Purchasing a home is an all encompassing process which can often take months of researching and hoop jumping and includes a home appraisal step. Many military families often purchase homes “sight unseen,” relying heavily on their realtors, friends, and sometimes military spouse social media groups to select their homes.
If you’re a first-time home buyer this can be a daunting process, which is where MilHousing Network comes in. The MHN realtors understand the military lifestyle and take new home buyers by the hand through the process. Even if you’re a seasoned military family who has had a few home purchases under your belt…there’s always something new to learn in the real estate community.
The VA loan is available to military families and comes with its own requirements. If using a VA loan, there are a few things you need to know.
A VA appraisal is required to qualify for a VA loan. Yes, you read that right. It is a must. A VA appraiser evaluates the property on behalf of the lender to make sure it meets two conditions. One, that it’s worth at least what you’re agreeing to pay for it. Two, that the property meets VA and lender guidelines. If a home doesn’t pass the VA appraisal, then the loan won’t go through, which makes this a very important piece in home purchasing.
The VA appraisal provides a safety barrier for you as the purchaser. If an appraiser finds the property unsafe, unsound or unsanitary, you will be spared from buying a home that you will have problems with later. An appraisal also provides you with a fair market value of the property to keep you from paying over the amount it is actually worth.
Heating and electricity: Including homes with a wood burning stove or any other systems that heat the home. The home must have electricity in all areas for lighting and equipment.
Water: The home must have a water heater, safe drinking water, and a working septic system.
Roof and crawl space: The roof must be in good and working order with life left. If there is any question about the roof, the VA underwriter may require a roof inspection (separate from a home inspection or appraisal) to determine the number of years of life left for the roof.
Lead-based paint: In homes built prior to 1978, it’s likely the house includes lead-based paint. The VA appraiser will most likely request paint repairs for any chipping or peeling paint, which can lead to a lead-poisoning hazard.
It is easy to be confused between the appraisal and a home inspection. The difference is that the home inspection is a top-to-bottom examination of the home. While this process is not required, it is highly encouraged because it will catch and evaluate parts of the home not covered by the appraiser. This could include a full roof inspection and potential plumbing problems.
As the home buyer, you are responsible for paying for both the VA appraisal and home inspection, which, depending on location can average anywhere between $300-500, depending on the size of the home.
Don’t let the home-buying process overwhelm you. Equip yourself with a MilHousing Network realtor to put you in touch with the right vendors.