Posted to: For Buyers

Mortgage Monday: New FHA Inspection Requirements

Attention FHA buyers.  It seems there are new changes to FHA Inspection Requirements, meaning if you are a buyer who is using an FHA loan for financing, these changes will affect you.  This information is from an email from Tirso De Ubago of Castle Rock Inspections.

The New FHA Inspection Requirements

With the FHA loans becoming extremely mainstream due to the recent mortgage crisis, I thought I would share what they are looking for in their required Home Inspection.  If you are selling or considering selling you will want to make sure the home can meet these requirements.  Otherwise… you may be eliminating a large portion of the Buyers in the market.

FHA INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS:

ELECTRICAL

A single main shut-off breaker is required. If more than one breaker must be tripped to disconnect the power, a new service panel is required. The main service must be at least 100 amp. If it is less, a new service is required. NOTE: These electrical requirements eliminate most pre-1960 homes that have not had an electrical upgrade. If FHA is the only financing option, then a 203K program should be considered to finance the improvement.

HEATING

The heating and cooling system must have at least 2 years of remaining life. Wood stoves or solar heating are not acceptable as the sole heat source. NOTE: These heating requirements may eliminate most pre-1960 homes that have not had a heating system upgrade. If FHA is the only financing option, then a 203K program should be considered to finance the improvement.

HOT WATER HEATER

MUST have an installed Temperature Relief Valve (TRP) valve. The TRP must have a discharge line that drains to the outside of the home. It cannot be reduced in size from the valve outlet. In the case of a basement installation with a drain the discharge line must exhaust 6″ to 24″ from the floor. NOTE: The Temperature Relief Valve (TRP) valve upgrade is usually under $50 for the valve plus installation. Proper Water Heater Straps should be installed with FHA compliance and or with proper local jurisdiction requirements.

LEAD-BASED PAINT

All properties built prior to 1978 should be considered as target housing for lead-based paint hazards. Defective peeling/flaking paint on any interior or exterior surface must be identified and repaired following the EPA guidelines.

SEPTIC SYSTEMS

Homes with septic systems are acceptable. Evidence of septic tank pumping within the last 5 years is required.

WINDOWS FOR SLEEPING ROOMS

Escape or rescue windows shall have a minimum net clear openable area of 5.7 square feet. The minimum net clear openable height is 24″ and width is 20″. The maximum escape window sill height is 44″. NOTE: These window egress requirements may eliminate most pre-1960 homes that have not had a window upgrade. Small basement windows can be enlarged and upgraded. It has been my experience that most FHA Appraisers overlook this requirement unless the windows are inoperable or are set into an underground basement with 60″ plus sill height. If FHA is the only financing option, then a 203K program should be considered to finance the improvement.

Tirso De Ubago, cio of Castle Rock Inpections.com is a FHA Certified Compliant Inspector (203k) and a Member in good standing with the American Society of Home Inspections (ASHI) and California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) in the San Francisco Bay Area, He can be reached at  925-518-1124  or 1-800-995-8242  for your Sellers or Buyers in need of a FHA 203K and Home Inspection that require FHA Compliance Inspections during the Home buying process as well as FHA Underwriters final inspections.

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