Happy Friday!  And welcome to our second installment of FHA Friday – our blog series on common FHA appraisal issues and practices.  Today we’re going to briefly discuss the attic inspection.  What is involved in an attic inspection?  Does the appraiser need to enter into and walk around in the attic?  Why is an attic inspection even required?  We’ll answer those questions and more.  So let’s jump right in!

 

What does an appraiser look for inside the attic?

  • We look for deficiencies such as water stains on the underside of the roof (decking), insufficient ventilation, electrical hazards (exposed wiring, etc), as well as structural deficiencies.
  • We might also note mold as another possibility for a deficient condition—and that might be something the appraiser smells if it is not readily observable.
  • Ultimately, the appraiser is looking for anything that might affect the structure of the home, or the health & safety of the occupants, as well as anything that might negatively affect the value or marketability of the property.

What level of inspection is required?

Does the appraiser actually get all the way into the attic and walk around?  Here’s what FHA has to say:

In cases where access through a scuttle is limited and the appraiser cannot fully enter the attic, the insertion of at least the head and shoulders of the appraiser will suffice.

This means that if the appraiser cannot fully enter the attic, a simple head & shoulders inspection is adequate.

 

What if my home doesn’t have access to the attic?

From time to time, we run into a situation when there is no access to the attic. For example, the only access to the attic may be through a vent on the gable peak. I’ve also seen drop tile ceilings in homes over the area of attic access.  In these cases, we must simply report the lack of access to the attic area in the appraisal report. Thankfully, FHA doesn’t want the appraiser to pry off a vent, or cut open walls, ceilings or floors and damage a property!

 

How can a Realtor / homeowner prepare for an attic inspection?

  1. The floor area below the attic access point should be cleared to allow easy access (unlike the photo above!).  Appraisers are not required to move personal property to access the attic, although most appraisers don’t have a problem moving around a box or two.
  2. Make sure the attic can be accessed. If the drop stairs aren’t working, or if the scuttle access is sealed shut, you should have everything open and in working order for the appraiser.

So there you have it!  If you have any specific questions about attic inspections, or FHA appraisals in general, feel free to give us a call anytime!