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FHA Minimum Property Requirements (Part Two)

In our last blog post we discussed FHA minimum property requirements. Any home a buyer wants to make a serious offer on with an FHA insured loan must live up to the FHA’s minimum property standards or the loan cannot be approved.

That doesn’t mean the home must be 100% in compliance when the appraiser comes to review the property, but it does mean that any deficiencies found must be corrected prior to the loan being closed upon.

The FHA has three basic principles that guide an FHA appraiser when examining the home–it must be safe, sound, and secure. There are specific requirements in each area. For example, a home must not have stairways that aren’t equipped with hand rails, there must be no exposed wiring in the home, and the roof must have two years of life left in it at a minimum.

A leaking roof must be repaired or replaced according to the FHA assigned appraiser’s recommendations, or the loan could not be approved.

Of what FHA appraisers sometimes call “The Three S’s”, safety, soundness, and security, it’s the final “S” that creates the most confusion among buyers. It’s easy to assume that “security” refers to a home that is safe from storms and from break-ins, but what “security” really stands for in this case is the security of the loan itself.

According to the FHA, “security refers to risk to

9 Responses to FHA Minimum Property Requirements (Part Two)

  1. Bill says:

    Would a house with a strong smoke odor (cigars, cigarettes) meet the MPR of FHA?

    Would a house with stains on a wall that look like mold or mildew meet the MPR?

    Would a house without GFCI outlets in wet areas meet MPR?

    Would a house with no electrical outlets in the bathroom meet MPR?

    • Joe Wallace says:

      Hi Bill, thanks for asking. Unfortunately, there’s no way to answer some of these questions because if the home does not meet local code compliance standards (which the FHA does not keep track of–it defers to the local authority in such matters) it may not pass the appraisal. Any known safety issue could cause the home to be in violation.

      The FHA appraisal process is to establish value of the home, to insure it is safe and habitable, and to make sure it lives up to FHA MPRs…but local codes also apply. The odor issue may not technically be in violation of MPRs, but mold and mildew issues could be. The appraiser may perceive a mildew-like stain AS mildew–no way to predict, but it’s a possibility. Hope this helps!

  2. Martha says:

    How’s about cracked windows? Seems we’ve got some cracked windows in a short sale home we put an offer on … if we get to that point, are cracked windows something to have to fix right away? We aren’t thinking of leaving them like that, but don’t want to have to immediately, etc.

    • Joe Wallace says:

      A great deal would depend on what the appraiser says, what your local code requires and other factors. It’s impossible to say for sure without seeing the property or knowing the local codes, but any condition that allows weather to get into the home might be considered unacceptable.

  3. Scott says:

    A bank owned house that I am looking to buy via FHA funding has passed all city certs for occupancy but will the FHA ispector take that in to consideration?
    Also, what is the minimum height for cement heaving and what is the minimum for cement crack width?

    • Joe Wallace says:

      An FHA appraisal takes into account both city/state code and FHA minimum property requirements. The specific cement heaving and crack width issues are addressed by local/state code rather than specific FHA guidance. Hope this helps!

  4. Sharon says:

    I have a front porch that is 40 feet long and 12 feet wide and is about 3 1/2 to 4 feet high,, would FHA require banisters around this porch,, it has steps with railings on each side to come onto the porch

    • Joe Wallace says:

      Your local or state building code may have rules on this–FHA loan requirements may not be that specific, but your state/local code may be. You’d need to consult the local authority to get answers on specific code issues such as these.

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