When you’re shopping for the home you want to purchase with an FHA mortgage, it’s logical to wonder what kinds of standards the property must meet in order to qualify for an FHA loan. FHA minimum standards address a variety of issues including a home’s location, its condition, and how the current state of the home may affect its future value.
At the time of this writing, HUD 4155.2 Chapter Four has a set of basic standards that guide the FHA appraiser, which start with the following:
“The site conditions of a property must be free of health and safety hazards.” That’s followed by some guidance on homes with lead-based paint. “If the property was built before 1978:
–the seller must disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead- based paint hazards before selling the house
–the sales contracts must include a disclosure form about lead-based paint, and
–the buyers have up to 10 days from the date of the signing of the sales contract to check for lead.
FHA may insure a mortgage on a house, even with lead-based paint, if defective paint surfaces are treated. However, FHA will not pay the cost to have the lead-based paint removed, treated, or repaired.”
Other general standards include the following:
“Utilities and other facilities should be independent for each unit and must include
–a continuing supply of safe, potable water
–sanitary facilities and a safe method of sewage disposal
–heating adequate for health and comfort
–domestic hot water, and
–electricity for lighting and equipment.”
All of these things factor in when determining whether a home is suitable for an FHA loan, but it’s important to remember that these are not the only rules–state and local building code also must be met. That’s why it’s difficult to answer some reader questions about the suitability of a home in certain cases–FHA minimum standards can’t and don’t address all aspects of the home.
Building code in the local area may have jurisdiction over many aspects of the property’s suitability. When in doubt, it’s best to consult the local authority first, since a home that is not in code compliance would have to be brought up to standard to qualify for the loan.
Do you have questions about FHA mortgages? Ask us in the comments section.