Home Inspections and Asbestos
The VA stresses the importance of paying for a home inspection for several reasons, the most important of which being that the VA does not guarantee the condition of the home. An appraisal is not intended to give the house a “clean bill of health” for problems, defects or health issues that might not be visible or apparent during the appraisal.
One of the best examples of why it’s important to pay for a home inspection when applying for a VA loan? Asbestos concerns. The VA has minimum property requirements which include the following:
- The property must be free of hazards which may adversely affect the health and safety of the occupants.
- The property must be free of hazards that adversely affect the structural soundness of the dwelling, or impair the customary use and enjoyment of the property by the occupants.
- “If an appraiser notices a condition, he/she should make a note on the appraisal report and require an inspection with corrections as needed by a professional in that field with full disclosure to the veteran.”
Note the language of the rule–“If the appraiser notices…”
VA assigned appraisers are not trained or encouraged to aggressively seek out signs of asbestos present in a home. While it’s true that new and recent construction properties should be asbestos free according to the law, certain types of older properties may still have some asbestos which needs to be addressed. VA rules do not specifically address asbestos contamination, so the burden falls upon the borrower to have the property inspected if there is a concern.
Don’t allow yourself to commit to a purchase you aren’t confident in, should the results come back less than you expected. Those applying for VA mortgages need to carefully consider the wording of a purchase agreement. Your commitment to buying a home with a VA mortgage should be dependent on getting the VA loan you’re applying for, the outcome of the VA appraisal and the results of a home inspection.
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.