real estate VA limits

What VA Appraisers Look For: Part Two

March 16, 2011

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What VA Appraisers Look For: Part Two

In our last blog post we discussed VA appraisals and what the VA appraiser looks for when reviewing the home. An important issue when reviewing some properties is the overall nature of the building.

VA loan rules state a property may have some commercial use, but the main purpose of the building must be residential. If part of the property is used in a non-residential way, VA regulations state, “that property is eligible only if the nonresidential use does not impair the residential character of the property, or exceed 25 percent of the total floor area.”

But the nature of the building isn’t all the appraiser must examine. The design is also important. VA rules require a home to provide bedrooms, a cooking and sleeping area, plus appropriate “sanitary facilities”. This can be related to the MPRs for residential vs. non-residential use, but these rules aren’t tied to those listed above.

Any property that does not feature a kitchen or bathroom, for example, may not be suitable for a VA mortgage. A warehouse, for example, may be technically suited for a VA home loan if the borrower wants to use it as a dwelling, but if it is missing a sleeping and cooking area, the appraiser may deem it unsuitable for a standard VA home loan as-is.

VA minimum property requirements also address the mechanical systems found in the home such as central heating or air conditioning, septic systems, and other items. These systems must be safe, be in good repair so as to be usable for the new home owner, and be properly housed. The VA requires mechanical systems in the home to be “protected from destructive elements”. In addition to these basic requirements the VA also has MPRs specifically for heating systems.

Those minimum requirements include the following from the VA Lender’s Guide; “Heating must be adequate for healthful and comfortable living conditions.” These are just a few examples of what a VA assigned appraiser is looking for when reviewing a property for a VA home loan, and shouldn’t be considered the complete list. Your nearest VA Regional Loan Center can give more information on minimum property requirements and offer advice on specific issues.

2 Comments
  1. William H. Glenn

    I am having a home inspected by an idependent inspector, My concern is that I have some wood pecker holes, do I need to fix them before the VA inspector does his part,plussome chiped paint around the windows and if I don't he doesn't get there with in the 10 days period I could loose the deal. What are my odds. the House is locate in Elbert co,CO.

    • Joe Wallace

      The VA defers to local code and requirements for many issues like this. There is a requirement to correct infestation by wood-destroying pests but in the case of woodpeckers (as opposed to termites) the situation may be viewed differently--it's difficult to say without more information.

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