February 20, 2020

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FHA Loan Reader Questions: Building Code and FHA Minimum Property Requirements

041A reader asks, “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…”

The main problem with addressing specific appraisal questions like this is that FHA loan rules do have some general guidelines (as well as more specific ones in some cases) but the FHA minimum property requirements are not the only rules that must be complied with in order for a home to pass the FHA appraisal.

Federal, state, and local building code requirements may also apply, and the property that is not in compliance with these requirements may need corrections or repairs before the FHA home loan can be approved.

What’s more, the FHA cannot and does not have copies of all building code requirements on file–the borrower or seller would need to consult the local authority with jurisdiction in such cases or discuss the issue with an expert such as a fee appraiser, real estate professional or sometimes even the lender to see if there’s any common experience in the area in question.

Also, the same building codes that applied in the past may have been altered or modified in some way in the meantime–borrowers and sellers can’t assume that what was once acceptable is still permitted today, or if changes in the law have altered building code rules as a result.

Check with a local authority when it doubt, you may need to know what issues the local or regional appraisers have on their “radar” currently that could affect your home purchase.

You can learn more about FHA/HUD property requirements at the HUD official site page for Minimum Property Standards: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/ramh/mps/mhsmpsp.

Do you have questions about FHA home loans? Ask us in the comments section. You can apply or get pre-approved for an FHA loan at FHA.com, a private company and not a government website.


Joe Wallace - Staff Writer

By Joe Wallace

April 7, 2014

Joe Wallace has been specializing in military and personal finance topics since 1995. His work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and a member of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association. He was Managing editor for www.valoans.com for (8) years and is currently the Associate Editor for FHANewsblog.com.

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FHANewsBlog.com was launched in 2010 by seasoned mortgage professionals wanting to educate homebuyers about the guidelines for FHA insured mortgage loans. Popular FHA topics include credit requirements, FHA loan limits, mortgage insurance premiums, closing costs and many more. The authors have written thousands of blogs specific to FHA mortgages and the site has substantially increased readership over the years and has become known for its “FHA News and Views”.

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