What Does a VA Appraiser Look For?
We’ve examined the basics on VA minimum property requirements many times on this blog. When a VA appraiser reviews a home to see if it meets VA MPRs, he or she appraises the property with a set of criteria established by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The VA appraiser’s job is to make sure the property is safe, livable, sanitary and marketable — but does not guarantee or insure the building lives up to local property codes. That’s a local compliance issue which is addressed at the local level.
Naturally, if the VA appraiser does find something that doesn’t look right or is in violation of the VA MPRs, that issue is noted for the appraisal report. However, the VA appraiser is primarily interested in insuring the home lives up to the criteria listed as well as other requirements issued by the VA. So, what does the appraiser specifically examine? There are several different areas.
- The VA won’t approve a single-family home loan for a building that is primarily commercial in nature, with living quarters making up a small portion of the floor space on the property.
- The VA requires the property for a single family VA home loan to be a “single, readily marketable real estate entity.”
- Any nonresidential use of the property must be, in the words of the VA Lender’s Guide, “subordinate to its residential use and character.”
It’s important to remember that a VA appraisal is not an inspection. Some appraisers include language in the comments section of the appraisal form that indicates the nature of the work done to determine fair market value on the property.
An example would read something like this:
“Appraiser has not moved or relocated any personal belongings to get a better view. Appliances and systems have not been tested beyond turning them on and off. The appraiser is not an expert in plumbing, heating, or electrical systems and the appraiser is only responsible for what is readily observable on the property.”
Borrowers or sellers concerned about the nature of the property in question should hire a qualified inspector to perform more extensive reviews of the home for a detailed report on the condition of it in regards to heating, air conditioning, plumbing, etc.