Are you wondering how your VA appraiser will feel about exposed wires, a sparking fuse box or knob-and-tube wiring?
Ponder no more. Let’s talk about the electrical portion of the VA appraisal.
The VA issues a list of Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs) to every VA appraiser. Appraisers must ensure that properties meet or exceed MPR standards to qualify for VA financing.
MPRs are fairly vague when it comes to electrical requirements. The VA simply states that “each unit must have electricity for lighting and for necessary equipment,” and that mechanical systems “be safe to operate.”
So what the heck does that mean?
The electrical portion of the VA appraisal comes down to two key factors: local building codes and safety. As long as the home’s electrical system is acceptable to the local building authority, it’s acceptable to the VA.
In rural spots or other areas without building codes, the VA asks its appraisers to defer to the National Fire Protection Association’s Electrical Code Requirements.
The VA understands that appraisers are not skilled electricians. And that’s okay. VA appraisers are asked to evaluate a home’s electrical system as well as they can, with a special focus on safety issues.
So a smoking fuse or exposed wire will definitely cause a problem. Less obvious issues will probably prompt the appraiser to call for a professional electrical inspection.
In our work with VA appraisers, we see several commonly-mentioned electrical problems. But remember, these issues may not be contrary to code in your area. Grab a copy of your local building code, and keep these factors in mind:
Appraisers are fond of saying, “We’re appraisers, not electricians.” Appraisers aren’t required to identify every potential problem. Rather, appraisers keep a watchful eye over the general safety of the property. If something isn’t an obvious safety threat, it’s probably not going to require repair.
Just because your VA appraiser won’t order a repair, that doesn’t mean a repair isn’t necessary. A plethora of electrical dangers could be lurking just below the surface. That’s why a professional home inspection is absolutely critical. Professional home inspectors will take a thorough look at the home’s electrical system, and alert potential buyers to the perils ahead.
Always, always get a professional home inspection before buying a home!