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Termite 02-05-2009 04:02 PM

FHA inspection/appraisal for refinance
I'm refinancing my home with my current lender (Coutrywide) and am trying to roll my existing loan into a FHA loan. I'll be having it inspected by an FHA inspector/appraiser, and don't have any idea what to expect.

For those of you that have gone through the FHA inspection, can you tell me your experiences, good or bad?

I'm told that they really look them over pretty hard. The house is 50 years old, but not in bad shape. My cedar shake roof is getting to where it needs to be replaced, and my foundation has some cracking in it, much of which has been stabilized with steel beams. The house has some cracks in the sheetrock here and there, most of which have been fixed. The electrical and plumbing systems have been 75% updated.

mikey48 02-05-2009 09:14 PM

i think FHA has eased up a bit from the past. No one wanted to use FHA because of all the requirements. They may want a five year cert on the roof if it is close to it life expectancy. Must be a good rate with FHA because I can not think of many advantages in using them, except 3 percent down. Let us know hot the appraisal goes.

Termite 02-05-2009 10:25 PM

Yeah, even with spotless credit the best way to get the loan-to-value up above 80% (aiming for 82%) was to go with FHA. Otherwise I was looking at paying a disgusting amount in points.

The loan officer said that the house would have to be "a shambles (sp?)" in order for FHA to put the brakes on the process. Hope he's right, because although my house is in good shape, like most 50 year old homes it has a few things that could certainly be improved upon.

jerryh3 02-06-2009 03:24 AM

Everything's up to code, right?:whistling2:

Termite 02-06-2009 08:51 AM

ha-ha-ha. Everything I've done is!

jerryh3 02-06-2009 10:28 AM


Originally Posted by thekctermite (Post 226042)
ha-ha-ha. Everything I've done is!

We have a refi appraisal coming up soon. I'm curious to see how the estimate now compares to a few years ago. I've done a lot of work on the house, but I'm sure it will be a little lower than the "high times" of the real estate market.

mikey48 02-06-2009 10:55 AM

Had required permits, right? :laughing:

Termite 02-06-2009 10:58 AM


Originally Posted by mikey48 (Post 226098)
Had required permits, right? :laughing:

Every time. :yes: I'm no hypocrite.

jerryh3 02-06-2009 11:15 AM


Originally Posted by mikey48 (Post 226098)
Had required permits, right? :laughing:

Not a single one here. If it wasn't such an adversarial process, I would participate. In the people's republic of Maryland, a Licensed plumber or Electrician is required to pull the permits. Don't need that headache. I Just need my toolbelt, IRC book, NEC book, and local admendments and I'm good.

concretemasonry 02-06-2009 11:54 AM

Jerry -

Ever tried to paddle upstream without a paddle?

The permit and inspection is what a future buyer now uses to measure whether things were done to lowest possible legal standards (the code). If you are capable and do it right to a higher standard you would be fine.

There are ways to do it legally. - Get a licensed electrician pull a permit, you do the work without a final hook-up and then have him look it over at the appropriate time and sign off for a final inspection. It will cost you a little for help and inspection before the permit, but it will be more than worth it when you go to sell. If you are not legal for the code (at that time of selling), you may have to re-do and cut your selling price. A permit and approval gives you "grandfather rights" at the remodel date and exempts you from future code changes.

I built an 1800 sf lake home and did most of the work myself with help from my 12-14 year old son (at the time). He did much of the electrical hook-ups in the boxes, but I pulled the wire and attached conduit (exposed temporarily). I did not need plans for a building permit, but the local utility required an electrical inspection. The inspector pulled a couple of cover and looked and was satisfied (wire bent in the right direction and stripped proerly). When he saw the fireplace insert wiring with THHN in conduit for the variable speed fans and thermostat, he asked who did the wiring. - I pointed to my son because he did it right by reading a book and learning how to properly twist and make connections. Any electrician would have approved it, so the inspector did immediately.

Inspections and permits are not difficult if you do the work well and just listen and think before you argue.

When I sold, I had a formal electrical approval and an even fancier certificate from the county on the septic sytem that described the system completely including tank capacities, perk tests, drainfield lengths and pipe types, backfill and capacities. That back-up when selling was very valuable and eliminated an price haggling.

You can always DIY, but bucking the system and more informed buyers (and their realtors) is not woth it today.


Termite 02-06-2009 06:58 PM

Hey hijackers, can we get back on the topic I posted? :laughing:

jerryh3 02-06-2009 08:08 PM


Originally Posted by thekctermite (Post 226321)
Hey hijackers, can we get back on the topic I posted? :laughing:

Sorry. Why are you going FHA?

micromind 02-06-2009 08:38 PM

The first house I ever bought (didn't build myself) was in 1991, in Reno.

It was definitely a 'fixer-upper', around 1000 sq. ft, built in early 1960's. There was a garage in the back yard that was obviously built without a permit.

The only things I had to do for FHA was rake the leaves away from the foundation so they weren't touching the wood siding, and replace the carpet. Or what was once the carpet!

There was certainly nothing permit-wise, structure-wise, or even cosmetic-wise about this inspection. There was no paint on the facia, though no signs of rot; the roof was pretty old, asphalt shingles curling; I could actually see cracks in the gas furnace heat exchanger, though most of the front had to be removed to see them; part of a truss was actually cut out for the woodstove flue pipe (I'm sure that was inspected!! lol), among other less serious things.

It wasn't a very thorough inspection at all.


Termite 02-06-2009 11:51 PM

Very encouraging Rob. :yes: I'm sure a lot of it really depends on the inspector. I don't think I'll be telling the guy I'm a building inspector, that's for sure.

I'm just worried that they'll want the roof fixed, and I don't want to spend the money to fix it. I want to tear it off and replace it. I'm probably going to roll the cost of the roof into the refinance, but if FHA makes me do it I'll have to come up with $8000-10,000 to pay for the roof before the FHA reinspection....And that won't be fun.

mikey48 02-07-2009 09:57 AM

Thekctermite, hope you know I was just being funny about the permits. I know you wouldn't do it any other way.

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