In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed the difference between a VA appraisal, which is required for the sale of a home to move forward, and a home inspection which is an option the borrower should choose (but is not required to do so.)
The VA stresses the importance of paying for the home inspection for several reasons, the most important of which being that the VA does not guarantee the condition of the home. An appraisal is not intended to give the house a “clean bill of health” for problems, defects or health issues that might not be visible or apparent during the appraisal.
One of the best examples of why it’s important to pay for a home inspection when applying for a VA loan? Asbestos concerns. The VA has minimum property requirements which include the following;
“The property must be free of hazards which may adversely affect the health and safety of the occupants adversely affect the structural soundness of the dwelling and other improvements to the property, or impair the customary use and enjoyment of the property by the occupants. If an appraiser notices this condition, he/she should make a note on the appraisal report and require an inspection with corrections as needed by a professional in that field with full disclosure to the veteran.”
Note the language of the rule–”If the appraiser notices…”
VA assigned appraisers are not trained or encouraged to aggressively seek out signs of asbestos present in a home. While it’s true that new and recent construction properties should be asbestos free according to the law, certain types of older properties may still have some asbestos which needs to be properly abated.VA rules do not specifically address asbestos contamination, so the burden falls upon the borrower to have the property inspected if there is a concern.
That is another reason why those applying for VA mortgages need to carefully consider the wording of a purchase agreement. Your commitment to buying a home with a VA mortgage should be dependent on getting the VA loan you’re applying for, the outcome of the VA appraisal, and the results of a home inspection.
Don’t allow yourself to be committed to a purchase you aren’t confident in should the results come back less than you expected. At the very least the purchase agreement should include some kind of re-negotiation potential should an appraisal or inspection uncover areas that need addressing by the seller.