This blog was written by our Appraisal Manager, Jennifer Muzzall.
Agents and borrowers alike often find the appraisal process confusing and opaque – it’s why we consistently field questions on what appraisers look for when inspecting a property and how agents can best prepare. Not only can appraisers’ opinions on value make or break a deal, but they also play a crucial role in determining if the property in question meets all health and safety standards required for a clean appraisal (also referred to as the Minimum Property Standards, or MPS).
Though an appraisal does not replace a full home inspection, Underwriters and Investors rely on the appraiser’s report to determine if the property meets the MPS – this is true of conventional, FHA, and VA appraisals.
FHA and VA appraisals do, however, have slightly different health and safety checks that are required during the home inspection. B/c these different checks can be difficult to parse out online, we created a list below of the common health and safety checks required of all 3 types of appraisals, and the specific checks required for only FHA and VA.
Conventional, FHA & VA
- Verify that the water heater is properly double strapped and vented
- Validate every bedroom has 2 points of egress
- Verify that there are properly placed CO and Smoke detectors
- Identify any exposed wiring or missing electric box cover plates
- Address any water damage issues
- Verify adequate heat source
- Check for evidence of termite damage
- Check for signs of foundation damage
- Verify no other obvious health and safety issues present (broken glass, broken doors/walls, animal droppings, etc.)
- Verify that stairs and decks have proper railings
FHA & VA
- Identify any chipping, peeling or cracked lead-based paint – interior and exterior
- Verify the property has proper drainage
- Test for permanent working heat-source
- Test for adequate water pressure (both hot and cold) and ensure no water leaks
- Ensure major appliances/garage door opener work
- If garage is attached, ensure the door from house to garage is self-closing with a fireproof door
- Verify roofs have at least a 3-year remaining life or call for a roof inspection to confirm
- Complete a head and shoulder inspection of attic and crawl space
- Clear Section 1 Pest Inspection (this is not part of the appraisal process)
- Certain heating systems, like solar, require a more standard “backup” system