VA appraisals

VA Minimum Property Requirements: Common Issues

June 6, 2012


VA Minimum Property Requirements: Common Issues

The Department of Veterans Affairs has a rulebook for VA home loans which includes a list of minimum property requirements that are used to guide VA appraisals.

One of the most frequently asked questions about VA home loans in general is, “What does the VA appraiser look for?”

While the answer to that question is too long to include in its entirety here, we can provide some of the most common issues and areas VA appraisers are required to review. For example, every home appraised by a VA fee appraiser must have a heating system which is “adequate for healthful and comfortable living conditions.” Properties with unvented space heaters and/or wood burning stoves have additional requirements.

For example, “Homes with a wood burning stove as a primary heating source must also have a permanently installed conventional heating system that maintains a temperature of at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit in areas with plumbing.”

When it comes to solar heating units, VA appraisal rules state, “Solar systems for domestic water heating and/or space heating must:

• meet standards in HUD Handbook 4930.2, Solar Heating and Domestic Hot Water Heating Systems, and
• be backed-up 100 percent with a conventional thermal energy subsystem or other backup system which will provide the same degree of reliability and performance as a conventional system.

Note: VA field stations may determine that climatic conditions are such that mechanical heating is not required.”

VA appraisals also include a review of the water supply and related facilities. VA rules state, “Each unit must have the following:

• domestic hot water
• a continuing supply of safe and potable water for drinking and other household uses, and
• sanitary facilities and a safe method of sewage disposal.”

The roof is also an important area and VA rules say the roof covering must “prevent entrance of moisture” and “provide reasonable future utility, durability, and economy of maintenance.” VA MPRs say a “defective roof” with three or more layers of shingles which needs to be replaced must have all old shingles removed.

VA MPRs also cover plenty of other areas–if a basement has standing water, for example, that’s an area of concern, as are damp crawlspaces and other areas.

Those who wish to see the complete set of VA guidelines for MPRs and get related documentation and further reading should see the VA official site or download the VA Minimum Property Requirements PDF from the VA Lender’s Handbook.

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  1. peg awald

    what about asbestos shingles on an older home

    • Joe Wallace

      Local building codes would apply unless the information found at applies to your specific situation.

  2. Rita peper

    woul concrete slab (carpeted) and Baseboard heat be ok?

    • Joe Wallace

      Please download the VA Minimum Property Requirements PDF from the VA Lender's Handbook for specific details:

  3. Mary Annis

    My husband is in the process of obtaining a VA loan on a REO property that is vacant and has the water and baseboard hot water heating winterized. The seller does not want to de-winterize and turn on the water for an appraisal. Is it required that these be turned on for a VA appraisal? The property appears to be in very good overall condition. I have read on several different feeds and an article that it is not mandatory that utilities be turned on for a VA fee appraisal. Is this correct and if so where can I find documentation to that affect.

    • Joe Wallace

      It may depend on the building code and other requirements in your area--you should consult with a local authority or a real estate expert who understands code compliance issues in your zip code to learn more. VA loan rules don't override state or local building code, and the rules are fairly general for issues such as these in many cases.

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