VA Loans and Home Inspections
A reader left us a comment recently about purchasing homes that have been previously owned (as opposed to buying a new construction property with a VA mortgage). He writes, “… there are too many possible issues with a house 15 years or older, VA will not allow you the loan because of issues with the roof or other issues . Go with a VA loan ONLY IF THE THE HOUSE YOU ARE TRYING TO BUY IS 15 YEARS OLD or LESS.”
While opinions definitely vary, this reader’s concerns about homes of a certain age can be put to rest with a simple step in the VA loan process which we’ll cover in a moment.
One aspect of this comment should definitely be addressed–the issue of a loan being denied due to the age or condition of the roof.
All homes to be purchased with a VA insured home loan must be reviewed by a VA fee appraiser prior to VA loan approval. Homes that do not meet VA minimum property requirements may be denied a VA mortgage loan, but not meeting these requirements is not an automatic deal-killer.
The appraiser can recommend repairs, improvements or other alterations to the property in order to make it eligible for the VA mortgage. The implication that a home15 years or older could be turned down out of hand for a VA guaranteed mortgage because of these issues is not necessarily true. It may be true in individual cases, but not all of them. VA appraisers can and do recommend corrections to the homes they review so they may be approved for a VA loan.
Borrowers concerned about the condition of the property have the option–one they should definitely use–of hiring a home inspector to review the property from top to bottom prior to committing to a VA loan.
When it comes to the roof concern, this is especially important. VA assigned fee appraisers are not required to step onto the roof to do their work. VA fee appraisers are not necessarily experts on roofing issues. They are trained and paid to do a general review of the property based on VA guidelines, but a home that meets VA minimum property requirements is not guaranteed to be free of defects.
That is where the home inspection comes in–the borrower pays for the inspection to uncover any possible hidden issues to be aware of prior to purchase.
A borrower has little recourse if they purchase a home based on the VA appraisal alone–home inspections are a way for the borrower to make a truly informed purchase. The home inspection does cost the borrower money up front, but the peace of mind is well worth the investment.
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.