Tips to Pass a VA Appraisal

Tim Lucas
Military VA Loan editor

Whether you’re looking to buy a home with a VA loan or refinance through the VA, you’re going to have to use a VA appraisal.

An appraisal is when lenders send an appraiser to evaluate your home and assess the condition. Keep in mind this is not as thorough as a home inspection, but it is necessary to get an appraisal if you want a VA loan.

Unfortunately, VA appraisals aren’t the same as they are if you’re purchasing a home with a conventional loan. The VA is backing the home, so they want it to be in good condition before they approve any type of loan. This makes most VA appraisals tougher to pass, and it can slow down the process of buying a home.

But with proper planning, your appraisal will go off without hitch. Here are some tips to make sure your appraisal goes as planned.

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Get connected with a real estate agent

Whether you’re getting a VA loan or refinance, find a real estate agent with VA experience. They’ll help you prepare for the VA appraisal, as well as everything else along the way.

Keep in mind that just because a real estate agent is VA certified doesn’t mean they will be helpful. Find an agent that has experience with VA loans.

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Check the MPRs

The VA has minimum property requirements (MPRs) every home needs to meet before it will be Va approved.

According to the VA, the appraiser is going to focus on the three S’s: safety, sanitation and structural integrity.

A home that meets the MPRs should have a working heating system, a safe water quality, a safe and structurally sound roof, no pest or mold problems, and a safe electrical system. Your real estate agent can help you with everything as well.

If you’re purchasing a home, these will need to be addressed before the sale can be completed. While the costs of this can be negotiated before the closing, the entire process can take a lot of time, and there’s no guarantee the necessary repairs will be included.

Your best bet is to find a home that’s move-in ready or requires few fixes. This speeds up the entire process and makes it easier to ace the VA appraisal.

Check your home

If you’re going for a VA refinance, the next thing you should do is inspect your own home. If your home has a broken hot water heater, a busted water pipe or anything of the like, you’ll want to get the fixed first. The appraiser will notice these, and they’ll require a fix before the refinance can be accepted.

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Don’t put off everything until the last minute

A VA appraisal typically takes one or two weeks to be completed. However, you should always be prepared for the worst case scenario.

In the event a VA appraisal takes much longer to turn around – or repairs have to be made – the closing date can be pushed much further back. This doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

Get a home inspection

While the appraiser is going to evaluate your home to meet the VA’s needs, they won’t do a full-blown inspection. After the appraisal is done but before you purchase a home, be sure to get a home inspection. This is going to give you a much clearer idea of how much work the home might need in the future.

You’re one step closer to the home of your dreams

The VA appraisal is required for both VA loans and refinances, but it doesn’t have to be as stressful as it seems. If you’ve done your research correctly, then the VA appraisal should go as smooth as possible.

Keep in mind you will have to pay for the VA appraisal yourself, and this cost can vary state by state. Fortunately, the VA has made the information readily available to home buyers and homeowners.

After finishing up with the VA appraisal, you’ll be one big step closer to getting a VA mortgage or refinance.

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