2011 FHA Appraisal Checklist for Home Buyers & Sellers

ChecklistFHA loans are more popular than ever with Ann Arbor home buyers. They are a good choice for many, as they typically only require a 3% down payment, a minimum FICO Score of 580, or a 10% down payment for new borrowers with less than 580 FICO score.

Did you know that qualifying for an FHA home loan is just the first step in the process?  The FHA appraisal is the next step in the process and you’re wrong if you think this is just the problem of the home seller. If the home you plan on purchasing doesn't pass this rigorous inspection, your loan won't be approved! Before the FHA will even begin checking the loan requested by the buyer, there must be an approved inspection report.

The minimal appraisal guidelines require that the property must be free of hazards that affect the health and safety of the property’s occupants. Here is a general list of guidelines to help both buyers and sellers.

  • Heating & Cooling Systems. Must be in working order. Heating for cold areas and cooling for hot areas. An appraiser may require certification from a qualified contractor.
  • Electrical. Must be available and checked for safety and that it meets code.
  • Water & Sewage. Hot & cold, potable water must be available and connected to city or community systems. If well & septic, must conform to local requirements. There must be proper water pressure and flushing toilets.
  • Termites. Property will be inspected for termite damage, but a termite inspection is not required if there is no evidence of infestation.
  • Attics & Crawl Spaces. Must be properly ventilated and show no evidence of dampness or deterioration.
  • Grading and Soil. Property must be properly graded to allow water to drain away from the house and soil must be free from contaminants.
  • Lead Paint. If the home was constructed before 1978, the interior and exterior will be checked for defective, peeling, or chipped paint.
  • Bedroom Egress. Must be able to exit to the exterior in case of fire. Window bars must meet fire safety codes.
  • Smoke detectors must be installed and in working order.
  • Repair requirements will be necessary for health and safety issues for broken windows, blocked doorways, steps without handrails.

You can view the entire handbook here. and see all of the exact requirements the FHA appraiser must follow. While FHA appraisals may be a bit more stringent that conventional, the main goal is to provide the home buyer with a hazard free new residence. If an Ann Arbor area move is in your future, check out all of the neighborhoods on Subdivision Hotline and if an Ann Arbor condo is more you style, check out all communities at the Condo Hotline where you can get up-to-date active and sold listing information for all of Washtenaw County. Should you have any FHA loan or Ann Arbor real estate questions, just give us a call at 734-761-3060 or info@bouma.com!


Posted Thursday, July 21, 2011 by Martin Bouma
Tags: ann arbor real estate, Ann Arbor Home Buyer, ann arbor home seller, FHA Appraisal Guidelines, FHA Appraisal Checklist, Ann Arbor Subdivision Hotline