Checklist for FHA Appraisals

The primary concern of an FHA appraisal is that everything in the house works properly and there are no health and safety issues. The FHA minimum requirement is that everything works as it was designed to work. For example, an appliance should work the way it was designed to work, windows must open, a sliding glass door should lock, etc.

What do FHA appraisers look for?

  • Appliances must function properly.
  • The heating unit must be in working order (and AC if applicable). FHA doesn’t require air conditioning, but if present the system should work as intended.
  • The water heater must be in working order and strapped according to local code.
  • Utilities should be turned on so the appraiser can test systems and appliances.
  • fha-logoThere should be proper drainage around the perimeter of the house.
  • Electrical outlets must work (outlets should have a cover plate also).
  • Water pressure must be adequate for the house.
  • Appraisers flush toilets, turn on all faucets and ensure that both hot and cold water are working.
  • Toilets must flush and be mounted.
  • Attics and crawlspaces are to be viewed at minimum from the shoulder up by the appraiser. When viewing the attic, appraisers make sure there are vents, no damage, no exposed or frayed wires, and that sunlight is not beaming through. When inspecting the crawl space, appraisers make sure there are no signs of standing water or any other foundation support issues. Excessive debris in the attic or crawl space should be removed.
  • Any active termite infestation must be cured.
  • Paint must not be chipping, peeling, or flaking on homes built before 1978 because of the danger of lead-based paint (lead was used in paint prior to 1978). However, there must be no defective paint or bare wood for properties built after 1978 because defective paint impacts the economic longevity of the property. Defective paint should be scraped and re-painted (with no wood chips on the soil).
  • Windows must open and close and they cannot be broken. Minor cracks can be okay so long as there is not an issue with safety, soundness and security.
  • A roof should not be leaking and needs to have at least two years of economic life left.
  • Minor cosmetic issues such as stained carpet or a need for interior paint are okay. The house does not have to be perfect, but if there are issues that impact health and safety or the long-term economic viability of the property, then those issues must be cured.
  • No dangling wires from missing fixtures or anywhere else.
  • A trip hazard is a subjective call to make by the appraiser and not necessarily an automatic repair, but if there is a legitimate safety issue it should be called out by the appraiser.Smoke detectors & carbon monoxide detectors are required insofar as required by local code
  • The firewall from the garage to the house should be intact. Missing sheetrock, a pet door installed in the door, a lack of self-closing hinges, or a hollow door could pose a safety issue.
  • A house will be rejected if the site is subject to hazards, environmental contaminants, noxious odors, or excessive noises to the point of endangering the physical improvements or affecting the livability of the property (this isn’t an issue for the vast majority of properties).
  • There are things any appraiser will call out in an FHA appraisal, but there are times when appraisers have to consider how the spirit of FHA might apply in a situation. FHA is black and white on many issues, but other times appraisers simply need to use good judgment.