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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Sager

Top 5 Reasons Your Appraiser Will Require Repairs

Updated: Jun 22, 2022

What are the top five reasons your home appraisal may require repairs prior to the loan closing? Find out below!

Have you ever wondered what could potentially stall your loan for a residential property in regards to the appraisal process? Whether it be for a refinance, home equity line of credit, purchase, or any other financial transaction, your appraiser has certain items that they must address in every appraisal. While there are specific, more strict, guidelines for FHA/HUD and USDA appraisals, your appraiser is still required to make note of, and at times require repair of, health and safety hazards that exist, regardless of the loan type.

There are some items that the appraiser can "recommend" a repair or inspection from a professional in their field, however, there are several that must be made "subject to repair" in the appraisal of your property. The requirements, again, are for the health and safety of the inhabitants.

Below are the top five items that require repair regardless of the type of loan:

Tip #1 - Stairs/Railings

If your stairs have more than three (3) risers and do not have railings and balusters to code, then the appraiser will require the installation of railings and balusters.

WAC 246-359-520

Tip #2 - Guardrails

Decks, porches, balconies, landings, etc. require that guardrails be installed in order to prevent a fall are required. See WAC 246-359-520 for more information.

"Unenclosed porches, balconies, and landings which are more than thirty inches above grade or floor below must not be less than 36 inches in height and must have intermediate rails spaced such that a sphere four inches in diameter cannot pass through." – Washington State Administrative Code

Tip #3 - Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors must be present in every home and are required to meet code from the time in which the improvements were built/remodeled. While there is a requirement from some lenders for an appraiser to comment on the existence of the smoke detectors, an appraiser will require the installation of smoke detectors if there are none in the home.

It is recommended for smoke detectors be installed per current Washington Administrative Code, which states that at least one smoke detection device be installed in each sleeping area, as well as in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms, and one on each story of the dwelling, and it is recommended that smoke detectors be replaced every 10 years.

It is also worth mentioning that some lenders also require the appraiser to condition the appraisal report if there are no CO detectors in the home.

WAC 51-51-0314

Tip #4 - Water Damage

If the appraiser finds an active water leak/water damage, whether that be from the roof, from the level or floor above, or under the dwelling, an inspection of the area will be required. Appraisers are not home inspectors, and are trained to observe and report. Signs of active water damage range from watermarks and/or brown stains, swollen walls/ceilings, sweating walls, discoloration (mold-like substances), among others. In order to determine the severity of the water damage as well as the needed repairs, an inspection by a certified professional will be required.

Tip #5 - Infestation

Your appraiser will look for signs of infestation from rodents, vermin, and insects. Some forms of infestation present a risk to the occupants health and safety, and others present a risk to the improvements themselves. Depending upon the level of infestation, the appraiser may require an inspection by a certified professional, or may require remediation of the infestation.

Health and Safety Cannot Be Ignored

While your appraiser has the ability to "recommend" an inspection or a repair on most items that are identified during the appraiser's site visit, your appraiser is obligated to require certain items that are a clear health and safety violation, regardless of the loan type.

Keep in mind that with FHA/HUD and USDA, the guidelines for Minimum Property Requirements are more in-depth and detailed. However, the items listed above are required in Washington State regardless of the loan type.

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