What are the FHA rules for the roof?

FHA rules for the roof

fha-rules-for-the-roofDuring an appraisal observation, the appraiser is required to identify and report all “readily observable” adverse conditions of the roof. You should know that what the appraiser does is not the same thing as a home inspection and it should not be considered one.

In fact, there is even a section on the HUD/FHA website titled “For Your Protection Get A Home Inspection” that explains why the appraisal should not be relied upon as a home inspection and why buyers should get a true home inspection to uncover any potential issues with the house.

An appraisal is different from a home inspection and does not replace a home inspection. Appraisals estimate the value of the property for lenders. An appraisal is required to ensure the property is marketable. Home inspections evaluate the condition of the home for buyers.

A home inspection gives the buyer more detailed information about the overall condition of the home prior to purchase. In a home inspection, a qualified inspector takes an in-depth, unbiased look at your potential new home to:

  • Evaluate the physical condition: structure, construction, and mechanical systems;
  • Identify items that need to be repaired or replaced;and
  • Estimates the remaining useful life of the major systems, equipment, structure, and finishes.

Since we now know what an appraisal is not, let’s look closer at what the appraisal and the FHA rule for the roof should tell us about its condition in order to make better-informed decisions.

Items of Importance

Appraisers are not required to walk over the roof but instead observe it from ground level as well as fromroof-shingles the attic. By looking at the roof from the outside it will be possible to see if the shingles are missing, cracked, or curling due to old age.

In addition to looking at it from the outside, taking a look at the underside of the roof decking and structural support system from inside the attic can uncover water leaks or other types of damage.

One of the FHA rules for the roof requires the appraiser to report if it has less than 2 years remaining life and require it to be replaced. This, of course, is a judgment call that the appraiser is required to make.

To be specific, the following has been taken from the HUD handbook 4000.1 regarding the FHA rules for the roof:

“The Appraiser must notify the Mortgagee of the deficiency of MPR or MPS 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.

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.

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.”

What if the appraiser can’t see the roof?

There are some situations where it is not possible to see the roof because of the slope of the lot or because it could be covered with snow. When this is the case we must explain this but also report what was observed from the underside of the roof from within the attic and the ceilings inside the house.

Question

Do you have any other questions about FHA rules for the roof? If so leave your thoughts below and we’ll keep the conversation going. As always, thanks for reading.

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Comments

  1. Tony Powell says:

    From my perspective as a Realtor/Appraiser/Home-Owner/Investor, any roofing condition requirement is completely bogus. Shingles have nothing to do with leakage. New shingles with inadequate underlayment will leak. ‘Old’ shingle’ properly ‘dried in’ , may not.
    A recent, new roof is no guaranty that you will have no leaks for the next two years. All an appraiser, inspector or roofer can report is, “I saw no apparent indications of leakage at the time of inspection”.

    • True Tony. The bank wants to make sure their collateral is in good shape. While appraisers cannot the final decision on the ultimate condition of a roof we can give provide the bank with a report and pictures and let them decide if they want a professional roofer to check in out.

  2. Thank you for the explanation Tom. That is some really helpful information on FHA’s requirements for appraisers as they relate to roofing.

  3. Good stuff, Tom. It’s an interesting thing for appraisers to have to make this call about roof life since that’s really outside the scope of an appraiser’s expertise. Yet I get it on a practical level where FHA is saying, “Hey, if it looks like there isn’t roof life left, call for an inspection of the roof by a qualified professional (probably a roofer).”

    • Yeah, Ryan, I agree. There are some things appraisers are asked to do that are outside of their expertise, however, I think that it’s to make the lender and FHA/HUD aware of the general condition of the property. The final decision rests on the underwriter to dig deeper and get a more thorough inspection by a more knowledgeable roofer.

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