FHA Home Inspection Checklist

by | BiggerPockets.com

As any investor who has ever sold a property to an FHA buyer knows, there is at least one mandatory FHA inspection that must be completed by the lender prior to the closing of the property.

I often get asked what types of things do FHA inspectors/appraisers look for during these FHA inspections, and what types of things will cause a property to fail an FHA inspection. I’ve had that same question in the past, so I asked an FHA underwriter that I have worked with on several occasions if he could clue me in on the types of things that are flagged during these inspections.

He was kind enough to forward me a full list of “minimum FHA property requirements,” which essentially translates to the FHA home inspection checklist. While this list is by-no-means a formal checklist followed by FHA inspectors, it’s a good set of guidelines. Just because you meet all these requirements doesn’t mean you’ll pass an inspection, and just because you may not meet one or more requirements doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll fail an inspection. That’s up to the inspector/appraiser/underwriter to determine.

In other words, don’t put too much faith in this list, and don’t blame me if your inspector has other criteria that he uses…

In fact, as the document itself explains:

This list is for reference only and does not guarantee compliance with FHA Minimum Property Requirements. Minimum Property Requirements are to insure the health and safety of the occupants and/or the marketability of the property.

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The Home Inspection Checklist & Guidelines

Site Hazards and Nuisances

Presence of the following may indicate unacceptable property condition:

  • Sinkholes
  • Active or planned gas-drilling within 300 feet
  • Within 75 feet of operating oil/gas well with no visible mitigation measures
  • Abandoned oil or gas well within 10 feet
  • Slush pits
  • Excessive noise or hazard from heavy traffic area
  • Dwelling or improvements within 10 feet of easement for high-pressure gas or petroleum line
  • Dwelling or improvements within fall distance for overhead towers (high-voltage, radio/TV, cell phone etc)
  • Excessive smoke, fumes, offensive noises or odors
  • Stationary storage tanks with more than 1000 gallons of flammable or explosive material

Soil Contamination

Presence of the following may indicate unacceptable property condition:

  • Surface evidence of underground storage tank
  • Proximity to dumps, landfills, industrial sites that could contain hazardous materials
  • Presence of pools of liquid, pits, ponds, lagoons, stained soils or pavement

Grading and Drainage

Presence of the following may indicate unacceptable property condition:

  • Grading does not provide drainage away from structures
  • Standing water near structures

Individual Water and Sewage Systems

  • Presence of the following may indicate unacceptable property condition:
  • Private sewage system show evidence of system failure
  • Separation between well and septic drain field less than 100 ft, (75 ft may be acceptable if local authorities allow.)
  • Separation between well and property line is less than 10 ft. (If local authority requires greater distance that requirement must be met.)
  • Property lacks connection to public water (Lender/jurisdiction may require water test and connection to public water if feasible.)

Wood Destroying Insects

Presence of the following will require a termite inspection and treatment if infestation is present:

  • Structure is ground level and wood is touching ground
  • House or other structure show obvious evidence of infestation
  • Local jurisdiction requires inspection
  • Inspection is customary to the area

Private Road Access

Presence of the following may indicate unacceptable property condition:

  • Property inaccessible by foot or vehicle
  • Property accessible only by private road without permanent recorded easement

Floor Support Systems

Presence of the following may indicate unacceptable property condition:

  • Significant cracks
  • Evidence of water damage
  • Evidence of spongy/weak/rotted flooring


Presence of the following may indicate unacceptable property condition:

  • Significant cracks
  • Visible holes in exposed areas that could affect structure
  • Damaged plaster, sheetrock, or ceiling materials in homes constructed before 1978
  • Significant water damage


Presence of the following may indicate unacceptable property condition:

  • Inadequate access
  • Evidence of holes
  • Support structure damaged
  • Significant water damage visible from interior
  • No ventilation by vent, fan, or window


Presence of the following may indicate unacceptable property condition:

  • Blocked or inadequate access
  • Evidence of significant water damage
  • Significant cracks or erosion in exposed areas that affect structural soundness

Crawl Space

Presence of the following may indicate unacceptable property condition:

  • Blocked or inadequate access
  • Space inadequate for maintenance (recommended 18 inches)
  • Support beams not intact
  • Excessive dampness or ponding of water


Presence of the following may indicate unacceptable property condition:

  • Significant cracks that could affect structural soundness


Presence of the following will require a roof inspection and possible repair:

  • Missing tiles, shingles, flashing etc
  • Signs of leakage

Furnace/Heating System

Presence of the following may indicate unacceptable property condition:

  • Unit does not turn on
  • Heat is not emitted
  • Unusual noise
  • Smoke or irregular smell
  • Significant holes or deterioration on unit

Electrical System

Presence of the following may indicate unacceptable property condition:

  • Electrical switches don’t work
  • Outlets don’t work
  • Presence of smoke or sparks from outlet
  • Exposed, frayed or unconnected wiring

Plumbing System

Presence of the following may indicate unacceptable property condition:

  • Significant drop or limitation in water pressure
  • No hot water
  • Toilets don’t function or have been removed
  • Toilet leaks
  • Sinks/bathtub/shower leaks (very minor leaks may be acceptable)
  • Sinks/bathtub/shower does not work or have been removed
  • Swimming pools not operational, in bad repair or not maintained


Presence of the following may indicate unacceptable property condition:

  • Chipped or peeling paint on interior or exterior of home and/or structures and improvements if home built before 1978.
  • Chipped or peeling paint on exterior surfaces if finish is unprotected (ie, bare wood) if home built after 1978.


Presence of the following may indicate unacceptable property condition:

  • Missing or inoperable exterior doors
  • Broken or missing stairs
  • Absence of built-in appliances
  • Absence of free-standing stove (Santa Ana HOC only)

About Author

J Scott

J Scott is a full-time entrepreneur and investor, living in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. In 2008, J and his wife, Carol, decided to leave their 80-hour work weeks in Silicon Valley to move back East, start a family, and try something new: real estate. Since then, they have bought, built, rehabbed, sold, lent-on, and held over 300 deals, encompassing over $40 million in transactions. J also runs the popular website 123Flip.com, is an active contributor on BiggerPockets.com, and is the author of three books on real estate investing. His books, The Book on Flipping Houses and The Book on Estimating Rehab Costs, have sold more than 100,000 copies in the past five years and have helped investors from around the world get started investing in real estate.


  1. I’m working several short sales on houses in Florida and the inspection report on one of them shows Chinese drywall (I didn’t see this one coming). Maybe this should be added to your already-excellent list as well. Thank you for your insights on FHA inspections.

  2. It really does seem to be based on the inspector, I recently heard of a home that failed inspection because it was missing a couple of switch plate covers. Another because the carpet wasn’t clean enough…

  3. Morris Wetherington on

    As an FHA appraiser I can tell you that the most relavant issue to the inspection is looking for material defects that affect market value. Light switch covers are differed maintainance, chinese drywall is a major problem an affects market value. Most everything you have included on your list impacts market value. Issues of material cost, envioromental or external factors all play a role in determining market value.

    • I am a realtor. And will be proceeding on to the FHA inspection with my clients.

      Will a raised piece of sidewalk (large tree roots involved) up to 2 inches raise a red flag? It was already cited with the city and must be replaced within 6 months of new occupancy.

      Question: For now at least to pass the FHA inspection, can the owners do any preliminary patching to smooth out this elevation?

  4. We recently had a home inspection (I hired) and the septic failed. If I am going FHA does the septic have to be fixed before the FHA inspection or can the money be held in escrow until the sale and the septic fixed.

    • Would love to have the answer to Dee’s Federal Pacific electrical box question as well. I was just told that there are “New FHA standards” and that these boxes are included and must be changed?

  5. My home just passed the FHA inspection and I was told there were no objections about the FP electric box. I only have the dryer and stove on this FP box while all of my other electrical is on a newer braker box. My house was built in 1927, so it met the codes for the age of the house. -Dee 12-3-10

  6. I was wondering about if carpet or other flooring is needed. The house we are looking at has tile in the bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room. The livingroom, hallway and bedrooms are all missing carpet. There is some of the carpet padding left but for the most part it is simply the sub floor. Will this prevent me from passing an FHA inspection? The house is a foreclosure and they will not fix it.

  7. I was wondering about crawlspace..My daughter is purchasing a home and it failed the inspection becasue of moisture in the crawlspace.There are several differnt ways to contain the moisture but my concern is what will pass the nexy inspctin.What is FHA code regulation on what to do?

    • Moisture in crawlspace: Dry down the crawl space – If wood surfaces are discolored [ceiling area] this may take a bio-scrub cleaner than sealing the wood surfaces with a mold wood sealer [Perma Guard] / Dirst floor areas must be covered and sealed with a 6 to 10 mil plastic vapor barrier overlaped 6″ with sealed seals and wall area. If you know why the crawlspace got wet in the first place and correct that situation – properly ventalate and you should be OK

  8. I am in the process of selling a condo in DC. Two questions about the FHA inspections:
    1 – The gas stove has not been used for several years. I cannot keep the pilot light on, hence the burners are not working. Does the stove need to be in working order?
    2 – There are four outside windows. All open and close but one does not stay up. Is this a problem?

  9. need to know if ac/heat has to be working at the time,we are waiting for it to be fixed by seller,but they have to wait for the money from the sell of the home,is that allowed?

  10. I have a question for you inspectors out there. I’ve been getting calls for FHA inspections lately. I am a home inspector, but I don’t know much about fha inspection requirments. Do you need 250 prior inspections to be qualified for fha inspector. do I need to be certified through california FHA Programs. thanks for any input.

  11. I am trying realy hard to understand things my finance has been trying to get fha loan he has already had 2 diffrent closing dates its like the appraiser comes out sends his paperwork in they say everything is good with that part n then right before closing date they come up with more they say termite bond was all we were waiting for now were at the 3rd closing date n were back to the appraisal not being good anymore that there r things that need to be done to the house like peeling paint needs to be scraped n painted I just realy feel like there gonna make m spend all money n not have money for closing costa n then I worry bout a run around

  12. I am trying to buy a house where the seller is being very stingy and will not pay to have things fixed that may show up on the FHA inspection. My question is about a very strong cat odor in the house. When my wife and I along with our Realtor first saw the house we were taken aback by the very strong cat smell throughout the house, the owner states that she had dogs not cats but out Realtor had to step out of the house several times because she has a cat allergy. I am trying to find out is can or will the carpets that are impermiated with this smell and some of the other flooring that is ripped up because the owner’s dog chewed it up will be seen as a health hazard and or affecting the market value of the house, forcing the owner to replace the carpets?

  13. We are going through the process with an FHA inspector but we are failing the inspection because he is saying there is chipping paint..and our house is built in 1990…but from what i understand on here if there isnt bare wood showing then it shoouldn’t be an issue? Just needing some opinions? thanks

  14. I had been told that an FHA inspector will require a railing going down the stairs to the basement area. There is one section in this otherwise great 1900’s home, that is wide open at the bottom of the stairway. We are trying to anticipate all issues before the inspection, since this home is sold “as is”.

  15. I just had an fha inspection today. My 19 year old son was responsible for having the dogs out of the house today. He did do that. However when I came home I saw 3 tiny turds on the floor. My dog normally doesnt have accidents. The one time he could have an accident an fha inspector came to the house. My house has no pet odor or staining on the carpet. My house is very clean. I was wondering if this will fail the fha inspection. This house is only 7 years old and has passed the buyers inspection, now just crossing my fingers on after this today.

  16. I was wondering if anyone knew if not having any electrical outlets in the bathroom would still pass the FHA inspectio. The bathroom was slightly updated and from what i understand the electrical outlets use to be in the light fixture above the vanity. After the updating, wall outlets were never put in. Im trying to buy this house and am more than capable to put them in myself, but am worried my FHA loan wont go thru because this will be a red flag to the FHA inspector.

  17. We are about to have the fha inspector come out to a house that we just entered escrow on. the house was built in the 1950’s and it does have some chipped or peeling paint along the siding on one exterior wall. the wood is not expossed but you can see signs that the paint is fading. The other issue is the thermistate, it does not work but the heater will turn on at the unit. how concerned should i be about failing this inspection?

  18. Nice list. As an FHA appraiser, I’m looking for the three “S”s of FHA: Safety, Soundness and Security. HUD wants properties that have economic longevity and they want to ensure occupants are not exposed to any health and safety issues.

    Regarding the free-standing stove, as an FYI, I’ve been told exactly the opposite from Santa Ana HOC (Home Ownership Center). A free-standing stove is not required, but only a drop-in stove. However, the lender almost always requires a free-standing stove to be present. In my reports in cases where a free-standing stove is missing, I don’t require a stove to be present, but usually the lender wants there to be a stove (so I go back out to verify one has been instaleld and all other issues have been fixed).

  19. Excellent checklist! It is very thorough and might make people think that no property could ever qualify for FHA financing, so I am glad that you prefaced it by saying that having one item won’t necessarily make the home ineligible.

  20. Very Informative.

    A property I’m trying to buy with a 203K just failed because “emergency vehicle accessibility.” The next day the appraiser went on vacation and so, in the meantime, I’m trying to the specific regulations for emergency vehicles. If anyone has information on this topic – type of vehicle, max distance from home, etc, I’d be extremely appreciative.


  21. I am trying to purchase a home and just learned from the listing agent that the distance between the septic and the well MIGHT be too short. FHA requires 100 ft between the leaching fields and the well. However, the town that the house is in says that 75 ft is good enough so I’m pretty sure that FHA makes an exception in this situation. Having said that, no one knows where the darn well is even located! The city health district does not have a map available because the house was built in 1957; there are no records of its’ exact location and no signs of a well cap anywhere in the yard. Should this be something that the listing agent finds out before putting a house on the market.? Since now we have to have a well inspector to come out and locate the well, should the cost for this service be the homeowner’s responsible? Is this just an ethical issue or a legal one too? The cost for this service can range from $150-$1500 depending on what measures they have to take to find it. It doesnt seem like an expense that I should dish out as the potential buyer. Especially considering that I’m already taking the risk and paying for the septic inspection, the home inspection, and the well’s flow and water tests.
    Any comments from professionals would be greatly appreciated!

  22. We are about to go thru FHA appraisal on a foreclosure that is oddly in great shape. We have 2 potential issues we’re wondering about:

    1. Ivy growing on house. No structural damage that we can see, but it’d take 1-3 months to remove it (spray, wait for it to die, then cut it down).

    2. Inadequate heat. 1200 sq feet with only one baseboard heater on main level (1 1/2 story) and one small wall heater in bathroom. Plumbed for a propane free standing fireplace, but someone took it out.

    • We are trying to get a reverse mortgage we live in the county of camp in Tx We have paid $500 for appraisal and now they say we have to have a letter of occupancy We don’t know where to go as it is not required in Camp county We are living in our home The have Sent a FHA appraiser We don’t know what to do

      • Grover, you ought to ask the lender what exactly they are asking for and they should be able to provide you some guidance for where to obtain the document they need. This is not something the appraiser provides or is licensed to verify. The appraiser probably did not require a certificate either. This is very likely a request being made by the lender based on their lending guidelines. If the lender cannot provide you guidance, at the least you can call City Hall, the Assessor or your county to see if they can furnish a certificate as such. You can of course contact FHA at 800-CALL-FHA too, but keep in mind the lender may have guidelines that go beyond what FHA requires, which is why it is important to start with the lender first. Best wishes.

  23. Mike Middlemas on

    I am being told that I have to replace a door between my garage and the house with a 1 hour fire rated door with a self closer. Is there some code that requires this? I have a perfectly good fiberglass door that is rated for 20 minutes.

    • Mike, the door should conform to whatever your local code requires for safety. It would be great to give you an end-all answer, but the best thing you can do is check in with what your city or county says. Then if your door is indeed adequate, send that information to the loan officer (who will then get it to the appraiser). The appraiser can always change his/her mind about calling for repairs based on new information.

  24. David Micalizzi


    I just got an inspection done on a house I want to buy and it showed movements on the front wall that might require star bolt to be installed, at least 6 of them according to the inspector. The inspector said there will need to be resolved at some point in the near future. I am using an FHA loan and I was wondering if such a problem will prevent me from getting the loan.

    Thank you.

    • Hi David. This is an interesting issue. First off, the appraiser might not ever see the inspection report, so unless there is an obvious issue, the appraiser might not call for any repairs at all simply because he/she does not know about the issue. Ultimately if there are any known issues that impact the structural integrity of the home, they should be called out to be repaired by the appraiser. One thing to consider too is that sometimes home inspections highlight every possible issue. You can walk through a house and then feel like it is about to fall apart after a home inspector combs through it.

  25. Our house that we are selling was stated to close yesterday. The buyer who is getting an FHA loan was “cleared to close” and at the very last moment the FHA refused to release funds due to my shed which is 35 feet from my house was missing 1 – yes that is ONE shingle on the base of the shed. This shed is about 10×10 and houses a wheelbarrow and a lawn mower. One shingle was missing and they failed the FHA. That is disgusting. There was no other issues, the actual house was stated in perfect working and living condition. How is this possible? Also behind where the shingle would be, is the wood of the shed, so there was no access to it or anything, it was literally just a decorative shingle came off and I got rid of thinking it wasn’t a big deal..

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