Although an appraisal for a VA home loan may seem similar to a home inspection, there are important distinctions. An inspection, which will be done separately from the VA home appraisal, will still be required; this benefits the buyer and involves looking in-depth at a home’s electrical system as well as the roof and foundation. Inspections also require the attic and crawlspace to be thoroughly examined with renovation and repair in mind, whereas a VA appraisal only requires them to be assessed for financial value
The appraiser is legally required to perform several actions when appraising a home, several of which involve similar properties on the market known as “comparables.” The appraiser will select those similar properties and analyze their exterior in addition to viewing the interior and exterior of the property in question. The appraiser will estimate the value of the property based on these inspections and comparisons before signing the appraisal report.
An appraiser is advised against recommending housing inspections due to liability issues. The VA prefers for issues that do not meet property requirements to be replaced or repaired over inspection unless the issue indicates a complex issue such as drainage, structural problems, code violations, or other safety concerns that require a professional opinion. A primary way that VA home inspections and appraisals differ is that an inspector will assess the home in question and point out all potential issues that may require repairs; conversely, an appraiser will simply assess the home as is.
Furthermore, the VA handbook mandates that the home should have enough “economic life” remaining that the buyer will be able to resell the home in the future. Typically, the economic life must be at least 30 years, and the appraiser will state the expected maximum economic life of the home on the paperwork. Homes that do not meet this requirement may not be suitable for a VA mortgage; however, the appraiser may be able to provide a supporting explanation that allows the VA loan to go through even if the economic life of the property is less than 30 years.
Some things may disqualify a VA loan appraisal from occurring such as a building that is not residential or property that is not taxable as real estate. This includes houseboats and RVs; however, mobile homes, as well as those that are modular or manufactured, may qualify as long as they are moved to the site where the home will reside and permanently fixed to the foundation.