VA Loan Appraisal and Inspection Requirements: Everything You Need to Know

Does A VA Loan Require A Home Inspection?

When it comes to VA loans, a common question that often arises is whether a home inspection is required. VA loans indeed have a unique process that involves both a VA appraisal and an inspection, but it’s essential to understand the differences and the necessity of each.

A VA loan is a government-backed mortgage program designed to provide financial assistance to veterans, active-duty service members, and certain members of the National Guard and Reserves. While VA loans offer numerous benefits, including competitive interest rates and the ability to purchase a home with little to no down payment, they do not explicitly require a home inspection for loan approval.

However, despite not being a mandatory component of the VA loan process, many experts recommend getting a separate home inspection. Why? A home inspection is a thorough examination of a property’s condition, performed by a licensed home inspector. It goes beyond the scope of the VA appraisal, which primarily focuses on determining the property’s value and its alignment with Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs).

A home inspection can uncover hidden issues that may not be apparent during the VA appraisal. These issues could include problems with the property’s structural integrity, plumbing, electrical systems, or other aspects that may affect its safety and habitability. While the VA appraisal ensures that the property meets the minimum standards required for a VA loan, a home inspection provides you with a more comprehensive understanding of the property’s condition.

In summary, while a home inspection is not mandatory for VA loan approval, it is highly recommended. It offers an added layer of protection for homebuyers, helping them identify any potential problems with the property. With this information, you can make more informed decisions and negotiate with the seller for necessary repairs or adjustments before finalizing your home purchase.

VA Appraisal Vs. Home Inspection

To grasp the nuances of the VA loan process fully, it’s crucial to distinguish between the VA appraisal and a home inspection. Understanding the roles and differences of these two evaluations will help you navigate the homebuying process effectively.

  1. VA Appraisal: The VA appraisal is a mandatory evaluation conducted by a VA-approved appraiser. This professional assesses the property’s value and its adherence to the VA’s Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs). The primary goal of the VA appraisal is to ensure that the property’s purchase price aligns with its fair market value and that it meets the basic safety and habitability standards set by the VA.
  2. Home Inspection: In contrast, a home inspection is a more comprehensive assessment of the property’s condition, often performed by a licensed home inspector. The scope of a home inspection extends beyond the VA appraisal. A home inspector thoroughly examines various aspects of the property, including its structural integrity, plumbing, electrical systems, HVAC, and more. The objective is to identify any issues or defects that might not be apparent during the VA appraisal.

While a VA appraisal is required for loan approval, a home inspection is optional but highly recommended. The VA appraisal focuses on financial and safety aspects, while a home inspection provides a detailed view of the property’s overall condition. A home inspection is beneficial for buyers as it helps them make informed decisions, negotiate potential repairs with the seller, and ensures they are fully aware of the property’s condition.

VA Appraisals Vs. Conventional Appraisals

When it comes to the world of home financing and mortgages, appraisals are a critical component of the process. Appraisals provide an objective assessment of a property’s value, which is essential for determining the loan amount a buyer can secure. In this context, two common types of appraisals are VA appraisals and conventional appraisals. Understanding their similarities and differences is crucial for both buyers and sellers in the real estate market.


VA appraisals and conventional appraisals share several key similarities that are important to recognize:

  1. Property Valuation: Both VA and conventional appraisals aim to determine the fair market value of a property. This valuation is crucial for lenders to establish the loan amount they are willing to provide.
  2. Licensed Appraisers: In both cases, licensed and qualified appraisers conduct the assessments. These appraisers are typically trained professionals with a deep understanding of real estate markets and property valuation techniques.
  3. Comparable Sales: Both types of appraisals rely on the analysis of comparable sales, often referred to as “comps.” These are recently sold properties in the same or similar neighborhoods that provide a benchmark for the subject property’s value.
  4. Property Inspection: In both appraisals, the appraiser conducts a physical inspection of the property to assess its condition, size, features, and overall appeal. This inspection helps in determining the property’s condition and any potential issues.


While there are notable similarities between VA and conventional appraisals, there are also significant differences:

  1. VA Loan Specifics: VA appraisals are unique to VA loans and focus not only on the property’s value but also on ensuring that it meets the VA’s Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs). MPRs are safety and habitability standards set by the VA to protect the interests of veterans and ensure they purchase homes in good condition.
  2. Minimum Property Requirements: Conventional appraisals do not have an equivalent to the VA’s MPRs. In conventional appraisals, the focus is primarily on the property’s value, and there are no specific requirements related to safety and habitability.
  3. Funding Fee: VA loans may come with a funding fee, which is typically a one-time cost paid by the veteran or borrower. This fee is used to help sustain the VA loan program. Conventional loans do not have a similar funding fee requirement.
  4. Down Payment: VA loans are known for their favorable terms, including the ability to purchase a home with little to no down payment. Conventional loans, on the other hand, often require a more substantial down payment.
  5. Interest Rates: Interest rates can vary between VA and conventional loans. VA loans may offer competitive interest rates for eligible borrowers, while conventional loan interest rates are influenced by market conditions and the borrower’s creditworthiness.

VA Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs)

When it comes to VA loans, understanding the VA Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs) is crucial. These requirements ensure that the properties financed with VA loans meet specific standards to safeguard the interests of veterans and active-duty service members. Let’s delve into the various aspects of VA MPRs:

Marketable Real Estate

VA MPRs dictate that the property must be considered marketable real estate. In other words, it should be in a condition that allows it to be sold in the open market without significant delays. Marketability is essential to protect the veteran’s investment and ensure the property retains its value.

Space Requirements

VA MPRs include space requirements to guarantee that the property provides adequate living space for the occupants. These requirements encompass the number and size of bedrooms, as well as the overall layout and functionality of the living spaces.


Access to the property is a critical factor. VA MPRs require that the property has safe and convenient access from a public or private street. This ensures that residents can enter and exit the property without obstacles.


VA MPRs prohibit encroachments, which are unauthorized extensions or intrusions from neighboring properties. Ensuring that there are no encroachments on the subject property is essential to prevent legal disputes and maintain the property’s value.

Drainage and Topography

The VA also considers drainage and topography. The property should have proper drainage to prevent water-related issues and must be situated on stable topography to avoid erosion or instability.

Geological or Soil Instability, Subsidence, and Sinkholes

Properties located in areas with geological or soil instability, subsidence, or sinkholes are subject to closer scrutiny. These conditions can pose significant risks, and the property must meet additional requirements to be eligible for a VA loan.

Special Flood Hazard Area

Properties located in special flood hazard areas are required to have flood insurance. VA MPRs aim to protect veterans from the financial burdens associated with flooding.

Coastal Barrier Resource System

VA MPRs also consider properties in the Coastal Barrier Resource System. These areas may have restrictions and additional requirements due to their environmental significance and vulnerability.

Non-Residential Use

Properties that are primarily intended for non-residential use may not meet VA MPRs. The VA loan program is designed to support residential properties for veterans’ housing needs.


VA MPRs require that the property complies with local zoning laws and regulations. This ensures that the property is used in a manner consistent with its designated zoning classification.

Local Housing and Planning Authority Code Enforcement

Local code enforcement is a crucial aspect of VA MPRs. The property should be in compliance with local housing and planning authority codes to ensure it meets safety and habitability standards.


The property should have access to essential utilities, including water, electricity, and sewage systems, to meet the basic needs of its occupants.

Water Supply and Sanitary Facilities

A sufficient and safe water supply and sanitary facilities are fundamental requirements for a property to meet VA MPRs.

Individual Water Supply

In cases where the property relies on an individual water supply system, the VA MPRs have specific criteria to ensure the water source is safe and reliable.

What To Do About Problems With The VA Appraisal

Encountering issues with the VA appraisal can be concerning, but there are steps to address specific problems:

The Home Doesn’t Meet Minimum Property Requirements

If the property does not meet VA MPRs, it’s crucial to work with the seller to address the deficiencies. This may involve making necessary repairs or adjustments to bring the property in compliance with the requirements.

The Appraised Value Is Low

If the appraised value is lower than the agreed-upon purchase price, there are options. You can negotiate with the seller to lower the price, cover the difference in cash, or challenge the appraisal if you believe there are errors in the valuation. It’s essential to work closely with

See What You Qualify For

Before embarking on your homebuying journey, it’s crucial to understand what you qualify for in terms of VA loans. This entails assessing various aspects of the property, including the following:

ndividual Sewage Disposal

When the VA appraiser evaluates a property, one of the crucial elements they assess is the individual sewage disposal system. This system is integral to a property’s habitability and safety. The VA requires that this system functions properly, preventing sewage-related issues, contamination, and environmental hazards. Ensuring the individual sewage disposal system meets the VA’s requirements is not only about safeguarding the property’s value but also about providing a safe and sanitary living environment for its occupants.

Shared Wells and Sewage Disposal

In some cases, properties may share wells and sewage disposal systems with neighboring properties. The appraisal takes into account the condition and functionality of these shared resources. This evaluation ensures that the shared facilities provide adequate and safe services to the property. It’s essential to guarantee that these shared resources are not only functioning properly but also adhering to health and safety standards, promoting a secure and healthy living environment.


The presence of potential hazards around or within a property is another crucial aspect of the appraisal process. Hazards can encompass a wide range of issues, including environmental, health, or safety risks. Identifying these hazards is essential for safeguarding the well-being of the property’s occupants and maintaining its overall value. Whether it’s identifying environmental risks like contaminated soil or addressing health and safety concerns, the appraisal plays a pivotal role in ensuring that these hazards are recognized and managed.

Defective Conditions

The VA appraiser also thoroughly assesses the property for any defective conditions. These could include structural problems, safety concerns, or other defects that might compromise the property’s habitability or value. Recognizing and addressing these defective conditions is a vital step to ensure that the property meets the VA’s Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs), creating a secure and sound living space for veterans and their families.

Mechanical Systems

Mechanical systems within the property, such as plumbing and electrical systems, undergo close scrutiny during the appraisal. The functionality and condition of these systems are evaluated to ensure they are in proper working order. Having well-maintained mechanical systems is crucial for the property’s overall functionality, safety, and comfort.


The heating system’s performance is another focal point of the appraisal. A functional heating system is not only vital for maintaining a comfortable living environment but also for ensuring the safety of the property’s occupants, especially in colder regions.

Leased Mechanical Systems and Equipment

In some cases, properties may have leased mechanical systems or equipment. The appraisal takes into account the condition and performance of these leased items to ensure they meet the necessary standards. This evaluation helps guarantee that the property is equipped with reliable and functional systems and equipment, even if they are leased.

Alternative Energy Equipment

Properties that incorporate alternative energy equipment, such as solar panels, are evaluated to confirm their functionality and compliance with VA MPRs. This recognition of alternative energy sources not only contributes to a property’s value but also promotes energy efficiency and sustainability.


The condition of the property’s roof is a critical consideration during the appraisal. A well-maintained roof is not only essential for protecting the property from the elements but also for preserving its overall value. Roof issues can lead to leaks, structural damage, and decreased energy efficiency, making it a crucial component of the appraisal process.


Attics are inspected to ensure they are safe and in good condition. Issues such as leaks, insulation, and ventilation are considered during the appraisal. Proper attic maintenance contributes to the property’s energy efficiency, safety, and overall habitability.

Crawl Space

The condition of the crawl space is another aspect that undergoes examination during the appraisal. The crawl space is assessed to identify potential issues like moisture, mold, or structural problems. Ensuring that the crawl space is well-maintained and free from issues is vital for the property’s structural integrity and safety.


Basements are assessed for their safety and habitability. Issues related to water seepage, dampness, and structural integrity are considered during the appraisal. Proper maintenance of basements is essential to prevent issues like flooding, mold growth, and structural damage.

Swimming Pool

If the property includes a swimming pool, the appraisal evaluates its safety features and condition. Proper maintenance and safety measures are crucial for ensuring a secure and enjoyable pool environment. Addressing any issues related to the pool is vital for preserving its value and the safety of those who use it.

Burglar Bars

Safety features like burglar bars are assessed for their functionality and compliance with safety standards. These features contribute to the property’s security and are vital for the well-being of its occupants.

Lead-Based Paint

Properties built before 1978 are checked for lead-based paint hazards. Lead-based paint can pose health risks, especially to children. Proper remediation and lead-based paint abatement are required to ensure the safety of the property’s occupants.

Wood Destroying Insects/Fungus/Dry Rot

The appraisal also inspects for issues related to wood-destroying insects, fungus, and dry rot. These issues can compromise the property’s structural integrity and safety. Identifying and addressing these concerns is vital for the property’s long-term health and value.

Radon Gas

Radon gas levels are evaluated to ensure they are within safe limits. High levels of radon can pose health risks, including an increased risk of lung cancer. Managing and mitigating radon gas issues is crucial for the property’s safety.

Potential Environmental Problems

Potential environmental issues, such as contaminated soil or water, are assessed to identify and address any hazards. Ensuring that the property is not located in an area with environmental hazards is vital for the safety and well-being of its occupants.

Stationary Storage Tanks

Properties with stationary storage tanks are evaluated to ensure the tanks meet safety and environmental standards. Proper management of these tanks is essential to prevent leaks and contamination.

Mineral, Oil, and Gas Reservations and Leases

The presence of mineral, oil, and gas reservations or leases on the property is considered during the appraisal. These factors can affect the property’s value and potential future uses.

High Voltage Electric Transmission Lines

Properties located near high-voltage electric transmission lines are assessed for potential health and safety concerns. Proper safeguards are crucial to ensure the safety of the property’s occupants and to address any potential issues associated with these power lines.

High-Pressure Gas and Liquid Petroleum Pipelines

The presence of high-pressure gas and liquid petroleum pipelines near the property is evaluated to identify potential risks. Safeguarding against leaks and other safety hazards is essential when dealing with these pipelines.

Properties Near Airport

Properties located in proximity to airports are examined for potential noise and safety issues. It’s important to ensure that properties in such locations are equipped to deal with the unique challenges and benefits that come with their proximity to airports.

The appraisal process is comprehensive and covers a wide range of factors to ensure that the property is safe, habitable, and in compliance with VA Minimum Property Requirements

Additional MPR Recommendations

In addition to the specific Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs) outlined by the VA, there are additional recommendations that can help you ensure the property you intend to purchase is in excellent condition and a sound investment. These recommendations go beyond the minimum standards and focus on optimizing your home for long-term safety, comfort, and value. Here are some additional MPR recommendations:

  1. Regular Maintenance: Regular maintenance of your property is essential. This includes tasks such as keeping the gutters clean, inspecting and repairing the roof as needed, and ensuring that the HVAC system is serviced regularly. Proper maintenance not only enhances the property’s value but also prevents small issues from becoming major problems.
  2. Energy Efficiency: Consider making your home more energy-efficient. This can include upgrading insulation, installing energy-efficient windows and doors, and using programmable thermostats. These improvements not only reduce energy costs but also enhance the property’s overall value.
  3. Home Inspections: While a VA loan does not require a home inspection, getting one is highly recommended. A professional home inspector can identify issues that may not be covered by the VA appraisal, helping you make an informed decision about the property.
  4. Environmental Testing: Depending on your location, you might consider environmental testing. This can include radon testing, lead-based paint testing, or assessments for other potential environmental hazards. Identifying and addressing these concerns can improve the safety of your property.
  5. Safety Features: Install safety features such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and security systems. These not only provide peace of mind but can also increase the property’s appeal and value.
  6. Landscaping and Curb Appeal: Investing in landscaping and enhancing your property’s curb appeal not only makes your home more visually appealing but can also increase its value. A well-maintained garden, clean walkways, and a fresh coat of paint can go a long way.
  7. Addressing Minor Repairs: Even if minor repairs are not explicitly required by the VA MPRs, addressing them is a wise choice. Fixing leaky faucets, squeaky doors, or loose handrails can make your property more inviting and prevent small issues from escalating.
  8. Consult a Real Estate Agent: A real estate agent with experience in VA loans can provide valuable guidance. They can help you navigate the intricacies of the VA loan process and assist you in finding a property that aligns with your needs and budget.

What Happens if the Home Fails the MPRs

If the property you intend to purchase fails to meet the Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs) established by the VA, it’s essential to understand the implications and possible courses of action. Here’s what happens if the home does not meet the MPRs:

  1. Negotiation: If the property fails to meet the MPRs, you can negotiate with the seller to address the deficiencies. This may involve requesting that necessary repairs or improvements are made to bring the property into compliance.
  2. Repair Addendum: Your real estate agent can assist you in drafting a repair addendum, specifying the repairs or improvements required to meet the MPRs. This addendum is typically added to the purchase agreement.
  3. Seller’s Response: The seller can choose to accept, reject, or negotiate your repair addendum. If an agreement is reached, the necessary work should be completed before the closing.
  4. Reconsideration of Value: If the appraisal value is affected by the required repairs, the appraiser may need to revisit the property to reassess its value after the improvements are made.
  5. Proceeding with the Purchase: If an agreement is reached and the property subsequently meets the MPRs, you can proceed with the purchase as planned.
  6. Walking Away: If you cannot reach an agreement with the seller regarding the necessary repairs or if you are uncomfortable with the extent of the deficiencies, you have the option to terminate the purchase agreement. You may also explore other properties that meet the MPRs.

Understanding what happens when a property fails to meet the MPRs is essential for making informed decisions during the homebuying process. While the VA’s MPRs aim to ensure that the property is safe and habitable, the flexibility to negotiate repairs allows for a reasonable approach to addressing deficiencies and ensuring a successful home purchase.

To sum up, navigating the world of VA loans and their associated Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs) is a journey that demands attention to detail and thorough consideration. Whether you’re a veteran, active-duty service member, or a potential homebuyer, understanding the MPRs and their impact on your property is essential.

By working closely with real estate professionals, sellers, and appraisers, you can ensure that your prospective home meets these standards, guaranteeing a safe and habitable living environment. Additionally, going above and beyond the MPRs with additional recommendations can transform your new home into a haven of comfort and value.

Remember, the VA loan program is designed to provide you with the support you deserve, and by making informed decisions, you can secure not only a home but a promising future.