FHA Minimum Property Standards Checklist in Florida
When purchasing a house in Florida, home buyers typically follow a series of steps tailored to their unique circumstances and preferences.
In Florida, just like in any other state, the home buying experience varies from person to person. Each individual embarks on a distinct path based on their specific needs and goals.
For instance, the ideal mortgage loan for one prospective homeowner in Florida may differ significantly from that of their neighbor right next door.
Let's consider a scenario where one person in Florida decides to pursue a conventional loan, which is not backed by the federal government. Meanwhile, another potential buyer in the same state chooses to obtain an FHA loan, which is insured by a federal government agency.
As a result, their respective home buying journeys diverge due to the contrasting processes involved in securing these types of loans.
When it comes to FHA loans in Florida, there are specific property requirements that must be met for potential homeowners to qualify. These FHA property standards outline the minimum criteria a home must meet.
Understanding these requirements is crucial for prospective Florida homeowners who wish to obtain an FHA loan. So, what exactly are these FHA property requirements, and how can potential buyers in Florida work towards meeting them?
Table of Contents
What Are The FHA Minimum Property Standards?
In Florida, a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) home loan is a mortgage that is backed by the Federal Housing Administration, which operates under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
This government-backed program provides protection to lenders in case borrowers fail to make mortgage payments.
One of the advantages of FHA loans in Florida is that they typically have lower down payment requirements and allow borrowers to have a lower credit score.
Generally, the minimum down payment requirement for an FHA loan in Florida is 3.5% of the home price, and a FICO® Score of 580 is acceptable.
However, it's important to note that Florida homes must also meet the FHA's minimum property standards requirements, which encompass the following:
Safety - Florida homes seeking FHA loan approval must meet specific standards for livability, ensuring a safe and healthy environment that eliminates common household hazards.
Security - The property should provide adequate protection to its occupants, addressing concerns related to safety and security.
- Soundness - Florida homes must not exhibit significant structural issues, such as bulging foundation walls, unsupported floor joists, or a cracked foundation.
Prior to financing a property with an FHA home loan in Florida, the Federal Housing Administration assesses the property to ensure its safety, security, and structural integrity.
If a home has substantial damage or poses potential health and safety risks, it will not qualify for an FHA loan.
The purpose of these FHA loan home requirements is to safeguard lenders and buyers from potential physical issues and hazards that may impact the health and safety of future residents of the property.
By enforcing these standards, the FHA aims to promote responsible homeownership in Florida and protect the interests of all parties involved.
How FHA Property Requirements Work
In Florida, the enforcement of FHA minimum property requirements is carried out through an FHA appraisal process.
This appraisal is similar to a home inspection and is conducted by an FHA appraiser who assesses the property for its safety, security, and soundness.
A HUD-approved appraiser personally visits the property in Florida to take photographs and detailed notes. They utilize a specific form to document information about the property and the surrounding neighborhood.
This comprehensive report summarizes the physical condition and features of the property, which may include, but are not limited to:
- Neighborhood characteristics.
- Housing trends in the area.
- Zoning classification.
- Summary of utilities.
- Dimensions and any adverse site conditions.
- Description of on-site and off-site improvements.
- Details about the foundation.
- Comprehensive interior and exterior description.
Furthermore, the appraiser in Florida will also provide an opinion on the value of the property by examining comparable properties (comps) in the local area.
By comparing the subject property to recently sold properties with similar characteristics, the appraiser determines its market value.
Depending on the type of property being appraised in Florida, the appraiser will fill out one of the following forms:
For single-family homes - Standard Uniform Residential Appraisal.
For condominiums - Fannie Mae Form 1073 or Freddie Mac Form 465.
For multifamily units - Fannie Mae Form 1025 or Freddie Mac Form 72.
- For manufactured homes - Fannie Mae Form 1004C or Freddie Mac Form 70B.
These specific forms are utilized to ensure that the appraisal process accurately reflects the unique characteristics of different types of properties in Florida, enabling a comprehensive evaluation that aligns with FHA guidelines.
FHA Minimum Property Standards Checklist
The FHA minimum property standards checklist provides guidance for FHA appraisers in Florida to evaluate various aspects of a property's real estate.
These standards ensure that the property is livable, with considerations for safety, security, and soundness. In cases where the property falls short of these standards, repairs or improvements must be made to meet the requirements.
Let's delve into more detail about the specific requirements for the interior and exterior of the property.
Interior FHA Loan Home Requirements in Florida
FHA home loan requirements for the interior of a home do not encompass cosmetic or minor issues that do not affect the property's safety, security, or soundness.
Here are some common indoor issues that FHA appraisers in Florida focus on:
Sufficient living space - The appraiser ensures that the home has adequate living space, meeting basic livability standards for habitation.
Handrails and railings - Staircases must have handrails or railings for safety, extending from the top to the bottom. Absence or deficiencies in these safety features will be noted in the appraiser's report.
Water supply - The property should have access to running water and all functioning utilities necessary for livability, including gas, electricity, and sewage.
Asbestos - FHA appraisers identify and report the presence of asbestos, a naturally occurring cancer-causing mineral. If asbestos is found, it must be removed from the property.
Doors and openings - Doors and openings, such as windows, should be in working condition and free from safety hazards like hinge issues. The appraiser checks for air infiltration and water penetration that could compromise the home.
- Crawl space - Basements and crawl spaces should be free from termite damage or signs of foundation or wall settling. They should also be well-ventilated and dry, without dampness or excessive moisture, as these could indicate underlying issues.
Exterior FHA Loan Home Requirements in Florida
FHA appraisers in Florida also assess the exterior of the property and look for the following:
Property and street access - The property should have proper access to a street or other means of reaching the home, ensuring ease of entry for homeowners.
Grading and foundation - The foundation must be properly graded to prevent water damage, with appropriate incline adjustments made by professionals. The appraiser checks for foundation cracks or evidence of settling. It should also adhere to local building codes and demonstrate durability.
Driveway condition - The driveway, aside from providing property access, should be free from large cracks or raised sections that could pose a tripping hazard. Significant safety concerns may require repairs to eliminate health risks.
- Roof - According to FHA guidelines, the roof should have a remaining physical life expectancy of at least two years. If it falls short of this requirement, the appraiser must note it in the appraisal report.
By adhering to these interior and exterior FHA loan home requirements, prospective homeowners in Florida can ensure their properties meet the necessary standards and qualify for FHA loans.
These guidelines aim to promote safe and secure housing for individuals seeking to purchase homes in the state.
Tips For Meeting FHA Minimum Property Requirements
In the event that a property in Florida does not meet the FHA minimum property standards but you still wish to purchase it, there are steps you can take to address the issues and get the necessary repairs done.
The key is to understand why the property did not pass the requirements.
Sometimes, the required repairs may be relatively simple, such as fixing a broken door or addressing an uneven, cracked driveway.
In such cases, various parties, including the seller, the buyer, or even the real estate agent (who may have a vested interest in the sale going through) can undertake the repairs to bring the property up to FHA standards.
However, if the property has significant damage that is unlikely to be rectified to meet the FHA minimum property standards, you may need to consider alternative options.
This could involve looking for a different home that meets the requirements or exploring other types of loans that are not tied to FHA standards.
Qualifying for a different type of loan may require additional steps.
For instance, you may need to work on improving your credit score, paying off outstanding debts, increasing your down payment amount, finding a co-signer, or searching for a more affordable property that aligns with the loan requirements.
It's important to carefully evaluate the situation and consult with professionals, such as lenders and real estate agents, to explore the best course of action based on your specific circumstances.
By being proactive and adaptable, you can navigate the situation effectively and work towards securing a suitable loan or finding a property that meets your needs.
What things will fail an FHA inspection?
When purchasing a home with an FHA loan, it's important to understand the factors that could cause the property to fail the FHA inspection.
The purpose of the inspection is to ensure the overall structural integrity and safety of the property for its occupants.
Let's explore some of the common issues that could lead to an FHA inspection failure and require repairs to proceed with the loan.
Severe Structural Damage - A property with significant structural damage, such as foundation issues, bulging walls, or unsupported floor joists, may fail the FHA inspection. These conditions pose risks to the stability and safety of the home.
Leakage and Water Damage - Excessive leakage or water damage, including roof leaks, plumbing leaks, or water intrusion in basements or crawl spaces, can jeopardize the structural integrity of the property. If not addressed, these issues may result in a failed inspection.
Dampness and Excessive Moisture - Dampness and excessive moisture within the property, particularly in basements or crawl spaces, can lead to mold growth, wood rot, and other related problems. The FHA inspection requires that the property is free from these issues to ensure a healthy living environment.
Decay and Rot - Any signs of decay or rot in the property, such as decaying wood, deteriorating siding, or damaged structural components, can raise concerns during the inspection. These conditions compromise the durability and safety of the home.
- Termite Damage - If the property shows evidence of termite infestation or termite damage, it will likely fail the FHA inspection. Termites can cause extensive harm to the structure and integrity of the property if left untreated.
In the event that the property fails the FHA inspection due to any of these issues, repairs will be necessary to meet the FHA minimum property standards. The repairs aim to ensure the safety and livability of the home for the future homeowner.
Working with professionals, such as licensed contractors and FHA-approved appraisers, can help identify and address these issues effectively.
By addressing the necessary repairs, you can bring the property up to the required standards, allowing the FHA loan process to move forward smoothly.
Remember, while encountering these issues might seem daunting, it's important to view them as opportunities to ensure the long-term value and livability of your prospective home.
By addressing these concerns early on, you can create a safe and secure living environment for you and your family.
If you're considering an FHA loan, be sure to stay informed about the inspection process and work closely with your lender and real estate professionals to navigate any challenges that may arise.
What minimum square footage requirements do FHA guidelines have?
When it comes to FHA loan guidelines, there is typically no specific minimum square footage requirement for most types of homes. However, there is one exception to this rule - manufactured homes.
According to FHA guidelines, all manufactured homes must meet a minimum size requirement of 400 square feet in order to qualify for FHA financing.
This requirement ensures that manufactured homes provide a sufficient amount of living space for occupants and adhere to basic livability standards.
Manufactured homes, also known as mobile homes, are built off-site and transported to their final location. These homes can offer an affordable housing option for many prospective buyers.
To ensure the safety, comfort, and overall quality of manufactured homes financed through FHA loans, the minimum size requirement is in place.
It's important to note that this requirement specifically applies to manufactured homes and not to other types of properties, such as single-family homes or condominiums. For these other property types, FHA guidelines do not set a minimum square footage requirement.
When considering an FHA loan for a manufactured home, it's crucial to ensure that the home meets or exceeds the 400 square feet minimum requirement.
This information is typically verified during the appraisal process conducted by an FHA-approved appraiser. They will assess the dimensions and overall size of the manufactured home to confirm its compliance with the FHA guidelines.
By understanding the specific minimum square footage requirement for manufactured homes, prospective homebuyers can make informed decisions when considering FHA financing options.
If you are interested in purchasing a manufactured home using an FHA loan, working closely with your lender and real estate professionals can help ensure that the property meets all necessary requirements for a smooth loan approval process.
Remember, FHA guidelines are in place to protect both the lenders and borrowers, promoting safe and suitable housing options for homebuyers.
The Bottom Line
Lenders have a vested interest in thoroughly assessing the condition of a home before approving a loan. They aim to ensure that the home can be sold at a price that minimizes potential financial losses in case the borrower defaults on payments.
Foreclosure is an undesirable outcome that lenders seek to avoid whenever possible.
To address these concerns, FHA loans require homes to meet the FHA minimum property standards. This means that an appraiser approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will conduct a comprehensive evaluation, considering both indoor and outdoor requirements.
The appraiser follows a checklist that covers various aspects, including neighborhood comparables. The focus is on assessing the safety, security, and soundness of the home.
While it may seem like an additional step, meeting these minimum property standards ultimately benefits and protects the future homeowner. It ensures that the home meets basic requirements and is a safe and secure investment.
If you're ready to move forward in your house-hunting journey, it's recommended to begin the application process online to explore your financing options.
This will help you understand the available loan programs and enable you to make informed decisions about your home purchase.
With over 50 years of mortgage industry experience, we are here to help you achieve the American dream of owning a home. We strive to provide the best education before, during, and after you buy a home. Our advice is based on experience with Phil Ganz and Team closing over One billion dollars and helping countless families.
About Author - Phil Ganz
Phil Ganz has over 20+ years of experience in the residential financing space. With over a billion dollars of funded loans, Phil helps homebuyers configure the perfect mortgage plan. Whether it's your first home, a complex multiple-property purchase, or anything in between, Phil has the experience to help you achieve your goals.