The FHA has specific guidelines called Minimum Property Requirements that a property must meet in order for you to get FHA financing on it. While the guidelines aren’t anything ‘horrible,’ they are still worth understanding so that you can tell right away if a property won’t pass the FHA inspection.
The Overall Requirements
Before we get into specifics, let’s cover the overall requirements the FHA requires. In general, they need the home to be:
- Safe – This means the home is safe to live in and doesn’t have any obvious hazards
- Sanitary – The home shouldn’t pose any health hazards to the occupants
- Sound – The home itself must be of sound structure
Beyond these three requirements, the FHA does have some specific requirements each home must meet. Keep reading to learn more about them.
The FHA appraiser looks closely at the roof. They need to know that it will last for at least another 2 years (or more). It must also be in good condition. This means no:
- Curling or missing shingles
In addition, there cannot be more than three layers of roof. If there are, the FHA won’t approve the loan until there’s a new roof (one layer) on the home.
Access to the Property
The property must have year-round access to it. This includes access for cars and pedestrians. You must be able to drive a car up to the home – there cannot be any hazards that get in the way even in the winter. The home must also have a street with access to it year-round, even when the weather is bad.
Safe Electrical, Heating and Water Heater
The home must be wired according to the local code. There cannot be any frayed or damaged wires. Each room in the home must have access to the heater and it must be in good working condition. In addition, there must be a working water heater that provides adequate hot water supply given the size of the home.
There must be adequate bathroom space for the size home that you purchase. The bathrooms must also have all of the following:
- Shower (unless it’s a half bath)
While you would assume every home would have this, people have done some strange things when losing their home, especially taking sinks and toilets just out of anger.
Other Issues the FHA Won’t Allow
In addition to the major requirements above, the FHA won’t allow any of the following:
- Lead paint
- Broken doors or windows
- Plumbing leaks
- Pest infestation
- Bedrooms that don’t have windows
- Cracks in the foundation
- Evidence of water in the crawl space or basement
- Mold or mildew growth
- Empty swimming pools
If the home you want to purchase has any of these issues, the FHA will require that you have them fixed first. The FHA appraiser is responsible for ensuring that the repairs are made in a satisfactory manner as well.
Making the Changes
In a perfect situation, the seller will agree to fix any issues that the FHA appraiser finds. If they won’t agree to make the changes, you have a couple of choices:
- Walk away from the home and find another
- Make the changes yourself
- Find a different type of financing
Obviously, all three of these options have their risks. If you walk away from the home, you just wasted time and potentially money trying to buy the home. If it doesn’t meet the FHA requirements, though, it could be a sign that it isn’t the right home for you. If you make the changes yourself, though, you invest money in a home that you don’t own. Anything could happen leaving you without a home to buy and now less money in your pocket. Finding different financing isn’t the end of the world, but it will take more time and could push you beyond your contracted closing date.
The best way to avoid any issues with an FHA appraisal is to work with a realtor that knows FHA loans well. The realtor should be able to spot obvious issues that he/she knows the FHA won’t approve for your loan. This could save you time, money, and headaches when dealing with FHA financing and buying a home.