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VA Home Loans: Roofs, Basements and Crawlspaces

When it comes to a VA appraiser’s job, moisture is an important factor in rating or evaluating the property. Part of the appraisal process is to identity obvious conditions that could affect the value or usability of the home. Moisture is definitely a factor in both areas.

There are three areas where excess moisture can be a factor—the roof, the basement, and crawlspaces where applicable. An appraiser is not required to step out onto the roof or do an extensive investigation—that’s the job of a home inspector hired by the VA borrower—but any noticeable conditions must be written up as part of the appraisal report.

The VA minimum property requirements for what’s described in the rulebook as a “roof covering” includes the following language: “The roof covering must prevent entrance of moisture, and provide reasonable future utility, durability, and economy of maintenance.”

These are fairly basic guidelines, and limited to what the appraiser can visually inspect. That’s one reason why both the VA and real estate agents often remind the VA loan applicant that the appraisal is not a guarantee that the property is free from defects.

When it comes to basements and crawlspaces, the VA instructs the appraiser to make note of any “excessive dampness” that can include pools of water collecting on the floor. Basically any observable water beyond what could be considered reasonable is noted in the appraisal report. These will require further action before the VA can approve the loan. For example, for any pooling of water in a crawlspace, the VA rules say, “Any excessive dampness or ponding of water in the crawl space must be corrected.”

Even if these areas are corrected, the VA loan applicant should not accept the property without hiring his or her own home inspector to confirm no issues continue—but also to identify any possible damage that may have occurred related to the original condition that was corrected. A VA appraiser might not spot such damage in a visual inspection—a trained home inspector might uncover issues that need further attention.

About Joe Wallace

Joe Wallace has been specializing in military and personal finance topics since 1995. His work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and a member of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association.

4 Responses to VA Home Loans: Roofs, Basements and Crawlspaces

  1. Barb Ackerman says:

    Relative to “excessive dampness” in a crawlspace…….in situations where there is no standing water, can someone please define “excessive?” Is there a meter reading so that it isn’t such a subjective evaluation?
    Thank you for your attention to this question.

    • Joe Wallace says:

      Unfortunately, there is no “meter reading” for excessive dampness in the VA rules–it is subject to interpretation but also influenced by any applicable state or local building codes.

  2. Arthur says:

    is there a requirement for the roof to be a certain number of years for the VA. I have a home I am looking at that has the original roof on it from 1987 does the VA require that roof be replaced?

    • Joe Wallace says:

      The VA requires the roof to be in good condition, be free of leaks and other problems but does not specifically mention an age requirement. That doesn’t mean state law or building code in your area doesn’t, but you’ll need to consult your local authority to learn what may be applicable.

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