FHA Inspection Checklist

An FHA inspection checklist is a document that helps an FHA (Federal Housing Authority) appraiser determine the value of a home and ensure that the property meets minimal habitation standards. The way the FHA loans and refinance options are structured requires an assessment of the property, and the checklist is also a place where the appraiser can record observations and recommendations for whether the home is acceptable. Once the appraisal process is over, the FHA can decide whether or not to approve the loan.

What is covered on the FHA inspection checklist?
The FHA inspection checklist features a list of potential issues and an option for the appraiser to note if there is a problem and record any comments. Examples of the possible problem areas are site hazards, soil contamination, grading or drainage problems, well or septic problems, termites or other infestations, obvious foundation issues, subpar roofing, paint deterioration or any other general health and safety problems. An FHA inspector will also assess the electrical system, plumbing system, furnace, central air and any other mechanical systems within the structure.

Within each major category are secondary questions that enable the appraiser to provide even more detail. For example, under the category of wood destroying insects, the appraiser has the option to decide whether the buildings on the property are at ground level and that there are no obvious signs of termites. If the appraiser sees a problem, he would mark "yes" on the checklist. This may mean that FHA and the lender will refuse to approve the loan.

After the detailed questions with yes or no answers, the FHA inspector has the opportunity to provide an estimate on the full market value of the property. The inspector can also provide a best guess estimate on the repair costs for the property so that it would get up to FHA standards.

Is this process a substitute for the regular home inspection process?
No. An FHA inspection does not go into nearly as much detail as a private home inspection would. An inspection from a qualified home inspector will reveal an in-depth look at the condition of the home. An FHA appraisal is nothing more than a checklist to ensure that the FHA minimum standards are met for home loans. The FHA office cannot make professional determinations on problem areas; they can only point them out and make an assessment about them.

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