Ace Your Home Appraisal: Tips for a Smooth Mortgage Process for Conventional, FHA, and VA Loans

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If you’re in the process of applying for a mortgage, you may need a home appraisal before your loan can be approved. This is a process where a professional appraiser evaluates the value of your property and ensures that it meets the requirements of your chosen loan program.

To make the most of your home appraisal and ensure that your mortgage application is approved, it’s important to be aware of the specific requirements for each type of loan program.

Conventional Loans

If you’re applying for a conventional mortgage, some of the things that an appraiser will be looking for include:

  • Visible damage: Fix any visible damage to the property, such as holes in walls, broken windows, or damaged roof tiles.
  • Health and safety: Address any health and safety issues, such as faulty electrical wiring or a broken heating system.
  • Plumbing: Repair any plumbing problems, such as leaks or faulty water heaters.
  • Appliances: Make sure that all appliances, such as the stove, oven, and fridge, are in good working order.
  • Exterior: Address any issues with the exterior of the property, such as peeling paint or broken fences.

FHA loans

If you’re applying for an FHA (Federal Housing Administration) mortgage, some additional items that the appraiser will be looking for include:

  • Proper drainage: The lot should be positioned so that drainage moves away from the house.
  • Safety features: The appraiser will look for handrails alongside steps and stairways to ensure the property is safe for occupants.
  • Solid foundation: The foundation of the property must be able to withstand all normal loads imposed on it. The appraiser will check the foundation to ensure it is in good condition.
  • Proper ventilation and mechanical systems: Proper ventilation is important for maintaining indoor air quality, and fully functional mechanical systems are essential for the proper functioning of the property.
  • Waterproof roof: A roof that keeps moisture from entering the home is essential for protecting the property. If the roof needs to be replaced within the next 2 years, this will be reported by the appraiser.
  • Lead-based or defective paint: Homes built before 1978 may contain lead-based paint, which can be harmful to occupants. Paint should not be chipping, peeling, or flaking.
  • Evidence of termites: While termite testing is not required by the FHA, the appraiser will look for evidence of termites, which can cause significant damage to the property.

VA loans

For VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) mortgages, some additional items that may be included on a home appraisal checklist include:

  • Exposed wiring: Exposed wiring can be a safety hazard and should be addressed as soon as possible.
  • Outbuilding in disrepair or unsafe: An outbuilding in disrepair or unsafe condition can be a red flag.
  • Broken windows or windows that won’t open: Broken windows can be a sign of neglect and may need to be repaired or replaced.
  • Water damage: Water damage can be a sign of a leak or other issue with the home’s plumbing.
  • Rotten wood around fascia boards, doors, and garage doors: Rotten wood can be a sign of neglect and may need to be repaired or replaced.
  • Loose or missing handrail on steps: A handrail is an important safety feature and should be securely in place.
  • Missing stove, HVAC, water heater, or other essentials: These items are essential for a functional home and should be present in the home being appraised.
  • Peeling paint: If the home was built before 1978, the appraiser will need to check for lead paint. Peeling paint can also be a sign of neglect and may need to be repaired or replaced.

Overall, it’s important to be aware of the specific requirements for a home appraisal when applying for a mortgage, as any issues or problems identified during the appraisal process will need to be addressed and corrected before the loan can be approved.

By being proactive and addressing any potential issues upfront, you can help ensure a smooth and successful mortgage process!

If you have any concerns about the appraisal process or believe that your home may not meet the guidelines, contact your loan officer as soon as possible.

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