What Does a VA Appraiser Look For? Part One
In recent blog posts we’ve examined the basics on VA minimum property requirements. When a VA assigned appraiser reviews a home to see if it meets VA MPRs, he or she appraises the property with a set of criteria established by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The appraisal is intended to make sure the property is safe, livable, sanitary, and marketable–but does not guarantee or insure the building lives up to local property codes–that’s a local compliance issue which is addressed at the local level.
Naturally if the appraiser does find something that doesn’t look right or is in violation of the VA MPRs, that issue is noted for the appraisal report, but the appraiser is primarily interested in insuring the home lives up to the criteria listed here and other requirements as issued by the VA. What areas does the appraiser specifically examine? There are many.
The VA requires the property for a single family VA home loan to be a “single, readily marketable real estate entity.” Any nonresidential use of the property must be, in the words of the VA Lender’s Guide, “subordinate to its residential use and character.” The VA won’t approve a single-family home loan for a building that is primarily commercial in nature, with living quarters making up a small portion of the floor space on the property.
It’s important to remember that a VA appraisal is not an inspection. Some appraisers include language in the comments section of the appraisal form that indicates the nature of the work done to determine fair market value on the property.
An example would read something like this:
“Appraiser has not moved or relocated any personal belongings to get a better view. Appliances and systems have not been tested beyond turning them on and off. The appraiser is not an expert in plumbing, heating, or electrical systems and the appraiser is only responsible for what is readily observable on the property.”
Borrowers or sellers concerned about the nature of the property in question should hire a qualified inspector to perform more extensive reviews of the home for a detailed report on the condition of it and heating, air conditioning, plumbing, etc.
About Bruce Reichstein
Bruce Reichstein is an Expert on (VA) Military/Veteran Home Loan Guidelines for over 26 years — www.VALoans.com. He is an experienced VA Loan Mortgage Banker who is passionate about assisting US Military Veterans utilize their Veteran Eligibility to purchase a home.