VA Appraisals and Defects: A Reader Question About Home Defects
A reader asks, “I recently bought a home that had a VA appraisal done, which I thought was also a inspection done per VA requirements (my misunderstanding). 3 weeks after closing and while doing paint work, I found serious rot and water damage in the ceiling, walls, and attic.”
“I don’t know how it could have been missed by the appraiser, the 4point and wind mitigation inspector, or the WDO inspector. Is the VA appraiser liable for missing this? Or any of the other inspectors? Do I have any recourse as a VA buyer?”
The VA Lender’s Handbook spells out the rules for VA appraisals and defects. A VA appraisal is NOT a guarantee or a stamp of approval by the VA that a home is defect-free, but there are rules for appraisers that include the following:
“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 VA Lender’s Guide also states that conditions, “which impair the safety, sanitation, or structural soundness of the dwelling will cause the property to be unacceptable until the defects or conditions have been remedied and the probability of further damage eliminated. Such conditions include but are not limited to
- Defective construction
- Poor workmanship
- Evidence of continuing settlement
- Excessive dampness
Any borrower who feels the appraisal on the property has not been conducted in a competent manner should contact the Department of Veterans Affairs directly by calling 1-800 827-1000 to ask what steps should be taken in those particular circumstances. You may also wish to consult the VA Regional Loan Center with jurisdiction in your area, find your jurisdiction here.
Again, the VA appraisal is not a guarantee that the home is problem-free. Borrowers can and should pay for a home inspection that goes far more in depth in terms of examining the property for specific defects or problems. The home inspection is a cost the borrower must pay, but it’s well worth the expense.
Do you have questions about VA home loans? Ask us in the comments section.