HOW DOES YOUR HOME MEASURE UP?
Following is a partial listing of items that are checked by real
estate appraisers during an inspection. Most of these items relate to homes that are
financed by FHA but generally apply to homes financed by other institutions as well. If
you are the seller of the property, be prepared to correct any deficiencies noted from the
appraiser's inspection. From a buyers perspective, the appraiser's inspection is
intended to insure the home you purchase meets minimum physical requirements set forth by
building codes and various financial institutions.
Smoke detectors are required.
Windows - 44" floor to sill height required, 5.7 sq. ft. net free
window opening, minimum net free vertical opening not less than 24 inches, minimum net
free horizontal opening not less than 20 inches. Example: 24" high x 34.20" wide
= 5.7 sq. ft. 20" wide x 41.04" high = 5.7 sq. ft. Windows for existing
construction must provide safe egress but if they met code at the time of construction,
they are suitable.
Check obvious damaged items such as interior paint, carpet, caulking
around bathtub, paint, non-working appliances and lights. These items will most likely be
required to be repaired or replaced.
Ceiling height - Must average 7-foot minimum. If basement averages below
7-foot minimum, value as unfinished living area.
Stairs - 6 foot 8 inch head height, 3-foot minimum width, check for
steepness. Maximum rise is 8.25 inches, minimum run or tread is 9.0 inches.
Solid core (20 minute door) between garage and house with self-closer.
One-hour fire rating between garage and house common wall (taped
5/8-sheet rock and 20 minute door).
Pressure-relief value on furnace not more than 2 feet or less than 6
inches from floor pointed downward.
Point of combustion on furnace must be 18 inches off floor when furnace
is in the garage. Inside house does not matter.
Vapor barrier on crawl space required only for new construction or if
moisture is noted. If crawl space is less than 18 inches home is not suitable for FHA
Crawl space ventilation is required.
Attic to be inspected for adequate ventilation, presence of frost or
Foam insulation in crawl space and attic is to be covered with approved
material where entry is made for service of utilities only.
Check for interior signs of structural problems such as doors and windows
that will not open or close easily, cracked windows, major cracks in finished sheet rock
surfaces, uneven floors and walls, water stains on ceilings, and like items.
home and site:
Check siding, exterior finish and roofing for pealing paint, roofing in
poor condition, gutters that are damaged.
Earth-to-wood contact. Untreated wood must be 6 inches or more from
earth. Any earth-to-wood contact must be corrected so as not to interrupt drainage away
from the house. Positive drainage away from the house is essential to keep water from
entering the house.
Check for surface contamination around filler pipe for buried heating
Deck foundations - no untreated wood in contact with earth. Deck
foundations must be below frost line of 42" and preferably concrete.
Handrails on decks must be sturdy, no requirements for existing homes
Gradient of driveway access - check to see if access driveway provides
two wheel and proper landing areas are located at top and bottom of hill. Maximum
acceptable grade is 14%.
100-foot separation between well and septic.
Well production (5 GPM for proposed construction, 3 GPM for existing).
Check for signs of structural problems that may call for an engineer's
report. Obvious signs include walls out of plumb, excess moisture gathering at eaves,
cracked foundation walls, improperly installed all-weather wood foundations, doors and
windows that will not open or close, cracked windows, and like items.