What are FHA guidelines for lead-based paint?


We will soon have an entire section on the blog devoted to FHA appraisal issues. Since a lot of questions surround FHA guidelines and the appraisal process, we will discuss topics like safety hazards, septic tank and well distance requirements, deferred maintenance, crawl space/attic guidelines, swimming pools, structural deficiencies and more.

We’re going to start out this discussion, though, with lead-based paint – one of the most common issues found in older homes.


Most studies suggest that at least 75 percent of homes built before 1978 contain some level of lead-based paint.  This is not good for the homeowner as lead poisoning poses a serious health concern. So when we complete an FHA appraisal on a home built prior to 1978, checking for the possibility of lead-based paint is a must.

You might be asking yourself, “How does the appraiser know if the home contains lead paint or not?” The simple answer is, “We don’t.” We cannot test paint for levels of lead, so we simply have to note any surface which shows signs of peeling or chipping paint and call for the removal of the paint (yes, even if it was just painted 10 years ago!).

So how do you remove peeling paint on a pre-1978 home?

According to the HUD website, peeling, chipping or flaking paint must be removed by the approved method of scraping the defective surface(s) and then reapplying new paint. It’s very important to pay close attention to flakes of paint which might fall during the removal process as they could still present health and safety concerns. To be safe, remove any flaking or peeling paint down to the bare wood and repaint. And keep a drop cloth under you so cleanup is a breeze!

Do you have a question about the FHA appraisal process? Are you wondering if your home will qualify for an FHA loan? Send me your questions and I’ll answer them here on the blog.

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