What to Expect With VA Loan Appraisals and Inspections
Potential homeowners looking to purchase a new house through a VA home loan can expect to have less stress through the VA process than would be experienced when buying a home through a conventional loan. However, there are two areas in the home buying process that are similar for each of these mortgage types. No matter the type of mortgage a homeowner may be receiving, all lenders require a home in the purchasing procedure to be inspected and appraised. This helps the lender as well as the future homeowner to know the condition of the home and if it is fairly priced.
Why Lenders Require Home Appraisals and Inspections
When potential homeowners apply for a VA home mortgage loan, one of the basic qualifications is that the home be inspected and appraised. These steps must be taken before the loan can be completed and should enlighten the homeowner as well as the lender on the condition of the property and home to be purchased. It also is meant to protect the government’s monetary investment in the home before the purchase is complete. While an inspection and appraisal cannot provide a warranty that a house is in excellent condition it can inform all those wrapped up in the home buying process of any major or detrimental home defects.
The inspection process for a VA home usually includes four main areas to be examined. Each of these areas is crucial to the home’s structure, safety and livability.
- The Foundation and Exterior Walls
Most home inspections begin outside of the home. A house examiner will look for cracks or signs of water damage in the foundation and then scan the exterior walls looking to mark them as in good or poor condition.
- The Land and Roof
Following an inspection of the foundation and exterior walls, an inspector will move to the roof. Carefully, the examiner should look at the roof to determine if it may need to be replaced. He may also look at gutters, chimneys or downspouts if they are present on this particular home. Next the land will be reviewed for proper grade and slope away from the foundation. Patios, sidewalks and driveways may be checked for grade and slope as well.
- Main floors
The inspection should move next to the main floors of a home. The ceiling, flooring and walls will all be examined and some key areas that should be checks include:
- Electrical Outlets
- Heat or Cooling Vents
- Light Switches
- Plumbing in Kitchens, Washrooms, Laundry Rooms and Bathrooms
- The Basement
Lastly the basement will be inspected in a similar way to that of the main floor. It is also this area that is often safety checked for the core elements of plumbing, heating and electrical panels.
Once a home has been scrutinized and checked by a VA certified inspector, the home will need to be appraised before it is deemed safe on which to provide a mortgage.
An appraisal differs from an inspection because it is meant to evaluate a home’s value instead of its safety or livability. The soon-to-be-purchased house and property must be inspected to allow an appraiser to compare and investigate the price and official value of the home. The appraiser can also include a report of areas in need of improvements or modifications which may need to be completed by the homeowner once the property is financed and purchased. Some of these areas can include:
- Fixing stairway handrails
- Installing new windows that open easily
- Repairing areas needing proper sealing
- Restoring Roofs which may be leaking
Self Home Inspections
One thing new homeowners need to keep in mind is that VA approved appraisals and inspections may not find all that is wrong with a home. These steps are designed to find large flaws in a home which may make it a poor investment for the VA. It does not mean that it is the ideal home for the homeowner. It is important for a future homeowner to conduct their own inspection of a home before turning it over to the VA certified professionals. This can ensure a home is exactly as needed, that potential homebuyers know what they are getting into and help answer questions or point out items during the actual VA inspection/appraisal process.
Getting a VA Home Loan
Veteran home buyers looking to purchase a new house through a VA home loan can expect to have less stress through the VA process. This can be especially true with the inspection and appraisal regulations that have been put in place to protect both the homeowner and the VA. For homeowners, it is the combination of performing a self home inspection with the VA’s appraisal requirements that ensures receiving a VA loan and the purchasing of a dream house for the veterans of America.
Photo Credit: Arlington County