VA Loan Appraisal Waivers: A Reader Question
A reader asks, “Upon my VA appraisal in Texas, the appraiser found several cosmetic problems, worn siding, some bricks missing tuck points, front door weathered. Chipped paint, most of the flaws notated on the detached garage. In your opinion, could we qualify for a waiver? The appraiser on his initial inspection pictured the defects, we went and fixed all of those, then upon re-inspection found more nitpicking blemishes. The house is 24 years old and in overall great condition. How would we go about getting a waiver?”
It’s impossible to say whether a waiver is possible in these cases for one important reason. State and local building code may have a say in such conditions noted by the VA fee appraiser and under VA loan rules the home must live up to state/local code.
Addressing one of the specific points mentioned in the reader question, depending on the age of the home chipped paint is not a cosmetic issue. Certain older homes are assumed to have lead paint, and chipped, cracked, or peeling paint in such cases is considered a lead hazard and not a cosmetic problem. That’s just one of the issues that can be tricky in cases like these. How old is the home? What does state or local building code say about the condition it’s in?
VA minimum property requirements are just that–they are minimum standards that can and often are supplemented or even overruled by state or local building code. One consistent thing about VA loan rules across a number of areas, not just appraisal issues, is that VA rules can’t and don’t override local, state, or federal laws.
So borrowers must keep this in mind when considering their options on a VA home loan–the lender who requires higher standards for credit, loan repayment history or other factors is completely within the law as long as those standards are applied in accordance with federal law.
The reader question includes a query about getting a waiver–borrowers who want to apply for a waiver of certain minimum property standards should contact the VA Regional Loan Center with jurisdiction over that area to discuss the issue. Again–no waiver is possible if there’s a building code compliance issue. But if you need to discuss your situation with the VA Regional Loan Center you can look yours up and call them directly to discuss.
Do you have questions about VA home loans or refinance loans? Ask us in the comments section.