The Home Buyer's Korner

Information presented should be used for educational purposes only.

September 3rd, 2015

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VA Appraisal Basics Home Sellers Should Know

VA Home Loans

Get Pre-Approved for a Home Loan

If you’re thinking about accepting a purchase offer from a Veteran or Active Duty Service member wishing to use their VA eligibility to purchase your home, you’d do well to consider some of these facts about your home to ensure a successful closing.

It’s important for both you and the home buyer to know that an appraisal can make or break a real estate transaction regardless of the type of financing your home buyers is using.

For those sellers who are agreeable accepting VA financing as a purchase contingency, it’s certainly in your best interest to be familiar with VA appraisal guidelines. All properties financed through a VA loan must undergo a VA appraisal and meet VA Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs). Some MPRs are very precise while others give appraisers room for interpretation.

Here’s a summary of some major MPRs for any home seller to consider:

  1. Your property must be for residential use. Office buildings or storefronts can’t be financed through VA loans. If any part of the property is designed for nonresidential purposes (for example, a home hair salon), that portion must not exceed 25 percent of the total floor area.
  2. You must have space necessary to assure suitable living, sleeping, cooking and sanitary facilities. Make sure the home has an adequate kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area.
  3. Mechanical systems must be safe and have reasonable future utility. Electrical and plumbing systems must be in good repair and have some usable life remaining. Minor electrical glitches are no major problem, but an entire house with old knob and tube wiring will have trouble meeting VA regulations. If you think your property might not meet this standard talk with your listing agent and discuss marketing your home with FHA 203K financing.
  4. The heating must be adequate. The home’s heating system must be safe and adequate. Any unvented space heaters must be inspected by a heating contractor, equipped with an oxygen sensor and meet all building codes or manufacturer’s recommendations. Homes that use wood-burning stoves as a primary heating source must also have a conventional heating system that maintains a temperature of at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. The property must have domestic hot water, continuing supply of safe drinking water and safe method of sewage disposal. Water quality must meet local standards (usually set by the health department), and sewage systems must adequately dispose of waste.
  6. Roofing must be adequate and provide reasonable future utility. The roof condition will be closely examined by the VA appraiser. A defective roof with three or more layers of shingles must be replaced and all old shingles must first be removed.
  7. Crawl space must have adequate access, be clear of all debris and be properly vented. Any excessive dampness or pooling of water in the crawl space must be corrected. Leaky basements can be a deal breaker for many VA house hunters. Foundation problems are common among older homes and can be expensive to correct. If your home if showing any issue that might indicate a foundation problem and you can afford to repair it consider marketing your property as FHA 203K eligible.
  8. Utility services must be independent for each living unit unless there are separate shut-offs for each unit. This isn’t typically a problem for most properties.
  9. Properties must have safe access from the street. Properties must have private driveways or permanent easements to allow access. If your home is on a privately maintained road you’ll need to have a recorded private road maintenance agreement that adequately addresses the road maintenance, signed by all parties who have an interest in the land the easement covers.
  10. Properties must be free of any hazards which adversely affect the health and safety of the occupants. This is a rather vague statement by the VA. The VA does not include specific criteria that must be met under this category, so “hazards” can be left to the interpretation of the appraiser.
  11. No defective conditions which impair the safety, sanitation or structural soundness of the dwelling. Appraisers are advised to watch for defective construction, poor workmanship, and evidence of continuing settlement, excessive dampness, leakage, and decay.
  12. The lot must be graded so that it prevents pooling of water on the site and drains water away from the home. Poor drainage can lead to expensive exterior and foundation problems, so your home needs to be properly elevated.
  13. No wood-destroying insects, fungus growth or dry rot. A termite inspection may be required in your area. Properties with termite infestations must be treated and re-evaluated to garner VA approval.
  14. Lead-based paint must be evaluated and corrected. Properties built before 1978 must be inspected for lead-based paint. Surfaces with cracked or chipped lead-based paint must be scraped and repainted, covered with drywall, or totally removed.

The best way to know if your home meets VA minimum home property standards is to ask your listing real estate agent. If you’re concerned about any of the issues mentioned discuss it with them when signing a listing agreement. Doing so lets them know it could be a concern and gives them time to do any necessary research well before accepting a purchase agreement and resolve any concerns that could prevent you from having a successful closing.

For a complete list of VA appraisal criteria, see VA Pamphlet 26-7, Chapter 12.

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TENNESSEE HOME OWNERSHIP TOOLS

Your Home Purchasing or Refinancing & Renovation Tools,

Home Improvements, Home Renovations,

Mortgage Loan Officers, Real Estate Agents & General Contractors

are ready to assist you with your home purchase.

Here are just a few of the home improvements

you might consider with any Home Renovation loan

Repair or replace a roof

Install, replace or repair gutters and downspouts

Replace, repair or upgrade your HVAC system

Repair or replace plumbing

Install, repair or replace electrical systems

Kitchen remodeling (including the purchase and installation of appliances)

Bathroom remodeling, Full interior painting, Total exterior painting

Repair or replace a septic system and/or well

Disability access (wheelchair ramp, elevator, widen doorways)

Build, repair or replace deck, patio or porch

Basement waterproofing and finishing

Abatement/Stabilization of lead-based paint hazards

Replace old windows, Room additions, Finish an attic

Add a second story to your home

Replace a termite damaged sill plate (a water-damaged sill plate also)

Possible landscaping items such as correction of grading & drainage problems,

tree removal, repair a driveway and sidewalks

FHA 203K

Your Home Purchasing or Refinancing & Renovation Tool

Mortgage Loan Officers, Real Estate Agents & General Contractors

are ready to assist you with your home purchase

FANNIE MAE HOMESTYLE

The Conventional Alternative to FHA 203K

Great for Real Estate Investors and Second Home Renovations

Mortgage Loan Officers, Real Estate Agents & General Contractors

are ready to assist you with your home purchase

USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Up to $10K for Home Improvements, Renovations or a Simple Remodel

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A SIMPLE HOME SHOPPING INSPECTION TOOL

Organizing your home shopping experience affords a wise decision-making process.

This simple home inspection tool makes your ultimate buying decision a smart one.

To print this document click on “Open in New Window” located at the lower right corner;

click on “File”; then click on “Print”. In the center of the screen you will

have the option to “Create A Printable PDF of the Presentation”.

START YOUR PATH TO HOME OWNERSHIP TODAY

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