Buying a home through the government agency of Veteran Affairs (VA) is a fairly simple process that leads veterans to becoming happy homeowners. While there are a few forms that are necessary to be filled out, reviewed and approved, the VA housing appraisal procedure is one item that we receive several questions about. While we are always happy to answer any questions our readers may have, we thought we may be able to help by discussing what is involved in the VA home appraisal and how it affects the home buying process for America’s military veterans.
Many soon-to-be homeowners become concerned that their dream home may not pass the inspection or appraisal phrase in the house purchasing process. We often receive questions regarding what the appraisal consists of, will a few out-of-place items remove the home from VA mortgage eligibility or even questions about the motive behind the appraiser’s report. Each of these questions are valid and the appraisal process can cause some concern but it is important to understand that it is a vital step in purchasing a home that protects both the veteran as a future homeowner and the VA as a lender.
A VA Appraisal Procedure
The appraisal begins with an appraiser coming to the home in question and examining it from top to bottom, inside and out. All major aspects of the property must be inspected for safety and the appraiser is there to appraise, report and compare the actual home’s value to what it is listed for.
Another piece of the appraisal puzzle requires the appraiser to list and itemize any defects that the house may have. This list is described by the VA to catalog “any observed repairs required to be completed,” “customer preference items to be installed” or any improvement that must be made to the home or property to bring it into compliance with VA housing standards. This does not necessarily mean a home is out of the running for approval if items are listed on these descriptive lists, it just means that changes must be made either by the future homeowners or the current property owner to bring the home to VA standards. Some of the most commonly listed items include the need to repair a leaking roof, providing handrails to staircases or other similar items.
Inspections and Appraisals
We often are asked whether a home inspection and an appraisal are the same thing. They are not. An inspection looks for the safety and living accommodations of a home while the appraisal essentially ensures the home is fairly priced without any large flaws. It is important, however, as a potential homeowner to remember that the VA inspections and appraisals may not catch all home “defects.” It is vital for the happiness of a homeowner to perform a self inspection/appraisal and list any items that may need to be repaired or that remove the home as a purchasing option for a veteran. Be sure to list the items found within the self inspection to the VA verified appraiser to be placed on the “customer preference items to be installed” list. This will help in the buying process and ensure that the blend of the VA’s standards and a self inspection results in the prefect dream home.