Homes purchased using an FHA mortgage must comply with certain safety standards. It can be helpful to know what these are ahead of time. If you are a buyer or seller and know that a home may have issues, getting them resolved before the lender orders an appraisal can avoid closing delays. Here are some property condition requirements for FHA mortgages that commonly arise in Massachusetts real estate transactions.
1 – Paint Condition
FHA is very particular about paint condition. Although FHA does not require properties to be tested for lead paint, they are concerned about any surfaces that may contain peeling paint. This includes interior and exterior surfaces such as walls, windows, doors, and siding. It’s a common perception that appraisers will only take issue with painted surfaces 4 feet or lower, but in actuality, most appraisers will highlight any peeling paint within a property.
2 – Properly Working Plumbing Fixtures
All plumbing within a home must be in proper working condition to avoid potential mold issues. There should not be any leaks or non-functioning fixtures such as faucets. Signs of old leaks may be noted as well. If recently plumbing repairs were completed, be sure to also address any damaged areas (such as drywall) nearby, to avoid it being flagged by an appraiser.
3. Safe Walkways and Stairways
Another area that appraisers pay particular attention to are walkways and stairways. For instance, interior and exterior stairs must have handrails. Porches must have railings at the proper height and distance to prevent a child from falling through them (refer to local building codes for specific guidelines). Any safety issues around these areas will be noted by an appraiser and must be resolved before an FHA mortgage will be approved to purchase a property.
4 – Broken Windows
Windows are critical for home safety. They prevent people (particularly children) from falling out, they keep pests from entering a home, and they assist with heating and cooling. Thus, one of the property condition requirements for FHA mortgages is to have intact windows and window panes. Broken glass or even cracks in windows will be noted by appraisers.
Additional Property Condition Requirements for FHA Mortgages
The above are just a few property condition requirements for FHA mortgages. Essentially, FHA requires homes to be free from hazards and safe to access and live in. What it deems as unsafe can go far beyond the examples shown above. Contact your lender for a complete and updated list of current requirements for FHA mortgages.