Oh the VA appraisal! Among all the appraisals, this is probably the one that is most feared and misunderstood, but with some preparation and knowledge, the VA appraisal is not so bad. We have actually written several helpful articles referencing appraisals. One of our most popular articles is “Appraisal requirements to prevent closing delays and extra costs.” Plus, we have one called “Myth buster: A VA appraisal is NOT a home inspection,” which is very helpful in understanding the VA appraisal. Although, today let’s talk specifically about the VA appraisal checklist. We polled processors, VA underwriters, and even appraisers. Then we compiled the following list of things to watch for.
VA Appraisal Checklist
The following is the list of common issues seen on VA appraisals as well as other appraisals too. Being proactive in addressing these areas could not only attract more buyers but also help with the appraisal process. Want a printout of this VA appraisal checklist? Let us know!
- Inaccessible areas of the house such as attic or crawlspace
- Exposed wiring
- Outbuilding in disrepair or unsafe
- Broken windows or windows that won’t open
- Garage door opener not working
- Garage door safety feature not working
- Water stains on the ceiling
- Rotten wood around fascia boards, doors, & garage doors
- Loose or missing handrail on steps
- Missing stove, HVAC, water heater, or other essentials
- Hot water and power turned off
- Peeling paint in or on homes built before 1978
VA Appraisal Issues Overlooked
There are some little known and overlooked areas. First, window issues include broken windows and even possibly broken seals. Even stuck windows are considered a safety concern. You will notice that much of this list are safety issues. For instance, most believe a dilapidated outbuilding could just be excluded from the appraised value, but this is a safety concern as someone could easily get hurt.
Appraisers must have full access to the dwelling and any other structures on the property. There are so many times where the seller and Realtor do not leave the appraiser access to all parts of the property. Therefore the appraiser will require a re-inspection. Probably the most complaints stem from garage doors. The doors must open, and the safety eye must function. People must be able to get out of the garage easily. Foremost, the safety eye protects children from a door closing on them.
Additional Common Appraisal Issues
Let’s look at other common but avoidable issues on our VA appraisal checklist. Exposed wiring is an obvious safety hazard, even on the ceiling. Make sure to cap off wires and install outlet covers correctly. Water stains or appearance of a leak must be addressed as well. In these cases, an appraiser will usually condition for an inspection by a qualified professional. Finally, rotten wood is an issue. This is very common where wood is in close proximity to the ground. Frequent rotted areas include door frames or thresholds, garage doors, or porch railings. Obvious concerns would be the stability of the structure, mold from moisture, or is conducive to termites. That is why it is also common for termite inspections otherwise known as pest inspections to mention areas that are “conducive” to infestation or rot.
Most Frequent VA Appraisal Issues
Finally, there are the big 4! These are by far, the most popular VA appraisal setbacks we see. Loose or missing handrails are a prevalent safety hazard. Go ahead and tighten railings on any steps up-front. Plan on a railing installation if a porch is high.
VA Appraisal Tip – HVAC, Hot Water Heater, & Stove Requirements
Then, missing HVAC, water heater, or drop in stove are prevalent problems. Homes must have a permanent heat source, access to hot water, and even a stove. Usually, only the drop in type is required, but it is up to the appraiser.
VA Appraisal Tip – Turn on the Power and Water!
Also the 2nd most popular is the easiest to avoid (except in foreclosures). Believe it or not, this is the power or hot water is turned off. Just think, the appraiser must make sure the systems in the house meet VA standards, so the power must be on.
VA Appraisal Tip – Peeling Paint
Finally, the last and most popular VA appraisal issue. Peeling paint on a home built before 1978 (even if it is a little bit on the inside or outside.). This is because the paint chips may contain lead paint which can cause issues if children eat it. Therefore, make a thorough inspection of any peeling paint and remedy that before inspection.
Now, these are not all potential issues. There are things such as curled up floor covering (tripping hazard) or bowed flooring, but we have covered the most popular ones.
VA Renovation Loan Could Fix Property Issues
When buyers or Realtors have worries about the property meeting VA loan requirements, a VA renovation loan could be the answer. VA renovation loans, like regular VA loans, will finance up to 100% of the purchase price.
Furthermore, it will finance 100% of the renovations as well! So, that is one loan that will finance the purchase price and up to $75,000 of improvements. Keep in mind; there are limitations to the scope of work. It is limited to nonstructural work.
Realtors could use this VA appraisal checklist as part of their listing routine. Being proactive will go a long ways towards making your buyers and sellers happy.
Looking at buying or refinancing a home with a VA loan? Contact us to walk you through the VA home loan process so you can achieve your dream!