VA Loan Inspection Requirements: A Complete Guide
VA loans are different from all other home loans in various ways – the biggest being who they’re designed for. But like most mortgages, VA home loans have an appraisal and inspection process that they follow.
Also, just like with other home loans, the appraisal process and inspection process on VA loans aren’t one in the same despite some similarities and overlap. Therefore, the terms “inspection” and “appraisal” are no more interchangeable on VA loans than they are on any other kind of mortgage.
Let’s take a look at VA inspection requirements, the benefits of getting an inspection with a VA home loan and the difference between a home inspection and a home appraisal.
What Is A VA Loan?
VA loans are backed by the federal government through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Potential recipients of VA loans include eligible active-duty service members, reservists, National Guard personnel and veterans along with surviving military spouses who meet certain qualifications. VA loans typically offer the perks of no down payment, a competitive interest rate and the absence of a private mortgage insurance (PMI) requirement.
Make sure you understand the specific eligibility requirements of VA loans before applying for one.
What Is A VA Home Inspection?
VA loan inspections are essentially just like any other home inspections. Inspectors will look at the interior and exterior of the home to help the potential home buyer make an informed choice on their future with this real estate property.
Note that the borrower usually arranges home inspections.
Does A VA Loan Require An Inspection?
The VA usually doesn’t require home buyers to get an inspection, but it’s highly recommended. Home inspections are important to have in case they find an issue that might need to be repaired or resolved before you close on the house and move in. You can negotiate so that the seller will pay for these costs or lower the asking price – but if you’re in a seller’s market, some buyers might opt not to have an inspection.
There are times when a certain type of inspection might be required. In many areas of the country, a special pest inspection is necessary on many VA loans. Appraisers may also require further inspections if they suspect specific problems with the property.
Your VA lender can help connect you with an inspector who has worked with others who’ve used a VA loan to make a home purchase.
VA Home Loan Inspection Requirements
Since the VA doesn’t necessarily require a homeowner to get a home inspection, the department doesn’t standardize requirements. The items gone over will likely mirror those of a regular home inspection. The inspector should thoroughly examine the interior and exterior of the home. This includes the home’s HVAC, plumbing, electrical system, attic and roof.
To give you a better idea of what exactly should take place during a home inspection, we’ve compiled a checklist.
VA Home Loan Inspection Checklist
Your home inspector should carefully check the real estate property from top to bottom. Their home inspection checklist should include:
- Exterior (walkways, siding, trim, decks, patios)
- Roof (shingles, flashing, moss growth)
- Attic and insulation
- Wall structure
- Lead paint
- Pest and termite damage
- Floors and ceilings
- Doors and windows
- Steps, stairs and railings
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Foundation and floor structure
Should You Get A VA Loan Inspection?
Since a home inspection may not be required with a VA loan, some borrowers might opt out of getting one because they’ll have to pay for it. Although it might cost you money upfront, a home inspection provides detailed information on whether the seller needs to fix anything before closing.
If the inspection process brings something problematic to light, the necessary repair could cost thousands of dollars, but, hopefully, the seller will be willing to pay for it. If the borrower forgoes the inspection, they’ll have to deal with any problems once they move in or later on down the road.
Benefits Of A VA Home Loan Inspection
The peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re buying a house in good condition isn’t the only reason to purchase a home inspection with a VA loan.
An inspection also allows you to put a home inspection contingency clause in your real estate contract. This clause can give the seller a certain amount of time to fix any issues that the inspection might reveal. If the seller refuses to fix the problem, the buyer can walk away without losing any money.
A home inspection also gives the buyer some negotiating power they otherwise wouldn’t have. If you find an issue with the home, you can ask the seller to lower the sales price if they don’t pay to fix the issue.
However, arguably the main benefit of a VA loan inspection or any home inspection is that you discover the ins and outs of what could be your new home. You’ll learn everything you need to know about the property, its systems and anything you should be aware of.
What’s The Difference Between VA Home Inspection Vs. VA Home Appraisal?
Now that you know what a VA loan inspection is, you might be wondering how a VA home appraisal is different from a VA home inspection. A home inspection takes a deeper dive into examining the condition of the home, but a home appraisal considers the condition of the home and makes a determination of the home’s overall value.
Let’s take a quick look at VA home appraisals and their requirements.
VA Home Appraisal
Unlike the VA home inspection, a VA home appraisal will be required by your mortgage lender to ensure your new home meets the VA’s minimum property requirements (MPRs) that protect veterans from buying a house that’s unsanitary or unsafe. The appraiser will look at your potential home and similar homes in the neighborhood to establish a fair market value (FMV) on the home you hope to buy. In addition to the home appraisal, your new home must meet state and/or local building codes.
VA Appraisal Requirements Checklist
VA home appraisals have certain requirements, much like a home appraisal with any other type of loans. If the house fails to appraise at the original sales price, any issues that caused the house to fail the VA MPRs will likely need to be resolved before closing. Common issues found during the appraisal include roof damage, pest infestation, chipping paint and broken windows.
If the house imprisoned for less than the purchase price, you have three options: You can renegotiate with the seller, bring the difference between the purchase price and the appraised value to the closing table or walk away.
Here’s a checklist the appraiser should follow when conducting a VA home appraisal:
- Check all of the home’s interior and exterior.
- Analyze comparables or “comps.”
- Make a final value estimate.
- Sign appraisal report.
The Bottom Line: A VA Loan Inspection Isn’t Required But It’s Recommended
It might be tempting to skip out on a home inspection due to the extra cost and a little inconvenience, but getting an inspection is better in the long run. Even though the VA doesn’t require an inspection on a home you’re looking to buy, an inspection can reveal underlying issues that might change your mind about making a purchase, save you some money on your purchase price or allow you to get some major problems fixed on the seller’s dime before you move in.
If you’re interested in learning more about VA loans and other loan inspection requirements, visit our Learning Center. If you think you’re ready to get started with the mortgage process, you can apply online or give us a call at (833) 230-4553.