FHA Loans, Appraisals, and the Roof Condition
The condition of the roof is important as it’s a major source of headaches for a homeowner if there is a problem down the line. Borrowers should remember that the appraisal does not guarantee the roof is free of problems, and a home inspection should be carried out to include a closer look at the roof than an FHA appraisal will give.
FHA loan appraisal fees do not cover this inspection, but the inspection is an important investment that could save you thousands of dollars later on.
What is an FHA appraiser required to do when considering the roof? HUD 4000.1 says, “The Appraiser must notify the Mortgagee of the deficiency…if the roof covering does not prevent entrance of moisture or provide reasonable future utility, durability and economy of maintenance and does not have a remaining physical life of at least two years”.
An FHA appraiser is required to view the roof, but does not specifically have to step out onto the surface of it. That’s one big difference between an appraisal and a home inspection. “The Appraiser must observe the roof to determine whether there are deficiencies that present a health and safety hazard or do not allow for reasonable future utility. The Appraiser must identify the roofing material type and the condition observed in the ‘Improvements’ section of the report.”
As you can see from the reading of HUD 4000.1 above, the rules do not require or instruct the appraiser to step out onto the roof. A home inspection, paid for by the borrower, would include a closer look at the roof than what is required here by HUD 4000.1.
Page 489 adds the following:
“The Appraiser must report if the roof has less than two years of remaining life, and make the appraisal subject to inspection by a professional roofer. When the Appraiser is unable to view the roof, the Appraiser must explain why the roof is unobservable and report the results of the assessment of the underside of the roof, the attic, and the ceilings.”
It cannot be emphasized enough that an FHA appraisal is not meant to be a top-to-bottom inspection of the roof. The FHA official site has a section titled, For Your Protection Get A Home Inspection, which urges borrowers to pay for the optional procedure.
The FHA official site also warns borrowers that there is no financial help from the FHA for those who opt not to get the inspection and later discover defects or other problems with their home (on the roof or anywhere else in the home) once the loan has closed.
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