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How Tough is the VA Appraisal? 3 Factors to Consider

VA Appraisal is tough on Repairs for Homes

The VA appraisal can be hard on homes in need of repair. Focus your search on homes that will easily meet VA appraisal criteria.

The unbeatable benefits of the VA loan program aren’t bestowed on every property that catches a military buyer’s eye.

In order to garner VA approval, every home must undergo a VA appraisal. And although the VA appraisal has a reputation for being rigorous, its intentions are honorable: ensuring that homes purchased by veterans are fiscally and structurally sound.

So how tough is the VA appraisal? In this post, we’ll explore three factors that can influence the rigidity of any VA appraisal: VA appraisal guidelines, the appraiser assigned to the property and the individual lender.

How tough are VA appraisal guidelines?

Any appraisal will help a lender determine a property’s value. But VA appraisals go beyond conventional appraisals by incorporating a second function: ensuring that homes meet the VA’s Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs).

Veterans need homes in good repair, not dicey money pits. In pursuit of that goal, MPRs establish basic standards for a home and its contents. Electrical and plumbing systems must be in good condition, roofs must be defect-free and basements must be dry. Homes that fail to measure up to VA MPRs can’t be financed through the VA loan program.

VA appraisal guidelines can be strict and can eliminate fixer-uppers from contention. Many of the guidelines can be frustrating for military buyers who are considering older homes in need of renovation.

But it’s important to note that VA appraisal guidelines aren’t as different from modern conventional appraisal standards as they once were. Thanks to the housing market meltdown, some of the erstwhile differences between VA and conventional appraisals have been leveled. VA lenders have always been hesitant to risk funds on ramshackle properties. More conventional lenders are headed in that direction and tightening purse strings for properties in need of serious repair.

How tough is the individual appraiser?

Every VA appraisal originates from the same list of MPRs. But the results of any appraisal can depend on the appraiser assigned to the property.

Some MPRs are very specific, but others allow room for interpretation. The VA instructs appraisers to watch for “defective construction,” but doesn’t specify what qualifies as “defective.” Properties must be free of safety hazards, but the VA stops short of providing a comprehensive list of safety threats.

Those vague guidelines mean that VA appraisers often have to make judgment calls. And depending on the appraiser and the property, that flexibility can either help or hinder a sale.

How tough is the lender?

The “toughness” of any particular appraisal also has a lot to do with a lender’s own policies. In issuing a VA loan, a lender can choose to add any number of property restrictions. Some lenders are extremely strict, while others are more accommodating.

For example, while the VA allows mobile home purchases through the VA loan program, many lenders will refuse to take a chance on these properties. Even the most flawless appraisal couldn’t convince most VA lenders to issue a loan for a mobile home.

The VA appraisal is certainly important to a lender. Properties that don’t meet all VA criteria are rejected by the program. But the appraisal is never the sole determinant of financing. Any property — immaculate or not — can fail to pass a lender’s own litmus test.

How can you breeze through the VA appraisal process?

If your buyer is considering a VA loan, make sure you’re up-to-speed with VA property guidelines. Pursuing an ineligible property is a poor use of your resources and isn’t fair to your military clients. Provide the best service possible with a basic understanding of VA MPRs and VA loan criteria.

It’s also important to work with an experienced VA lender. VA-savvy lenders have intimate knowledge of every VA regulation and can provide immediate property guidance to military buyers. Our partners at Veterans United Home Loans work exclusively with VA loans and can provide your military clients with a quick and efficient financing experience.

We want to hear about your experience with VA appraisals. What advice would you recommend for buyers and fellow agents?

Photo courtesy of John Picken


Posted by Jessi Hall
| jhall@veteransunited.com


150 Comments

  1. Posted May 2, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for a the great article helping to explain the VA appraisal process. Perhaps you could write another article that discusses the specific process of how to challenge a VA appraisal…

    • Posted May 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      That is an EXCELLENT idea. There are ways to challenge erroneous VA appraisals … we’ll get a post up soon with more details! Thanks, Rich!

  2. Joaniedoane
    Posted May 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I had a VA loan around 13 years ago that needed some peeling paint on the garage repaired in order to pass the qualifications.  The seller wasn’t willing to repair & the buyer couldn’t afford to spend much money so he used some donated paint from a relative which wasn’t even close to the same  as the rest of the paint on the sructure.  The scraping + painting was completed by the buyer…  (when done it kinda reminded me of a blue & white spotted cowhide)  It passed the appraiser’s requirements AND to this day it still has that same unusual appearance.

    • Posted May 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      Too funny! Were there any other repairs ordered by the appraiser? Seems like some appraisers are pickier than others.

    • Hans
      Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

       My last VA appraiser had 3 requirements. 1) back porch needed peeling paint corrected 2.) new hand rails installed on the stairs 3″ higher than currently installed 3.) French Drain around house replaced. This was back in 2006. I was the buyer and I did the paint and hand rails. The seller corrected the French Drain.

  3. Posted October 5, 2012 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    This was very helpful!!!

  4. Posted October 17, 2012 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Our Guy wants dented siding replaced, new carpets and paint… But he missed the bathroom floor falling in! We wanted a fixer upper… and would do everything on the list and more. God bless the VA for not putting people in bad houses.

  5. Posted October 20, 2012 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    How many years of experience is needed in order to become a VA Appraiser?

  6. Veronica Palmer
    Posted November 3, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    My sellers recently have an executed agreement on their home that is 21 years old. Their dining room is separate and has french doors but have never completed steps or a deck for access. Will the VA appraiser take issue with this? If so, what would suffice in selling the home….would a restrictive panel limiting access from this door suffice? They assume the new owners want to install exactly what they would like. Thanks very much!

    • Posted November 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Hi Veronica – The VA appraiser is -probably- going to see this as a safety issue. The appraiser will probably make your sellers take some kind of action, and I doubt the restrictive panel will suffice. But appraisers vary in their judgments, so you may not have any issue at all. Keep us posted. – Jessi

    • Jeremy Sulak
      Posted July 26, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      remove the door handles prior to inspection. not to say this works 100% of the time, but this will remove any threat of harm to the purchaser.

  7. jim deason
    Posted November 20, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    We have had the same appraser who has under apprased our houe is there any way to get another appraser or ask for for another wish I had read this site before apprasil

    • Posted November 21, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      @Jim: Sorry, but you’re not able to request a specific appraiser.

  8. DIANE
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Had our house appraised for a re-finance through the VA months ago. We needed new siding so we put new siding on the house awaiting our final inspection, we recently decided to put a roof over our patio which will be attached to the house. The covering for our patio will be completed later and because the one rafter attached to the house was exposed they wouldn’t say that the siding was completed. Putting plywood over the rafter and it is going to pass the inspection. The roof may not get done for quite some time, but at least we can close on our house. It has been a pain through this whole thing.

    • Posted December 3, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing, Diane. This is more of an appraiser’s judgment call, so it’s tough to say. If you’ve followed the appraiser’s instructions, you’ll probably be in good shape.

  9. Ronald a. Jordan
    Posted January 3, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    My Wife and I bought a house thru va loan,had a va appraisel and latter we found out our found our foundation was sand stone and the wiring was a mess ,but was approved by appraiser. I need help my foundation is crumblin and ths floor in living room has a big hump in it.I have not been able to find any one that will help.I need to get my house fixed but nobody knows any one in goverment that will help

    • Posted January 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for contacting us, Ronald, and we’re sorry to hear of your situation. The VA appraisal isn’t a guarantee of a home’s condition. VA appraisers ensure that a home meets basic VA requirements, but they aren’t responsible for examining every square inch or predicting every possible problem. For that reason, you probably won’t find any recourse through the VA.

      That’s also the reason that a professional home inspection is critical before making a purchase. Did you hire a professional home inspector to evaluate the home before your purchase? If you did and the inspector missed an obvious defect, you may be able to take legal action. Laws vary from state to state, so talk to an attorney about your options.

  10. timothy e, pate
    Posted January 5, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    why is a finished basement not considered heated space for cost purposes

    • Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Not sure what the “heated” part has to do with the equation – is your basement heated?

  11. bettina
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    very great site. we are va appraisers, and the questions you answered is just as we would..

    • Posted January 10, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Bettina! :)

    • Duane
      Posted March 19, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      Hello Bettina. I am looking at purchasing a home that is in forclosure under a VA loan. The VA in not letting me dewinterize the home to complete the inspection process for Rural Development. Is there anything I can do to get around this to finish my purchase of the home?
      Please email me directly. Thank you in advance for your help.

      Duane

    • Megan
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      We are trying to obtain a VA loan in Hawaii. The apprasial came back a full 8 business days late. Due to this it will most likely push back our closing. Is there anything I can do?
      Thanks!

      • Posted May 21, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

        Hi Megan – Thanks for the question. VA appraisals do occasionally come in late, and unfortunately, there’s not much recourse for a buyer with a delayed closing. Best of luck to you, and let us know if you have any other questions.

  12. Rachel
    Posted January 11, 2013 at 3:12 am | Permalink

    If I’m considering buying a HUD foreclosed home, will the VA frown upon that for any reason?

    • Posted January 11, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Hi Rachel – The VA won’t frown on a home simply because it’s a foreclosure. BUT, homes in foreclosure can present challenges to VA financing. Homes purchased with VA loans must be move-in ready and in good condition. Sometimes foreclosed homes aren’t properly maintained and won’t meet VA appraisal criteria. Some sellers are willing to complete repairs, but HUD foreclosures are generally sold “as is,” meaning without repairs.

      My advice to you: If you want to purchase a foreclosure with a VA loan, make sure it’s in great condition. You can find other tips here: “Purchasing Foreclosures with a VA Loan” and here: “Buying a Foreclosure or Short Sale with a VA Loan

      Thanks for the question, and best of luck to you, Rachel!

  13. Betty McDonald
    Posted January 11, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    The HUD home we are trying to purchase has an apprasail attached that states:
    MPR REPAIR ITEMS
    PER PCR: Observed; replace missing kitchen sink fixtures; 50.00
    PER PCR: A/C needs to be tested; Service inspection needed; 0
    Observed; Replace missing floor coverings in family room, downstairs hallway and all bedrooms; 3,500.00
    3,550.00

    All other repairs are designated as “cosmetic” on the HUD appraisal.

    Does the VA finance homes without floor coverings (exposed flooring in good condition without mold or rot), all bathrooms do have floor coverings?

    This home has a pool that is winterized so it can’t be checked.

    From your experience with the VA, do you feel we would have a good chance of getting a VA loan? It would be worth spending the $400 if we had a chance.

    Thank you for your advice.

    • Posted January 11, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Hi Betty – Thanks for the question. The VA appraiser will do a completely new appraisal of the property, so the current PCR inspection isn’t really of much value to you. It’s tough to say if the floor coverings are going to be an issue or not. That’s more of a judgment call by the individual VA appraiser. If the exposed flooring is in excellent condition and doesn’t present a safety hazard, it probably won’t necessitate repair. The VA appraisal value will definitely take a hit due to the lack of floor coverings, though.

      You definitely have a chance of obtaining a VA loan, but everything hinges on the VA appraisal. If you want to look at this home through a VA appraiser’s eyes, check out this guide for VA appraisers. This particular guide applies to the southeast part of the country, but most of the standards found in this guide can be applied nationwide.

      Let me know if you have any other questions, and thanks!

  14. Sara
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Another idea for a supplemental article – the comparables guidelines for VA Appraisals. I am purchasing a new home in a town where there are tons of short sales in an area encumbered by sky high Mello Roos and HOA fees – if the appraiser chooses a comparable in these areas there is no way the value will land anywhere near the price we are in contract at. Comparables will make or break our situation.

  15. michael strunk
    Posted February 7, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    How is it that 2 years ago when I bought my house it was appraised at $300,000 with a gross living space of 2616sqft and the VA appraised it for 267,000 and only 1620sqft? my house is a bi-level house….spoke with the Va appraiser and was told that living space must be 100% above grade and thats a Fedral guideline…..if so then how was this house able to be sold with the original appraisal…what can i do? VA wont give me a loan now cause my original loan amout exceeds what the house is now appraised at….

    • Posted February 13, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Hi Michael – It’s hard to say without looking at your appraisal report, but the appraiser probably included the VALUE of your below-grade living space, without calling it part of the “total living space.” To my knowledge, that’s standard operating procedure for VA appraisals. That shouldn’t be the reason that your appraisal value is low. Talk to your agent and loan officer and see what recommendations they have for moving forward.

      • Matt Harrison
        Posted March 30, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

        Is this VA only or any loan / appraisal?

        • Posted April 1, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

          This information is specific to the VA appraisal, but conventional/FHA appraisals share many similarities.

  16. Adam Rummel
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Is there a place to file complaints against VA appraisers? I have never had an issue with an appraiser until a week ago.

  17. RC
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    Hi. I’m the back up on a house that’s currently under contract but might fall through because the buyer wants the seller to replace the roof. The buyer’s inspection states the following in regards to the roof – see below. The buyer’s inspector is not a VA inspector. I’m the back up offer and am going VA and the seller’s agent asked the inspector if a VA inspector would have a problem with the two layers of roofing and he said he thought it would kill the deal. I can’t find anything online that says that two layers of wood are an issue – especially considering the roof is in fine working order (which is why the sellers don’t want to pay to replace it). I’ve read that it isn’t uncommon for there to be two layers of wood in homes over 100 years old – which this bungalow is. The age of the roof is unknown and the current owners have been in the house for 6 years. Can you tell me if the two layers of wood would be an issue with a VA appraiser if the roof was functional otherwise? I don’t want to waste money on an inspection and appraisal only to find out the deal won’t fly. Thanks.

    Under Styles & Materials:
    •Roof Pitch: Medium
    •Roof Style: Gable
    •Viewed From: Ground, Gutter on Ladder
    •Roof Material: Asphalt Shingles
    •Estimated Layers: Two, Asphalt over Wood
    •Roof Coverings: FU = Functional
    •Ridge Shingles: Functional
    •Flashings & Penetrations: Functional
    •Gutters & Downspouts: Functional

    • Posted March 4, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Hi there – There are no hard & fast rules (that I’m aware of) regarding the issue you’ve mentioned. The main concern for a VA appraiser is whether or not the roof has “reasonable future utility.” If the appraiser feels that the roof is leaking, sagging, or is in need of immediate repair, you’re going to have a problem. It’s a judgment call made by each VA appraiser, so it’s a tough prediction to make. I do know that if the VA appraiser calls for roof replacement and the roof has 3 or more layers of shingles, all shingles need to be removed before a new roof can be installed. Hopefully that information is helpful – best of luck to you!

  18. Mel
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    Hello.

    How exactly are newly built homes appraised?

    I am thinking of purchasing a home from a builder using VA loan but worried that it might fail the appraisal phase, which would lead to the loan being disapproved and eventually losing my $2,500 deposit.

    Thank you.

    • Posted March 18, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Hi Mel – Thanks for the question! The most common way to finance a new home is to start with a construction loan from a builder. Once the home is complete, you can attempt to refinance the construction loan into a VA loan. This is called “construction-to-permanent” financing. You can read more about the process in this blog post: “How to Build a Home With a VA Loan“, and please let me know if you have any other questions! Thanks!

  19. Michael
    Posted March 24, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    My question is why am I required to paint the concrete floor in my basement in order to get a rate reduction re-finance loan? I have been in my house for 16 years, had VA backing in the past in this house, and never had to paint the basement floor for the last VA inspector. The floor is painted is two areas, while the remaining is bare concrete. The paint is wearing but not actively peeling. I don’t understand. What recourse do I have? I also have a second requirement to sand and paint a 3 foot section of hand rail that leads to the basement. He claims that the paint is peeling, however it’s not….. It has a couple of scratches that are smooth to the touch. Again what recourse do I have?

    • Posted March 27, 2013 at 5:43 am | Permalink

      Hi Michael – Thanks for the question. How old is the home? If it was built before 1978, the appraiser is required to assume that any “defective paint conditions” (flaking/peeling/chipped/cracking/scaling) suggest the presence of lead-based paint. Unless you can prove that the paint is not lead-based, the loose paint must be scraped, and the surface must be repainted. You can read a bit more about the VA’s lead paint requirements in this blog post: “VA Loans and Lead Paint“. If you feel the appraiser is mis-reporting the condition of your home, you can also file a report with your local VA Regional Loan Center: you can find the contact information here. Thanks, Michael, and let us know if you have any other questions.

  20. Matt Harrison
    Posted March 30, 2013 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    I am buying a house and working with the seller. There is a 115′ long 40″ deep trench to add power to the barn we are waiting on the electric company before we fill it in. Is this going to hold up the appraisal?

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Hi Matt – That’s a tricky one. If the VA appraiser feels that the trench is a safety hazard, it may indeed be a problem. When are you planning to fill it in? Might be a good idea to get that done before the appraisal, if possible. Thanks for the question!

  21. Diane
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    The VA appraisers devalued all of the sold homes in my area by about 20%, claiming that the selling prices were inflated because of “bidding wars.” And then she lowered the appraised valuse of my home as well. When I checked with the realtors who sold the comparison homes, they stated that there were no bidding wars and the appraiser was wrong. I sent a request for re-evaluation but the appraiser denied it. This seems extremely unfair, and maybe not even legal. Is there anything I can do about this? Can I request a second appraisal by a different appraiser? Do I have any legal recourse? Thanks lots.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Hi Diane – Thanks for the question. You may disagree with the value stated by the appraiser, but that doesn’t indicate any laws have been broken. If you feel the appraiser made a mistake, you can file for a “Reconsideration of Value”: more info on that process can be found in this blog post. Thanks again for the question, and best of luck to you!

  22. Michael
    Posted April 2, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure where to begin on my issue but I purchased a home using my VA benefits sometime back. The house had an addition on the back which I come to find out never had any kind of permits filed, the wiring is not up to code, the foundation is not up to code and it is built over the septic tank. Crazy right. I was deployed when we closed on this house so my wife had to reley on the VA inspector to pass the house. I understand that a VA inspection does not cover everything but an addition that does not meet code and built over the septic tank I think would raise some concerns. I have to demo the entire addition and it will cost approx: 25K-30K to bring it up to code. Do I have any legal standing with the VA or can the VA help us in any way to correct this major problem.

    Thanks

    • Posted April 3, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Hi Michael – Thanks for reaching out. I’ll ask the most important questions first: Did you purchase a professional home inspection for the property? And secondly, were any of these problems disclosed to you in the contract?

      • Pat Grann
        Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

        Did anyone ever answer this? I’d like to know the answer with regards to the VA appraiser as the same has happened to us. Unpermitted garage over septic. The answer for our situation was yes on the inspection and no on the disclosure. But the inspection did not cover well or septic systems.

        • Posted August 21, 2013 at 6:41 am | Permalink

          Hi Pat – Thanks for reaching out. So has your purchase gone through already? Or did the appraiser flag the report due to the unpermitted garage?

  23. Stephanie
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    We bought our house 3 years ago for 105,000 and it was appraised at 110,000 we have sold it technically and are waiting for the VA to come appraise it. We sold it for 116,000. Do you think it could possiable be appraised at 116,000 if it appraised at 110,000 3 years ago?

    • Posted April 4, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Sure, anything’s possible. There are so many factors at play that it’s hard to tell. Best of luck to you!

  24. Jason
    Posted April 7, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Have a customer wanting to purchase a home using VA financing. If there was a VA appraisal done on the home within 6 months. Does that appraisal stick with the property and must be used? Or can we go ahead and get an entire new appraisal, and not concern ourselves with the appraisal that was done within the past 6 months? Thanks you

    • Posted April 10, 2013 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      Hi Jason – Thanks for the question. To the best of my knowledge, your lender is going to want a new appraisal (unless it’s the same customer, same home, same lender). But check with the lender to make sure. Enjoy your day!

      • Michelle
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        We just sold our house. We had a contract on it and the seller was using VA. The appraisal came in at $152,000. The contract fell through and we were told that VA would not do another appraisal on the same house for 6 months. Any offer we got after that we had to reduce to $152,000 in a counter offer. When we did get a contract on it again the buyer’s lender purchased the appraisal from the lender of the first buyer. We were told this by our realtor.

        • Posted August 29, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

          Hi Michelle – Thanks for reaching out. Usually a VA lender will want a new appraisal. Market and property conditions change frequently, and each lender likes to have the most recent data possible.

  25. Row
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    We are in the process of using our VA benefits to purchase a turn-key new construction house. It has been exactly 4 weeks since the appraisal was ordered and the appraiser has yet to reach out to us OR the builder. I was curious if there is any sort of time criteria for an appraiser to finish a VA appraisal? We were initially told it was a slow time of year and the appraisal should be fairly quick but at this point it is holding up our entire process and I am afraid we will lose the land we had a verbal agreement on. (the builder will buy the land on our behalf and begin the construction as soon as the appraisal based on the plans is done) Just curious if you knew how long a VA appraisal typically takes.

    • Posted April 10, 2013 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      Hmm, that seems a bit strange. There are delays here and there, but 4 weeks seems extensive. Have you been in touch with the lender? What feedback are you getting from your loan officer?

  26. Marcus
    Posted April 10, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I ordered an appraisal 5 days ago and they still have not called to setup appt.

    Why is it taking so long

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Hi Marcus – Thanks for reaching out. You might want to double-check with your lender, who is responsible for ordering the appraisal. Nationally, VA appraisals are done in average within 10 days of being ordered. Metro areas are generally a little quicker, and rural areas a little slower. My advice would be to check in with your lender and see what’s going on. Good luck with your purchase!

      • Marcus
        Posted April 11, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Jessi

        Also, how do they have to get me back the appraisal report?

        • Posted April 12, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

          Hi Marcus – The report will be sent to your lender, who will let you know about any problems / concerns. Thanks again!

  27. Tony Elliott
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone know what the legalities are of the buyer accompanying the VA appraisor onsite during the appraisal? Specfically in Michigan (if the state makes a difference). Thanks!

    • Posted April 15, 2013 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Hi Tony – From what I know, most appraisers don’t have a problem with a buyer being present. One factor that may be a problem is that the seller will have to grant you access. It’s not your home yet, so unless the seller agrees to let you into the home, you can’t be present during the appraisal. Talk it out with your agent and the seller’s agent. Thanks!

      • Tony Elliott
        Posted April 15, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        perfect! just what i wanted to hear. thanks! p.s. for anyone following this string, VA rep gave this info for the Cleveland processing office (covers MI): For future reference, they may be reached directly at 800-729-5772, option #2 or 325cnv@vba.va.gov.

  28. gloria
    Posted April 14, 2013 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    We are using our VA loan for the first time and after the inspection we found out the roof is years old and on it last leg. not leaking but inspector said beyond its useful life as asphalt is missing on many shingles. And the furnace is years old too, rusty inside and outside and on its last let. could stop any day or last. Now we don’t want to wait until the roof leaks to repair it so it needs to be repaired asap. Will VA appraiser notice roof & furnace and make seller replace them as beyond reasonable future utility??? or should we try to get them to reduce home to cover these items after we close. Not sure how picky VA is. There were electrical issues: double taps, windows with broken seals, deck needs alot of help as well as some wood rot here and there around garage & few windows. Are these VA appraiser red flags or no really. Its a pretty home just checking to see what a VA appraiser would ask seller to fix.

    • gloria
      Posted April 14, 2013 at 1:48 am | Permalink

      Regarding above question #27 from me, Gloria: I left out the age of roof is 25 years old and furnace is 25 years old. sorry it didnt come up in my question above.

    • Posted April 15, 2013 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Hi Gloria – Everything is subject to an appraiser’s judgment, but I’m noticing some red flags. The roof needs to have “reasonable future utility”, and it sounds like your roof (and the furnace, for that matter) isn’t going to live up to that standards. Rot is also going to be a problem. The broken seals, depending on the amount of moisture that leaks in, may or may not be an issue. Once the appraisal comes back, approach the sellers with the repairs that have been ordered. If the furnace and roof are in extremely bad shape, it’s likely that ANY buyer is going to demand that these items be repaired. So I don’t think the seller is going to be too shocked if you ask that these repairs be completed. Best of luck to you, Gloria!

  29. Justin shull
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    I am having my house appraised tomorrow. The house is 113 years old and has a old celler basement. We just got 5 in of rain in 2 days and got some water in the basement. Am I going to be s.o.l. Please help I am really worried. Don’t know if the appraiser takes the house age in to fact. thanks

    • Posted April 29, 2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Hi Justin – Thanks for checking in. VA appraisers don’t like wet basements, so the purchase might be made contingent on repair of the basement. Have you received the appraiser’s report yet? Keep us posted!

  30. Denise
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    I am in the process of preparing for home for sale in the next two years. We purchase our home with a va loan and have refinance still thru a va irrl loan. We did hire a professional home inspector when we purchased the home through a short sale.

    My issue now is that we are learning that as we are getting quotes for a deck which will extend from the house, we are learning that our step was built not by code. I can remember after we were in our house, the mortgage lender sent someone out to build the step in the back due to something that had to be completed.

    The guy came out, built the steps, came back to redo it and that was it. But now we’re finding out that it wasn’t even built to code and is actually a hazard. Who is at fault for this and was there someone who was suppose to come check what he put up? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Posted May 2, 2013 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      Hi Denise – Thanks for the question. The best way to ensure you’re meeting local codes before you start a home improvement project is to check with a local building inspector. Your local inspectors should be able to provide information (and permits, if necessary) that will ensure your project meets local code. If the project wasn’t built according to code, you might want to speak with an attorney about legal recourse against the builder. Best of luck to you, Denise.

  31. bob
    Posted May 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Short sale purchase with a VA loan. If the appraiser notes defects such as wood rot or roof damage (minor leak), how strongly does that impact the appraisal. The property is 10 acres in SC and easily worth twice the sale price (appraised in 2005 at nearly 4 times the sale price) – the land alone is worth more than the sale price. There are no safety issues with the house. No items from VC-1 of the appraisal form. Can this deal get done based on needing some repair?

    • Posted May 3, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Hi Bob – Thanks for the question. Those defects could be problematic. The roof has to be in good shape, so the leak could prompt the appraiser to require repair. Wood rot could also be a issue, depending on the severity of the rot (is it a 1″ spot or are several boards rotted through?). You might want to review a list of the VA’s Minimum Property Requirements here, and also review this blog post. But it’s likely that those types of property defects will need to be fixed before a VA loan can move forward. Keep us posted, and best of luck to you!

  32. Jason Goff
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    I just had a VA appraiser that came out and appraised a home that we’re trying to close on, but he decided that, for w/e reason, he didn’t want to include the garage in the house (400sfqt) which ended up making the house appraise out to 200k instead of what was predicted (excess of 235k).

    My mortgage lender has already filed a complaint with his supervisor as we have county records showing the recorded square footage vs his 1200 sqft, but I’m concerned that there’s no recourse. We’re arguing that because the garage is under air, i.e. heated & cooled, that it should also be included in the finished living area… there’s even a pass through to it.

    It is clear that he never went in the house, he just wandered around and made assumptions :-(

    • Posted May 6, 2013 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Hi Jason – Thanks for the question. The gross living space can only include areas that are “habitable.” That definition usually means that an area needs to be heated, cooled, plumbed, and appropriate for human habitation (meaning it’s never used to store cars). If the space is used as a living space, then it should be included in the gross square footage. But most garages don’t meet those standards, so they’re not included in the gross square footage. If you have a very unique garage that is only used as living space, you might have a case here. Talk to your agent and your lender, and follow their recommendations. Best of luck to you!

  33. Larry
    Posted May 18, 2013 at 4:02 am | Permalink

    Does the Seller or the Seller’s Agent have a right to view the VA Appraisal when it is the cause of a requested price reduction request?

    • Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Hi Larry – You can always request to see a copy of the appraisal. But the appraisal is the property of the buyer/lender, and you don’t have a “right” to view it. Let me know if you have any other questions, and thanks!

  34. Jeff
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I have a question, if we have a house appraised and if fails for some minor defects (siding pulled out in places) and it is fixed, does that require a second inspection?

    • Posted May 20, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jeff – Thanks for the question. Yes, if the seller agrees to make repairs to bring the home up to VA standards, the home is subject to a “compliance inspection.” Let us know if you have any other questions, and thanks again!

      • Jeff
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        One more question. I’m looking to buy a short sale property. We had an inspection done, and noticed for the first time that it does not have gutters. I looked around the neighborhood, and now I’m looking all the time, and most houses in the area do not have gutters. Being a short sale I don’t think it’s likely that the seller will make this repair. What are our options if it comes out on the appraisal (as I assume that it will), and why can’t we pay for it ourselves? Thanks for the help

        • Posted May 21, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

          Hi Jeff – The VA appraiser wants to make sure drainage isn’t going to be a problem. If a home is able to drain water away from the foundation WITHOUT gutters, the VA appraiser and your lender may not stipulate that gutters be present. But for a lot of homes, that’s a tough sell. That’s why most VA appraisers and lenders prefer gutters to be present and in good condition. If the purchase is made subject to gutter installation, the sellers will have to agree to the repair before the purchase can move forward. Let me know if you have any questions, and thanks again.

  35. Thomas Blair
    Posted May 21, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    HI, I am under contract for a forclosure that is owned by the secretary of Veterans affairs, and I am using my VA loan. The house is in great condition but there is some moisture and termite damage beneath the house in the crawl space. Also the foundations pillars are degraded to about 50%. The sellars that represent the VA insisted that I have an appraisal done before they would negotiate the $11000 in damages reported in the moisture and termite inspection. Is it possible that the Veterans association selling the house will actually make repairs on this house, or have I waisted my money on the appraisal? Thanks Thomas Blair

    • Posted May 22, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      Hi Thomas – Thanks for the question and your service. VA foreclosures are generally sold “as-is”, so it’s doubtful that the VA will make any repairs to the home. What advice is your real estate agent giving you?

  36. Casey
    Posted May 21, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    It is my understanding that a VA appraisal can take up to 10 days. In the event that an appraisal takes 24 days causing the buyers to potentially lose the contract on the home. What options are available to the buyer due to VA appraisal deficiencies?

    • Posted May 21, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Hi Casey – On average, VA appraisals are completed within 10 business days of being ordered. Should the appraisal take longer, check in with the lender. Perhaps there was an error or complication that can be cleared up to move the VA appraisal process along. Best of luck to you!

      • Casey
        Posted May 22, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink

        Thanks for your quick response Jessi. I should have been more clear…the appraiser took 24 days to get the appraisal to the lender.

  37. larry bruce
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    we bought this house in 2010 with a VA loan. It’s about 3100 square feet. Since my daughter and kids moved out in 2013 it is too big for my wife and I so we wanted to sell it. Another veteran wants to buy it with a VA loan. His VA appraiser now says he will not give credit for the almost 900 square foot suite downstairs because it does not have stairs from the inside of the house to the suite. The purpose of the suite,(my wife and I stayed in it for 3 years) is for privacy. Now they say we have to tear up our upstairs breakfast nook so we can have stairs that go downstairs. The new buyer does not want to do this. Why was it not a problem in 2010 when we bought the house. The suite has access from the upstairs deck and a ramp along the outside of the house. The suite has full bath,bedroom closet, kitchen sink, fridge etc. Why all of a sudden the change. The house was built in 1997 in medford oregon and this is the first time this has been brought up.Can you explain? Thank you

    • Posted June 9, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Hi Larry – Thanks for the question. The space downstairs should still add VALUE to the home, although it may not be considered in the gross square footage. But in the grand scheme of things, that shouldn’t really affect the loan from moving ahead. I need a bit more information here: Who exactly is demanding that you add stairs? Is it the lender? The appraiser? The buyer’s agent?

  38. Wanda A
    Posted May 30, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Hi there, we are selling out house and our buyers are going VA. We passed the home inspection and upon appraisal we were told two weeks after the appraisal, that we need to put flooring in our basement water closet. Our basement water closet consists of a an old toilet sitting in in a corner, not hooked up to anything. When relayed that info, they then came back and said we needed to scrape and paint our basement floor because it was chipped in a couple of places. Our house was built prior to 1978 but has no lead, we had the test when we moved in and again when our daughter was born; the floor paint they are referring to is latex on top of concrete, the previous owner painted it and left the paint bucket behind which, we have since tossed. Will failure to complete this terminate the loan? It has to be completed before we close, and it’s only a couple spots but they want ALL the paint scraped off the floor and it needs to be repainted. The basement is dry but when the floor is washed the paint will peel. Also, is it a the norm to have to strip all the paint off, or would a fresh coat suffice?

    • Posted June 9, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Hi Wanda – Thanks for the question. All depends on the appraisal report. The VA loan can’t move forward until the items noted by the VA appraiser are fixed. If the paint has been tested and found to be lead-free, I would definitely submit that report to the lender/appraiser. I doubt you’ll need to repaint if you can prove the paint is not lead-based. Best of luck to you, Wanda!

  39. justin
    Posted June 1, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    We had a VA appraisal and the appraiser mentioned that the barn roof may be an issue..it leaks some but its a 100 year old barn at the back of the property. Does this possible issue mean it needs repaired or tore down..or that it won’t have any value in the appraisal?

    • Posted June 9, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Hi Justin – Thanks for the question. You’ll have to check the appraisal report – what did the VA appraiser say about the barn in that report?

  40. Jim
    Posted June 6, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    AVA loan has been almost impossible for me. I have contracted on four houses, but the VA appraisal is always way lower than the seller will accept. I can’t compete in the market with a VA loan. It might be a good program, but if you can’t use it then it doesn’t do much good. I just wish I could do the appraisal sooner in the process so I don’t keep wasting money on inspections. I don’t think I’ll ever use VA again.

  41. Brent
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Glad to see your posted comments.Really helpful. We are looking at a house that has recently been placed in a flood plain. In checking with neighbors, the house has never been in a flood but has had seepage through cracks in the basement floor. Will this be an issue for the VA appraiser?

    • Posted June 12, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Hi Brent – Thanks for your question. This information comes straight from the VA: “The appraiser must notify VA and the lender if it appears that the property may not be eligible for VA appraisal because…there is an indication that it is subject to regular flooding, for whatever reason. Regular flooding would cause the property to not meet VA MPRs…”

      Since the property has never flooded, I doubt the fact that it exists in a flood plain will be a problem. But the wet basement probably WILL be an issue. The VA appraiser will probably notice the seepage, and ask for the leak to be fixed before the loan moves ahead. Depending on the source of the problem, that could be an easy or an expensive fix. If you’re working with a military-friendly agent, get their advice. If your agent has worked with VA financing before, they’ll have a good idea of how much of an issue the leakage is going to be. Best of luck to you, and let us know if you have any other questions.

  42. Tom
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    First of all I am a veteran so this has nothing to do with the men and women who defend our country. As a home seller I do everything in my power to not come to terms with someone using a VA Loan. It is basically a waste of the buyers and sellers time. As stated on the VA’s website, it is their goal to appraise the property below the selling price of the home and due to this the sell falls through. As Jim stated above,, the verteran’s can not compete in today’s housing market.

    • Posted June 12, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Hi Tom – Thanks for your service, and your comments. I’d definitely have to disagree with your statement that VA financing is a “waste of time”: nearly 202,000 VA purchase loans were backed in FY2012. That’s a hefty chunk of buyers and sellers who successfully navigated the VA loan process. And I’ve not seen the statement that you’ve referenced: “it is their goal to appraise the property below the selling price of the home” – I think there is a misunderstanding here somewhere. Thanks again for serving, and for sharing your thoughts.

    • CHAU
      Posted June 21, 2013 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Hi Tom, if the public could generalize that VA appraisals coming in low, then perhaps, it is the norm. We would hope that appraisers work independently and doing their diligent efforts in appraising properties of similar size and features sold within six month period to give us the best information possible rather than finding comps to support a predetermined value to fit the status quo, the norm so to speak. Why would it be difficult to reason with any VA appraisers? Perhaps, the service here is one way in the first place.

  43. Emily
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Jessi, I think it’s fantastic that you’re still responding to questions! So I’m hopeful that perhaps you can offer some advice. When we purchased our home in 2005, the sellers stated the roof was only 1 year old; the home inspector never mentioned any problems with it, nor did the VA inspector. In 2009 we started seeing leaks in the house, which the shoddy insurance company said was due to faulty construction (soft spots in the decking). Since a roof is supposed to last 15-20 years, do we have any recourse since one or both inspectors should have caught this?

    • Posted June 24, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Hi Emily – Thanks for the question. Neither the VA appraisal or the home inspection are guarantees that your roof is in perfect shape. The appraiser and home inspector should both note any obvious deficiencies, but perhaps there were no obvious deficiencies at the time. It’s tough to say. And a new roof is usually supposed to last 15-20 years, but you don’t have any recourse if it doesn’t (unless you purchased a home warranty). Wish I had better news for you!

  44. DG
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I agree with one of the previous posters (Tom) that VA appraisers seem tougher to please regarding home value.

    I’m selling a home and the VA appraisal came in over 15 thousand dollars less than the agreed price between us and the buyer. That’s a significant number since the listed price on the home was only $174,900. The home was completely refurbished, and there were no physical defects in the home noted in the appraisal and in two home inspections. The major rationale for the low valuation was “excessive concessions” from the seller to the buyer. In the case of our deal, we agreed to a higher than listed selling price in order for the buyer to cover the costs of leaving a lease and we had already agreed to covering closing costs (for any buyer). In our mind, those were both sales incentive tactics. The appraiser seemed to think they were related to the home value.

    I really don’t see the connection between the value of a home and the sales incentives. How does a sales incentive change the value of the land and structure? Those would seem to be independent to me. According to my realtor, the comps used on the home didn’t include one right across the street which was sold for the exact same price as ours was listed. Sure, comps have to actually be comparable, and the one across the street was comparable.

    I’m aware that I can ask for reconsideration, but honestly I’m not interested in the energy to do that, the buyer has already decided to move on. I’m not interested in selling this home below its market value as determined by VA standards. And now, unfortunately, the VA appraisal is still “legitimate” for a time (6 months??) and so I’m considering re-listing and excluding buyers who want to use a VA loan.

    This has been very frustrating for the buyer and seller and both of our agents.

    • Posted June 27, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Hi DG – Thanks for reaching out – I’ll do my best to address your concerns. First off, I don’t want you to get a “bad taste in your mouth” regarding the VA appraisal. With so many factors at play, it’s very difficult to say if there were any mistakes made with your appraisal. Perhaps a conventional appraisal would have resulted in the same value. Hard to say.

      How much would you have sold your property for – without any concessions? That’s the value an appraiser is looking for. The true “market value.” Your property isn’t “worth” more when you add concessions into the mix. That’s why appraisers are required to take “seller concessions” into consideration when calculating a market value. Hidden concessions can allow real estate to be overvalued. Appraisers are on the lookout for the true market value of a property. Lenders want to know exactly what a property is worth, without any concessions pumping up the value.

      Perhaps the appraiser did make a mistake. Perhaps other comps should have been used. It’s very difficult to say without more information. Regarding the comp across the street: Is it possible THAT seller also issued a large amount of seller concessions? If so, then it can’t really be used as an argument on your behalf.

      Any appraisal – conventional, FHA, or VA – would have taken seller concessions into account and could have resulted in the exact same appraisal value. So I’d hate to see you turn away future VA buyers for fear of another VA appraisal.

      In regards to your concern about the VA appraisal still being legitimate: The appraisal value is technically “valid” for 6 months (meaning the same buyer can pursue the purchase within 6 months of the initial appraisal without having to get a new appraisal). But if a new buyer comes along, the lender is going to order a new VA appraisal anyway. The initial appraisal is the property of the lender, and doesn’t “attach” to the property.

      Hopefully this information has been helpful. I do understand your frustration – it’s extremely disappointing to get results like these. But since this can happen with any sort of appraisal, please don’t steer clear of VA buyers in the future. Best of luck to you.

      • DG
        Posted July 2, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        Thanks Jessi, Appreciate your reply. I’m definitely learining here. The good news is that we have another offer on the house. It will be interesting to compare the appraisals.

      • DG
        Posted July 15, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        Hi Again Jessi – I just wanted to report back here to all about my situation.

        First, I appreciate this blog as a place to get good information and your dedicated responsiveness to people. Well done!

        As to my scenario, I stand by my first belief that our VA appraisal provided an incorrect valuation of our property, and that this incident certainly contributes to people’s overall impression that VA appraisals don’t value property in the same way that other appraisals do. I only have one data point to draw from, but I do feel that it is valid.

        As I stated in my first post, our VA appraisal came in at $163,500, and we were astounded how significantly lower it was from the agreed sale price. Our listing price was 174,900 and the sales agreement was $178,600 which accounted for $3,700 dollars in seller concessions. We agreed to the higher price to help the buyer out with a cash concession. Not considering the cash concession, the difference between the agreed price and the VA appraisal is still a whopping $12,100!

        When that deal fell through, we re-listed the home at the original listing price, and had another full-price offer that same evening. Both of our contracts were in less than 48 hours of listing, which suggests that the market is moving and that the listing price offered good value. The time from receipt of VA appraisal and receipt of the new appraisal was 3 weeks. Hardly time for any significant market movement, and we didn’t do any additional remodeling or improvements to the home during that time.

        We received the appraisal results for the second offer today, and the home appraised above the agreed price, and this sale will close. This wasn’t going to happen in the previous scenario with the VA appraisal.

        There are certainly some what-ifs and potential tangents that might be worth discussing to account for the differences. Even accounting for those, I don’t believe we were given a fair appraisal by the VA appraiser. This discrepancy supports peoples’ general feeling that VA appraisals undervalue property. This is unfortunate, and yes all situations are unique, but it appears true in our case.

        • Posted July 15, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

          Hi DG – Thanks again for sharing your story! It’s great to hear from folks who are going through the VA appraisal, and we appreciate you taking the time!

          Very interesting that the valuation came back without a hitch this time. Was that a conventional appraisal? Would be interesting to compare the two appraisals on a line-by-line basis and see where the values differed significantly. In any case, I’m very glad to hear that you’re moving forward with a sale! Congratulations to you, and thanks again for sharing your story!

  45. Ludmilla Silva
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    The VA appraiser wants us to paint the exterior wood siding of the house, since there are a few little spots of chipped paint. The problem is…it’s rainy season in Florida right now ! There’s a 30 to 60% chance of rain EVERY SINGLE DAY. We bought everything needed for the paint job and it wasn’t cheap. It has been raining everyday and we are supposed to close soon. We have asked the VA appraiser to forgive this and let us paint when the rainy season ends, but he didn’t allow us to. We feel helpless. Any suggestions ?

    • Posted July 1, 2013 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      Hi Ludmilla – Thanks for the question. Repairs are typically granted an extension in this situation, but that is typically done by the LENDER, not the appraiser. Get your agent to speak to the lender. A lender should be able to escrow repair funds and allow the loan to go through. Keep us posted!

      • Ludmilla Silva
        Posted July 2, 2013 at 6:10 am | Permalink

        Thanks, Jessi ! We talked to the lender directly and he told us we have to do the repairs. Our contract on the house goes until July 12th, so we have to close before then. We did half of the prepping on the house and will continue tomorrow since the rain chances will diminish over mid week through the weekend. Cross your fingers ! Thanks !

  46. Raquel Reyes
    Posted July 2, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    We just had a home inspection and were told that the house has aluminum wiring…. will this not pass VA inspection? This is an REO but ready to move in! So are we out of luck?

    • Posted July 3, 2013 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Hi Raquel – To the best of my knowledge, there are no “hard and fast” rules against aluminum wiring. But it’s possible aluminum wiring could be against building code in your area. Get your agent’s advice in this situation. Have your agent check with the local building authority to see if the wiring will meet local code. If it does, then the wiring will probably be okay in terms of the VA appraisal, unless the appraiser feels that the wiring presents a safety threat. Some buyers run into problems with aluminum wiring when it comes to insurance: some insurance companies refuse to issue policies on homes with aluminum wiring. Again, check with your agent, and see what he/she recommends. Thanks!

  47. Michelle
    Posted July 3, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    We are in the process of bidding on a home using my VA loan for the first time. Since the housing market is so competitive now, we have to outbid other buyers to get our offer accepted, I am afraid this will affect the VA appraisal because we bid over $10k the listing price already. How does someone even get to use the VA loan with this type of market? It seems like this is the best time to buy but not with a VA loan. This home we really really want is in good condition but I am just afraid it will appraise for less. If so what kind of things can I say that will add more value to the home? Home has new hardwood floors, noise reduction windows as it’s next to a major freeway, remodeled kitchen, new faucets. Do any of this get considered when appraising the home? Also if property is on a raised foundation, what kind of things do they look for?

    • Posted July 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Hi Michelle – Thanks for the question. The appraisal value (whether it’s VA, conventional, or FHA) is based on the current “market value.” If other comparable sales in the area support your offer, then you don’t have anything to worry about. The condition of the home and any noticeable advantages can certain add value to the home. If you have an agreeable seller / seller’s agent, you might ask them to prepare a list of updates / perks / value-adding features that can be found in this particular home. Leave the list with the appraiser – that information can be very helpful! Let us know if you have any other questions, and thanks again!

  48. Sue
    Posted July 9, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    We are currently trying to buy a short sale home that needs a lot of work, mostly cosmetic using my husbands VA benefits. Our plan after closing was to make all the cosmetic repairs before we actually move in (approx. 30 days…new paint throughout whole hose, new flooring, re-tiling showers). The VA appraiser stated that the carpet needs to be replaced, which we already knew because it is really filthy. Our plan was to immediately rip up the carpet after closing and clean the cement before laying down laminate flooring. We are told by our lender that he can do a “fund around” and that the new carpet needs to be put down within 2 days of closing and that he will have the appraiser out for a re-inspection within those 2 days. I have tried doing research on this to see if there is a work around to this condition and I find conflicting info. Is it the VA appraiser that we should try to make understand that we are doing a complete renovation before moving in? We plan on staying in our current house until the house is move in ready. Or is it the lenders underwriters making this condition because the appraiser had the recommendation on his report? And if so, do you have any advice on how we can make them understand that we are not going to move in until the new flooring is in, but that we need more than 2 days? Appreciate any advice you can give.

    • Posted July 10, 2013 at 6:23 am | Permalink

      Hi Sue – Thanks for reaching out. It sounds like you’re lender is being very accommodating – that’s great to hear! I’ll try to explain this simply: the LENDER puts up the funds for the loan. In order to receive VA backing on a portion of the loan, the lender must ensure the home meets VA guidelines. The lender can choose to let you make repairs AFTER closing. But this doesn’t happen very often, because a lender likes to know everything is in order BEFORE the loan closes. A lender doesn’t usually want the headache of following up and making sure repairs are completed as requested. And if the repairs aren’t completed, the lender risks losing the VA backing on the loan.

      The VA appraiser’s job is to report all information to the lender. The appraiser doesn’t actually hold anyone responsible – they’re just the “information gatherer.” The lender and underwriters decide how to proceed. Do they want to allow the loan to close, even if the home isn’t in VA-ready condition? Or would they rather just deny the loan? So it’s the LENDER you need to be working with in this situation. They’re actually being very helpful in this situation, so I’d do my best to meet their conditions. They’re putting their own funds at risk to accommodate your needs, which many lenders aren’t willing to do. Have a thorough conversation with your loan officer, and make sure you’re all on the same page regarding the requirements. Hope this information is helpful – best to you!

      • Sue
        Posted July 11, 2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        Thank you for your helpful response!

  49. james p keyser
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    HI.Sue My son is in the process of selling his house V.A.one of 3 bed rooms has no closed will the appraiser call this a bed room or or not.

    • Posted July 12, 2013 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      Hi James – Thanks for the question. A room doesn’t need to have a closet to be called a bedroom. Let us know if you have any other questions, and thanks!

  50. Arlene
    Posted July 12, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    we are in the process of refinancing our home with a VA loan. The appraiser appraised our house $15,000 less then it apprasied at when we bought the home three years ago in the middle of the recession. He only used on comp that was sold back in July of 20ll. It was a house in our development but was obviously a home in need of many repairs and not in a good location with ghetto apts in back of it. It had been on the market for 369 days before it sold. There have been other homes that have sold in our development more recently but the appraiser did not use those houses for a comp. I don’t understand how a house can appraise for $15,000 less today when the market has picked up again and prices have gone up. Our realtor said that we could ask $265,000 today for our house and it would sell in less than 30 days. I feel like this appraiser didn’t do his job, it is costing us money now to complete the loan and they are still expecting us to pay them the $400 for the appraisal. Who do I complain to and can I take them to small claims court?

    • Posted July 15, 2013 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      Hi Arlene – Thanks for reaching out. I don’t believe you can take an appraiser to small claims court, unless they’ve intentionally done something wrong. Just because your home appraises for less than you would like doesn’t mean the appraiser is incorrect. Talk to your real estate agent and see if other comps could be submitted for a second appraisal (known as a “Reconsideration of Value“). Best of luck to you!

    • DG
      Posted July 15, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Arlene – your comment echoes many I’ve seen and it’s really frustrating!! I just posted above (#44) what happened in our case…our appraisal was almost as far “off” in $$ as yours was. We let the offer supported by the (low) VA appraisal go, and re-listed. We got another full-price offer right away, and another appraisal (non-VA) and the second appraisal was above the listing/agreed price. We will close soon.

      I agree that VA apprasials are not keeping up with a heated-up market.

      I’m told that part of the issue is that if VA appraisers repeatedly value homes too high (as seen by underwriters) they risk losing their VA accreditation.

  51. Dustin
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been in the escrow now for about 7 days and have just about had it with a VA appraiser in the SF Bay Area. We ordered in the appraisal and before he came out to the house, while he was making arraignments to see the house, he had told the listing agent that there was no way the house was coming in at the asking price. This house was appraised previously 18 Days ago by an FHA appraiser at $438k, and this VA guy said we would be lucky to even get 400k. Note, he hadn’t looked at the house, just the comps. Well I did too, and the comparables where this, 3 homes, same bedroom bath, almost identical sq. ft. went from 360-390k but were in all original 1950′s style, no upgrades at all. The one I offered was completely reno’d top to bottom, inside and out, added AC/Securtiy, included appliances, I mean, it was great and properly priced. So we tried getting a new VA appraiser, didn’t work. Went to a different lender, didn’t work, guess he’s the only one who handles the Bay Area, ridiculous. So now I’m off to get an FHA loan instead of VA. So much for my service.

  52. Rachel
    Posted July 23, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Are VA appraisals buyer specific or property specific? Selling a property. First Buyer was going VA- appraisal had already been completed but Buyer ended up not qualifying for their loan. A second Buyer (also going VA)is now attempting to purchase. Although the appraisal is only 2 months old, we are being told that it can not be used as they are buyer specific, NOT property specific like they are with FHA loans.

    • Rachel
      Posted July 23, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      ….and I just found my answer in the thread. Guess we are ordering another appraisal. :)

  53. Lee Jandreau
    Posted July 31, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    I have been in a home that I purchased through a VA loan for a little over a year. I never got to meet the inspector, but I am terribly disappointed!!!! I am not in construction, but I know to fix the problems is going to be costly. I think that a VA or any home inspector should have caught at least one of the problems with this home. I don’t know how I am going to get the house right!!!

  54. Lee Jandreau
    Posted July 31, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    No I didn’t hire a home inspector. I was told that VA home inspector was looking at the property. The inspector had the last owners do some things like putting more ballast in the stair railing. I was told nothing about the roof leaking, the hot water heater leaking, the ac unit being chewed by the previous owners pet goat,the foundation caving in. I will hire a home inspector next time if I don’t have to file bankruptcy first….thanks……!

  55. sandy
    Posted August 13, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Generally speaking, would a VA appraiser go onto a roofto look at it? During my home buying process, we had an inspection done. However the inspector stated in the paperwork he could not go on the roof due to snow. This was passed fine through our lender, and the VA. However, we found out that not only do we have a damaged roof, that it has been this way since at least July 2012 and we purchased our home February 2013

    • Posted August 14, 2013 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Hi Sandy – Thanks for reaching out. The VA appraiser is NOT required to go onto the roof during the appraisal. But a good home inspector generally will take a close look at the roof. Did you purchase a professional home inspection prior to closing? Thanks again!

  56. Dan
    Posted August 14, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    We are in the final stages of completing our home sales through a VA loan. It has been nothing but a nightmare throughout the procedure. I feel sorry for the home buyers. We were suppose to close on July 29. It is now August 14 and we hope to close today or tomorrow. The buyers have been in a hotel for three weeks waiting to move in. The appraisal came in 30,000.00 below the offer on the house. My house is a 4000 sq.ft., 6 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath, 4 car garage basement home. It came in at 113.00 per sq. ft. The homes that are small around our area have sold for 125.00 – 175.00 per sq. ft. There were no comps like mine in the area. The VA appraiser had to no clue what to do. My agent provided him with similar comps, but he did not use them. Unfortunately due to my bad experience with a VA loan I will not sell my home through a VA loan again. The buyers paid the extra 30,000.00 because they wanted the home so bad. They are still getting my home for 125.00 per sq. ft. A smoking deal.

  57. Joe Pena
    Posted August 15, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Does Va require an inground pool to be functional or will be VA be satisfied if pool is
    covered and secure-there is a separate fence around pool as additional security. Pool is in overall fair condition but empty and seller doesn’t want to do any repairs to pool. Plus the house should appraise for the contract sales price without factoring in the pool.

    • Posted August 20, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Hi Joe – Different areas have different rules. Generally speaking, if the pool is safely covered and secure, then it doesn’t need to be functional. Always consult with your real estate agent and Regional VA Loan Center for the best and most accurate information. If the pool is non-functioning, it won’t add any value to the home. So yes, the home needs to appraise for the loan price without the pool. Let us know if you have any other questions, and thanks!

  58. Michelle
    Posted August 21, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jessie,

    I have a question on the VA appraisal system. We got an appraisal for a proposed property and the appraised amount is exactly the same as our offered amount, we offered more than the listing price. Is this common? Also, in the inspection there was a major problem with the electrical panel and other issues with the electrical system but nothing in the appraisal was documented about the electrical. Is this something that the appraiser would even look at? Also, another odd thing we noticed was the water heater was not strapped securely based on the inspection by the licensed inspector but in the appraisal, it said it was secure.

    • Posted August 22, 2013 at 6:34 am | Permalink

      Hi Michelle – Thanks for reaching out. I wouldn’t say the appraisal often comes in at the exact purchase price (especially if you’re offering more than the list price), but it does happen. You must be lucky! Appraisers and inspectors often do have differences in opinion, which could be a factor here. The electrical panel is usually only examined for SAFETY by an appraiser, so if there are no obvious safety issues, the appraiser probably won’t note any repairs. Consult with your agent about the repairs: Is this something you need/want to have the seller repair prior to close? If so, renegotiate the contract to have the repairs completed OR for a credit so that you can get the repairs completed yourself (after closing). Let us know if you have any other questions, and have a great day!

  59. Shannon
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    This is an excellent thread. My husband and I are in the process of purchasing a home with his VA loan benefits. We just had a personal inspection done, there are no major issues, the side door is rusted and needs to be replaced and the basement windows are broken and need replacing. We asked our inspector for any insight on what he may think would hold up the appraisal, so were getting things done. The home was originally listed at 250,00.. Was lowered several times to 228, where we made an offer and were getting it for 224. On the listing it says its been appraised at 222. We’re nervous to get a lower appraisal after all these comments. The house is in an unreal neighborhood and the comparables are higher than the house were purchasing. Is there anything we can do?

    • Posted September 3, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Hi Shannon – Thanks for reaching out. At this point, there’s not much you can do until you get the appraisal back. It sounds like you’re working with an agreeable seller, so that’s an excellent starting point! VA appraisers are very skilled at their jobs, and they’ll do as fair and accurate of an appraisal as possible. But should the appraisal value come back low, you’ll either need to negotiate the purchase price down, walk away from the purchase, or file a “Reconsideration of Value” (ROV). The ROV is used to present comps that weren’t used in the initial appraisal and that support a higher appraisal value. You can read more about that process in this blog post: “How to File a Reconsideration of Value“. Keep us posted, and let us know if you have any other questions!

  60. JP
    Posted September 14, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    put a bid on a home hoping to finance thru VA in Massachusetts. Has a detached barn that has a leaky roof. I was told that the VA would most likely NOT approve the loan because of the leaky roof on the barn (we have no animals). This is our dream house and we are worried that a detached barn could derail the purchase

    • Posted September 17, 2013 at 6:27 am | Permalink

      Hi JP – Thanks for reaching out. To the best of my knowledge, there’s no “black and white” rule regarding the roof/condition of outbuildings. It’s more of a judgment call on the part of the appraiser. If the appraiser feels the barn is a safety hazard due to a “dangerous” roof, they could call for repair. I doubt the appraiser would call for repair simply because the roof is leaky, but hey, anything is possible. I would reach out to two different contacts regarding this situation: 1) Your lender and 2) Your VA Regional Loan Center. Both should be able to give you sound advice as you move forward.

  61. Randy
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    I am the listing agent representing my seller with the sell of their home. The buyers loan is VA and we just received back the appraisal which came in 25,000 under the contracted price. I am an experienced agent in the area and know the comps well. This appraisal is junk and I am in the process of challenging it. From my understanding I need to submit a reconsideration of value through the appropriate channel. My questions to you are:

    1.) Can we simply hire another licensed appraiser to perform their own appraisal on the property and send that report as the Reconsideration of Value? NOTE: To be clear, I completely understand that this new appraisal report cannot and will not be used for the buyer’s purchase as that would have to go through the appraisal management co. But instead of me (just another realtor butting heads with another appraiser over value) submitting in a ROV which I created, send in a new appraisal report as I am confident that would hold a lot more weight?

    2.) Where can I find the latest VA guidelines reflecting parameters/criteria for what can be considered a “comparable” property (ie: comps must be no more than 300 sf larger or smaller than subject, no more than 5 years newer or older than subject, only to include sales within the past 90 days, etc…)?

    I look forward to hearing from you Jessi – thank you in advance,

    • Posted September 26, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      Hi Randy – Thanks for reaching out! I see that you’re in TX, so I’ve sent the link for the Houston VA Regional Loan Center’s Appraiser Guide (you should be able to find the answer to your second question here): http://www.vba.va.gov/ro/houston/lgy/Documents/FEE%20APPR%20TRNG%20GUIDE%20Aug2008.pdf

      Now I’m not entirely sure if you can send in a new appraisal along with your ROV. I don’t THINK there’s any reason you couldn’t, and I know you understand that the appraisal can’t be used for the purchase. You might want to contact your Houston Regional Loan Center just to ask that question (they’re usually very willing to answer questions!): (713) 383-1855.

      Excellent questions – keep us posted on your results!

  62. Matt Acuff
    Posted September 26, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Do apprasiers put a dollar value on the home, or just see if it meets minimum requierments? If they do put a dollar amount on the home is this information made available to the buyer and can it be used in negotiations??

    • Posted September 26, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Hi Matt – Thanks for reaching out. Yes, part of the appraiser’s duty is to set an “appraised value” on the home that reflects the current market value. A VA loan can’t be issued for more than the appraised value. The buyer is alerted to the appraised value, and can certainly use that information during negotiations. If you have any other questions, just let us know! Thanks again!

  63. Laurenmazz
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Hi,
    We are in the final stage of buying our home with the VA loan. The appraiser noted that we had to install at least one handrail on a set of outside, stone steps. This would be completely understandable in most circumstances, but these steps are more of a landscaping feature rather than a feature of the home: they literally lead to no where. They are located at the back of the driveway and lead to different levels of the yard, which is easily accessible by simply walking on the lawn, not neceessarily by using the steps. They are in no way attached to the house, nor do they provide the only access to any part of the yard or any outbuildings. They are merely decorative. At the appraiser’s suggestion, we consulted with the local towns’s building code department and they have put in writing that this is not a safety issue, and that they see no reason this needs to be done. I looked over the MPR and see nothing that relates to this. What do you think? I have pictures of the stairs i can share with you. I love the decorative stone work on this house and hate the thought of risking it for no reason whatsoever.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted October 7, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Hi Lauren,
      You will have to work this out with the SAR/appraiser. Talk with your loan officer to see if you can submit the building code letter as proof that it’s not a code issue. Generally the MPRs are in place to make sure the home is safe, sanitary and marketable. See what suggestions your loan officer has, but I’d definately try to submit the letter. Alternatively, if you are in love with the house and you can’t get the requirement waived, start getting some estimates on how much it would cost to get a handrail installed, then weigh whether the home is worth the cost.
      Samantha

  64. Terri
    Posted October 12, 2013 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    Hi, We are almost ready to close on a VA home purchase. Our appraiser called the lender saying he was appraising the home at the contract price, but when his report finally came in (took two weeks before sending the report!) it was $9000 under. I was not too concerned about the value he listed as much as I was concerned with the errors on the report. He said it had central AC {when there is no AC in this 2350 sq ft home) he also said it had screens when there are no screens on any windows or doors of the two story home. He said no repairs needed when the hot water in master bath sink does not turn on or the cold water in the downstairs bathroom does not turn on. There were quite a few other errors/concerns I had with his report, but these were my main concerns. Our realtor sent in a request to dispute it, listing some of the errors, but the only thing he corrected was that it could be considered a 4 bedroom and not solely a 3 bedroom like he originally reported and he changed the price to our contract price. And it took another 4 days to get the revised report. We are suppose to close in 5 days, so our realtor talked with the seller who agreed to give us $2000 to do some of the repairs, but I am so upset with the appraiser to have inaccurate information on his report and how he would not request the home to have working plumbing in the bathrooms. Is there any other way I can fight this? I want to close on time to be settled in our new home before my husband returns from a very long deployment.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted October 14, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Hi Terri,
      I think your best bet here is to work with the sellers to negotiate any remaining issues. If the appraiser revises his report and lists those items as necessary repairs, they will likely have to be completed prior to closing, which could push back your closing date. Talk with your agent and loan officer to see what they suggest as well, but at this point in time, I think your best option is to get some estimates and go to the seller regarding the repairs.
      Samantha

5 Trackbacks

  1. [...] appraisal fees [...]

  2. [...] divide them. You’ll get an estimate of your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which is one of the factors lenders will consider. The VA wants to see a DTI ratio no greater than 41 percent, although it’s possible to exceed [...]

  3. [...] VA appraisal process is two-pronged and involves both the valuation and a broad assessment of certain property [...]

  4. [...] The VA and the lender are mostly concerned with making sure you can afford the new mortgage payment. Unlike on a Streamline, the VA mandates that borrowers pursuing a cash-out refinance loan submit to the standard credit and underwriting process. The loan processing for a cash-out refinance is basically identical to the original VA purchase loan, from the income verification and debt-to-income ratio to a home appraisal. [...]

  5. [...] required step along the path to VA loan approval, the VA appraisal takes place shortly after contract acceptance. The appraisal helps lenders calculate a home’s [...]

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Samantha Reeves

Samantha Reeves maintains the Veterans United Realty blog for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation's leading VA-approved lender. As a prior loan officer, Samantha brings her vast experience dealing with the VA home loan all the way from initial application, to loan funding. She knows how the system works and brings you information and tips on how to make your VA home loan transaction go as smoothly as possible.


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