VA Appraisals and Hazardous Conditions
The Department of Veterans Affairs has an appraisal system in place that insures that properties to be purchased with VA home loans live up to the VA minimum property requirements and are safe to live in.
VA rules covering hazards and defective conditions in the home state, “The property must be free of hazards which may adversely affect the health and safety of the occupants adversely affect the structural soundness of the dwelling and other improvements to the property, or impair the customary use and enjoyment of the property by the occupants.”
The rules also add a transparency requirement. “If an appraiser notices this 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.”
The rules on hazards do not specifically address all concerns. Asbestos, for example, is not mentioned by name in the requirements, but as the VA official site states, “VA does not address asbestos related issues specifically, however, deteriorating asbestos insulation within the confines of a home may be considered hazardous to one’s health,” and therefore covered under the Hazards and Defective Conditions rules.
Some properties built earlier than 1978 may also contain lead paint, which must be classified as a defective condition by any VA appraiser who detects the problem. Specific VA guidance on lead paint includes, “the correction of any defective paint condition on such properties must be made according to the requirements in Section 12.03 and inspected only by VA fee personnel or VA staff.”
Even with these requirements, VA loan applicants are reminded that a VA appraisal does not translate to a government guarantee that a home is free from defects or problems. VA appraisers may not be specifically trained to determine the extent or severity of lead paint or asbestos problems; these issues are reported when detected. The borrower is urged to employ the services of a reputable home inspector to resolve any lingering doubts about lead, asbestos or other issues in the home that may go undetected unless specifically searched for.