One challenge in meeting FHA guidelines is that property condition rules are not explicity clear. Instead, an appraiser determines whether a home meets FHA standards. There are also variations on guidelines for repairs by state. However, based on the past history of what has been approved as meeting FHA standards, repairs that address key defects seem essential to meeting FHA lending requirements. Following are typical repairs that address key defects:
- Termite damage: Conditions that could lead to an infestation include an inadequate crawl space and earth-to-wood contact.
- Plumbing problems: Water leaks, missing valves, and loose or missing fixtures can all stall an FHA approval.
- Security bars: Security bars must have a safety release mechanism, such as a latch, which permits residents to exit through the window in case of emergency.
- Roof: Roof leaks are often a deal breaker for FHA appraisers. Look for deteriorating roofing material and signs of water entry on walls or ceilings.
- Environmental hazards: Any signs of toxic materials, asbestos, or other contaminants must be repairs and/or removed.
- Electrical issues: Check for incomplete lines, missing electrical conduits or switch plates, or insecure sub-panels.
- Crawl space: Crawl spaces must be a minimum of 18 inches from the bottom of the joists to the ground.
- Swimming pools: A swimming pool must have a perimeter fence and a latch on the gate at least 54 inches high to prevent a child from entering.
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Detectors must be present as required by state code.
- Windows: All panes must be present and intact.
- Water heaters: Water heaters must be raised off the floor.
- Automatic garage doors: Doors should have an operating sensor to prevent them from closing when there is an obstruction.
Failing to make these repairs will almost certainly make a home ineligible for FHA financing.