FHA Inspection & Appraisal Requirements in Washington State

June 19, 2017
Last updated:
September 10, 2021
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Summary: FHA home loans are one of the most popular mortgage financing options among home buyers in Washington state. In this article, we’ll cover a popular topic relating to FHA loans, and that is the home appraisal and inspection.

There are plenty of things to know about FHA loans. More specifically, here’s what you need to know about FHA appraisal and inspection requirements in Washington state.

Washington FHA Inspection Requirements at a Glance

The Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance program is managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This means that HUD establishes all of the requirements and guidelines for FHA loans in Washington state – and that includes property appraisals and inspections.

But HUD does not actually require FHA home buyers to have a full inspection. They strongly encourage it, and borrowers do receive a HUD disclosure that explains the value of a home inspection. But such an inspection is not required for FHA loans in Washington state.

However, HUD does require a property appraisal. This is slightly different from a home inspection:

  • When you hire a home inspector, he is primarily concerned with the condition of the property including any repair issues.
  • An appraiser, on the other hand, is primarily concerned with the market value of the property.

In Washington state, FHA appraisers determine the current market value of the property as well as evaluating its overall condition. So in a sense, the appraiser wears “two hats.” This is what makes FHA home appraisals unique.

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Items of Focus: Health and Safety

So what can you expect during the appraisal process? What are the property inspection requirements for an FHA loan in Washington state? Here’s a quick overview:

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is primarily concerned with the health and safety of the person who is buying the home. In fact, you’ll see this phrase used many times throughout HUD’s property requirements handbooks.

In Washington state, FHA home appraisers pay particular attention to issues that might affect the health and safety of the occupant.

The appraiser will do a basic inspection of the home’s electrical system. Here again, he is primarily focused on functionality and safety. The electrical system must work properly and must not present any hazards to the homeowner or the property.

FHA appraisers also evaluate the install plumbing system to make sure that it works properly. The appraiser will also evaluate the home to make sure there aren’t any leaks that could result in property damage over time.

Heating systems are another checkpoint during FHA appraisals and inspections in Washington state. Here again, the appraiser is mostly concerned with functionality. The heating system must work properly, and free of any defects that would interfere with operability.

Encroachments are another key checkpoint during FHA home appraisals and inspections. An encroachment occurs when one property’s structures intrude onto another person’s property. For example, if a patio or outbuilding crosses the line into someone else’s property, an encroachment has occurred. If an encroachment is identified during the FHA inspection process, it might prevent the loan from moving forward.

You can learn more about Washington state FHA inspection requirements and guidelines by reviewing HUD handbook 4000.1 (also known as the “Single-Family Housing Policy Handbook”).

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Have Questions About FHA Loans?

Are you curious about FHA loans or other mortgage programs available to buyers in WA, ID, OR, and CO? Sammamish Mortgage can help. We are a local, family-owned company based in Bellevue, Washington. We serve the entire state, as well as the broader Pacific Northwest region, and have been doing so since 1992. Please contact us if you have mortgage-related questions.

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