FHA loans and messy homes

fha loans and messy homesI recently appraised a home for a refinance loan that was not the neatest one I’ve ever seen. It was an appraisal for a conventional loan, which is not as strict as FHA loans are, so there were no issues or additional requirements. If this had been an FHA loan the appraisal may have turned out differently though. From an appraisers viewpoint there are two issues involved here. The first issues deals with the effect on your home’s value. I wrote a previous blog post discussing the effect of a messy home on the appraised value titled “Can a Messy House Make My House Appraise For a Lower Amount?” if you want to read that. Today I wanted to discuss how a messy house can effect the appraisal process and cause possible delays.

According to FHA and HUD guidelines the appraiser must have full access to all property improvements. It states the following:

“If unable to visually evaluate the improvements in their entirety, contact the lender and reschedule a time when a complete visual inspection can be performed. This includes access to the crawl space and attic. The appraiser is not required to disturb insulation, move personal items, furniture, equipment, plant life, soil, snow, ice or debris that obstructs access or visibility”.

If it is necessary for the appraiser to go back to the house to make a full and complete inspection this may cause a delay in the appraisal, and a delay in the sales transaction if it is a purchase. My advice to owners and real estate agents, if they are involved, is to make sure all areas of the home are visible and are accessible. If the house in the picture had been using FHA financing, and I was not able to access the electrical outlet for testing or the window to see if it operated, I would have had to schedule another appointment, which could cause a delay. If you have any other question regarding FHA appraisals or any other appraisal questions give me a call, I would be glad to answer them for you.

If you have any real estate appraisal related questions you can call me at 205.243.9304, email me, or connect with me on Facebook., Twitter, or Youtube.


  1. Good advice, Tom. I just inspected a house today and could not access parts of the house to see the water heater or access the crawl space or attic either.

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