In the third installment of our FHA Friday Blog Series, we’re going to take a look at the crawl space inspection. Similar to the attic inspection discussed last week, the crawl space inspection provides a wealth of information about the home, and is an important part of any FHA inspection.
What does FHA expect of the appraiser?
FHA expects appraisers to fully enter the crawl space, unless the appraiser cannot. In such cases, a ‘head & shoulders’ inspection is acceptable. In some situations, the crawl space has no access at all, if there are no mechanical systems accessible from the crawl space.
So what are some specific concerns FHA has about crawl spaces? Here’s a short list:
- The floor joists must be sufficiently above ground level to provide access for maintaining and repairing ductwork and plumbing.
- If the crawl space contains any system components, the minimum required vertical clearance is 18 inches between grade and the bottom of the floor joists.
- The crawl space must be properly vented unless the area is mechanically conditioned.
- The crawl space must be free of trash, debris, and vermin (my personal favorite!).
- The crawl space must not be excessively damp and must not have any water pooling. If moisture problems are evident, a vapor barrios and/or prevention of water infiltration must be required.
Ultimately, FHA wants the appraiser to report any evidence that may indicate issues with structural support, dampness, damage, or vermin that may affect the safety, soundness, and security of the property.
What can I do as a homeowner / Realtor to help?
Just like in the attic inspection, access is key! Make sure that the crawl space is accessible. If the access is screwed shut or blocked, unscrew the access door, and/or remove anything blocking the way. Also, if you have crawl space access inside the home, remove any belongings over/around the crawl space access. If you’re a Realtor with a home that has an interior crawl space access, give the appraiser a head’s up where the access is.
That sums up crawl space inspections for FHA appraisals. Next week we’ll cover another FHA appraisal related issue, but in the meantime, let us know if there’s anything else you’d like us to discuss!