it’s wise to do so. Externally you will want to fix anything on the roof that may appear to be in disrepair. If your home appears to have wet spots where the water isn’t draining away from the home, you would be wise to dig up some land and provide proper drainage. If you have pests, hire an exterminator and if you have hazardous waste, find a professional to clean that up for you. You would also be wise to repair any other items that look like they may pose a health hazard.
Inside the home you will want to start with your plumbing an electric. Go through the house as the appraiser would and test every switch to make sure it works. Look in the electric box and fix any loose or exposed wires. While you’re at it, test all of your plumbing fixtures and make sure they work without leaks or low pressure. If any of them are not working properly, take the time to fix them for the FHA inspection. Your attic is an important part of the inspection so go up there yourself and look for any leaks or hazards. You will need to keep the area clear so the inspector can go up when he does his walk through. Once you’ve checked your attic, you’ll need to test your heating and air conditioning sources. They need to both be working properly and providing adequate heating and cooling for the home. If they aren’t working, you will want to fix them yourself or hire a professional to fix them for you. While you’re doing your inspection you’ll also want to touch up any paint that is chipping or damaged and any carpet or floor areas that are a trip hazard. If you have the time and the funds, you’d be wise to fix broken windows and window frames, damaged floor coverings, missing handrails, and other minor cosmetic issues. While these are not necessarily required fixes, ultimately your lender will decide what he’s willing to take a risk on and sometimes small issues like these can be a deterrent.
Since the appraisal is done with a professional chosen by your lender from the appraiser roster, you really will have no say in who goes through the home. This means that you won’t be able to go off of referrals to find the best deal or the most lenient appraiser. Any and all repairs you can do prior to the inspection will increase your chances of the home getting the red stamp of approval.