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Inspections and appraisals don't act as guarantees that the home you are buying is completely free of defects. Buyers should examine the home themselves.

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VA Loan Articles

News, updates, and explanations to keep you informed.

Home Appraisals and Inspections for Your VA Loan

When you apply for a VA mortgage, an appraisal/inspection of the home is a common requirement. In these cases, before your VA home loan can be finalized, both the VA and the buyer should know about the specific condition of the property whether it's a brand new home or one that's stood the test of time for many years.

These inspections or appraisals do provide a valuable service, but they don't act as a guarantee that the home is completely free of defects. As the buyer, you owe it to yourself to completely examine the property yourself before you commit to your VA mortgage. If a VA fee appraiser comes to an existing home and certifies it so you can move forward with your VA guaranteed home loan, there are plenty of areas you'll need to inspect yourself. Did you know a fee appraiser doesn't necessarily state whether the plumbing works properly or perform a roof inspection? Those are just two of the areas where "hidden" problems could be lurking.

In addition to less obvious problems, a VA fee appraiser isn't obligated to recommend cosmetic repairs, and while the appraiser may be a trained observer, it's not possible to find every potential problem. You'll need to provide your own input on the condition of the property and make sure it's up to your standards before signing the VA loan agreement. If it's not, you'll need to negotiate further before agreeing to purchase the property.

When it comes to homes that are under construction or custom built as part of your VA mortgage agreement, there are slightly different issues and methods of recourse. For construction defects in homes that were given a VA-directed fee compliance inspection (carried out by a VA or FHA/HUD-assigned inspector) the government has a complaint system for home buyers. This system is meant specifically for buyers who have failed to get redress on their complaints from the builders, so you should try to get the builders to correct the problem before resorting to filing a complaint with the VA.

It's important to note this complaint system is meant for construction defects the VA determines were caused by the builders, who would then be obligated under VA regulations to repair or fix them. The VA cannot force compliance, meaning the builders could (in theory) walk away from the project with the defects still in place. But in cases like these, the VA revokes that construction company's right to do business with the VA, so the incentive to work with the buyer and the government is strong.

In some cases the buyer may have a complaint about the construction of the home they're purchasing with a VA home loan which the VA determines still falls within the government's minimum standards. These cases are not ideal, but if the VA determines the minimum standard has been met, the issue is settled from the government's point of view. In addition to this, you have a limited time to file your complaint--usually in the first year you own the new home.