row of gray houses

If you’re buying a home, you probably want to move in as soon as possible. However, you also have every right to expect that the house will be safe and move-in ready.

Some people might want to move in and make the repairs later, but with an FHA loan, many repairs must be completed prior to closing. While this may seem inconvenient, it ensures that your house will be more like a home than a construction site on moving day. In fact, if your house doesn’t meet the basic safety standards outlined below, you won’t be allowed to close on your loan.

Here are some of the things that appraisers are on the lookout for.

Common Repair Items

Exposed Floorboards and Wall Studs: These indicate unfinished construction and could potentially make the house unsafe. Construction must be completed prior to closing.

Chipped or Peeling Paint: Due to the potential for lead-based paint, if the home was built prior to 1979, the FHA requires that all areas of chipping, peeling or otherwise defective paint be scraped and painted and the chips disposed of properly.

chipped or peeling paint

Water Damage: Visible water damage can be an indicator of roof damage, plumbing problems or foundation issues. Areas that have water damage are also at risk of developing mold. All roof, plumbing, foundation and mold issues must be remedied prior to closing on the home.

water damage

Major Renovations: The appraiser must determine the value of the finished product, so major renovations, which can take months, must be completed prior to close.

major renovations

Holes in the Roof or Siding: Damage to the roof or siding can lead to water infiltration that can harm the home in other ways in the long run. The FHA requires that such issues be repaired.

Driveway or Sidewalk Damage and Missing Handrails: Poorly maintained sidewalks and driveways and missing handrails are considered safety hazards by the FHA and must be corrected.

Other Potential Appraisal Issues

In addition to correcting structural deficiencies, there are a couple other basic appraisal guidelines that the seller will need to follow in order to avoid delays:

  • All utilities must be turned on
  • All rooms and areas must be accessible, including the attic, crawl space and detached structures

Additional structures on the property will be held to the same standards as the house.

Getting the Fix

If you find out that something needs to be fixed before you can close, the repair cost can be paid either by you or by the seller. If you end up paying for the repairs as a buyer, you may be able to get the seller to offset the cost by lowering the price of the house. If you pay for the repairs, you need to make sure you have enough money left over to close.

Any repairs that the seller agrees to complete as part of the purchase agreement must be finished before the loan can close.

Check out our FHA page for more information on these loans. Do you have any additional questions about property conditions? Let us know in the comments.

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This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Thank you for this forum. If the roof is in decent shape, however the fascia has some wood rot, is this an issue? Also, if there is an unattached carport that needs to be torn down, must it be taken down prior to appraisal?

    1. Hi Karen:

      It’s hard to give you an answer on the roof without knowing the extent of the issue. In terms of passing the appraisal, the appraiser is going to require you to fix anything that could affect the structural integrity of the property. As far as the carport, if you can take it down, I would definitely consider it. One of the things you have to keep in mind is that the appraiser is going to want to see the property as it would be sold.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  2. Thank you for all your information and even pictures! For an FHA appraisal, if the house was built in 1982 and the exterior paint is flaking, does it have to be repainted before appraisal? I am refinancing and will be having new siding put in.

    1. Hi Tricia:

      Since your house was built in 1982, peeling paint shouldn’t cause a problem. Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  3. If the buyer agrees to pay some of the repair costs, do they still need to be fixed prior to closing?
    Thank you for all the information!

    1. Hi Lisa:

      I can’t comment on the policies of other lenders, but I know for us that any repairs the seller agrees to in the purchase agreement have to be completed before closing. Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  4. Thank you! This was very helpful and understanding. Thanks for the information. I didn’t know such things like this had to be prepared before closing. Thank you again!

  5. I was not aware of some of the items that had to be repaired before closing , so this information has been very helpful to me. Thank You

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