How To Pass The VA Home Appraisal

Whether refinancing your California home or purchasing a new home using your VA benefit, one of the most important steps is making sure your home can pass the VA appraisal.

Will the value meet or exceed the loan amount?

Will your home be un-financeable due to hidden problems?

Make the VA appraisal process EASY with these tips:

Choose a CA VA Loan Specialist

There are many lenders to choose from, but not all lenders know VA loans.

The VA loan programs have many unique restrictions. Make sure you choose a lender with substantial VA home loan experience. Even if a popular mortgage lender in your area is VA-approved, it doesn’t mean their loan officers are well-versed in California VA Loans. You don’t want to entrust your purchase with a rookie.

Find a Real Estate agent who is VA Knowledgeable

Almost every agent specializes in certain neighborhoods and/ or housing types. NOT ALL Real Estate agents are created equal. Having an agent that is familiar with military families and VA purchases can help you weed out properties that won’t make the cut for VA’s Minimum Property Requirements aka “MPR”.

Know the VA Loan Appraisal Guidelines

If you are looking to take advantage of the benefits of a VA Loan in California, you will need to be aware of the VA’s property guidelines. The point of these guidelines is to protect you and make sure your home is move-in ready and structurally sound.

CA VA home loans can be used to purchase any of the following property types:

  • New or existing single-family home

  • Condo or townhouse in an “approved” development

  • Manufactured home

  • Modular home

Any of the above property types must also meet specific criteria defined by the VA which include:

  • Safe Electrical and plumbing systems that have “reasonable future utility”

  • Heating system capable of maintaining home at 50 degrees Fahrenheit

  • Water quality meets local standards

  • Adequate Roofing

  • Properties have safe access from the street

  • Basements and crawl spaces must be dry

  • Home must be termite, dry-rot and fungus free

  • Lead-based paint must be corrected

  • CO2 and Smoke detectors Installed

Know Your Home

The job of a VA appraiser is to look out for issues that could compromise your home’s safety, sanitation, and structure. They’ll also ensure the home’s mechanical systems, potable water supply, domestic hot water, and sewage disposal systems are up-to-code and in good repair. If any of these systems are not up to snuff, you can bet the VA appraiser will make the purchase “subject to repair.” Meaning, you will have to fix those items before the loan can close.

To prevent getting blindsided by the VA appraisal report, a really good place to start is to purchase a professional home inspection, study the seller’s disclosure statement and ask your realtor about the properties condition.

VA Appraisal Fee

The VA appraisal fee is usually paid by the buyer. The appraisal fee is determined by the Veterans Administration and varies by the type of home. (Single Family, Condo, 1-4 Unit)

Typical VA appraisal fees in California currently range from $450 – $700.

Have Flexibility With Closing Timeline

VA appraisals might take a little longer to complete, depending on if there is work to be done (Termite, paint etc…) If everything is in order, the typical turn time is a week or so. Make sure to have smoke detectors and CO 2 installed! If not, and the appraiser has to come back out to re-inspect, you may have to pay an extra fee.

IMPORTANT: VA Appraisal Does Not Equal Home Inspection

The job of a VA appraiser is to ensure that your home is safe, sanitary, and structurally sound. Getting a VA Appraisal is necessary for the loan process. It is an informative tool for buyers, but it is usually not as thorough as what you will find with a professional home inspection.

Getting a professional home inspection is optional for buyers. When you think about making one of your largest purchases of your life, the home inspection is an extra safety measure that provides valuable data that may or may not be on the VA appraisal.

A home inspection report contains detailed photos and repair recommendations for every facet of a property….Including everything from a chipped floor tile to a clogged gutter to a leaky roof.

Following these EASY steps, you will fly through the VA Appraisal!

VA appraisals may take a little more work than conventional loans, but you can be thankful that they exist. Getting a California VA appraisal provides important property information that helps keep you safe and can save you a lot of money for future repairs. Getting a VA appraisal also ensures that you are paying a fair market value for the home you are interested in. Make sure you work with the right professionals and you will get through the appraisal process quickly and easily.

This article on VA appraisals was brought to you by Jackie Barikhan of Right Choice Mortgage. Jackie has helped many military members arrange VA financing throughout California. She keeps the complex nature of the industry explained in the easiest of terms.

Jackie Barikhan

If you need help with your VA Loan or the VA Appraisal process, give her a call at 949 600-0944 or visit for more great info on VA loans in California.

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