When buying a home with an FHA loan, the lender will require the home to be appraised by an appraiser who is authorized and qualified to perform FHA appraisals.

Other than performing the appraisal to establish the value of the home for the lender the appraiser will also perform what they regard as a Health and Safety inspection.

Below is a brief summary of the items the appraiser might be looking for to assure that the home is safe for the new purchaser.

Repairs that must be fixed before closing.

The following checklist provides a pretty comprehensive guideline as to what to keep an eye out for on a prospective property:

  • Peeling paint in homes built before 1978
  • Unpainted downspouts and broken rain gutters
  • Rotting outbuilding in need of demolition
  • Exterior doors that do not properly close and open
  • Exposed wiring and uncovered junction boxes
  • Major plumbing issues and leaks
  • Inoperable HVAC systems
  • Leaky or defective roofs, roofs with a life expectancy of less than 3 years, composition over shake
  • Active and visible pest infestation
  • Rotting window sills, eaves, and support columns on a porch
  • Missing appliances that are usually sold with a home such as a stove
  • Bedrooms without minimal-sized windows or bedroom windows with bars that do not release
  • Foundation or structural defects
  • Wet basements
  • Evidence of standing water in the crawl space
  • Inoperable kitchen appliances
  • Empty swimming pools, pools without a working pump, and pools with mosquito fish
  • Ripped screens
  • No pressure relief valve on the water heater
  • Leaning/broken fence

FHA Repairs That are Not Necessary to Fix Before Closing

Some repairs don’t have to be completed prior to closing, but you’ll still want to keep track of them for future reference:

  • Peeling paint in homes built after 1978
  • Cracked glass in windows
  • Minor plumbing defects such as a dripping faucet
  • Missing handrails
  • Damaged wall coverings in homes built after 1978
  • Worn out carpeting or defective floor finishes
  • Beat-up or damaged exterior doors that still open and close
  • Trip hazards such as heaving sidewalks
  • Removal of debris under the house
  • Poor workmanship
  • Evidence of previous or inactive pest infestation
  • Replacement of flat roofs
  • Testing of wells unless it’s required by local jurisdictions or if water is suspected of contamination

It’s important to keep in mind that the FHA isn’t concerned with cosmetic defects. Normal wear and tear don’t throw up a red flag provided that it doesn’t interfere with the soundness, security, or safety of the dwelling.

Each appraiser will have their own opinions what is safe or not but this list above will give you a good idea of most of the main points they will look for.

Here is a link to the relevant part of the FHA handbook.