What are the VA Loan appraisal requirements?

Learn about the VA home loan appraisal requirements in order to be approved for a mortgage.
Erik Sandstrom

Erik Sandstrom

Mortgage Expert

Hi, my name is Erik Sandstrom. I’m a proud sponsor and mortgage expert on LoanSafe.org. I’m also a sale’s manager and loan officer with Caliber Home Loans. If you have a question or are looking for a VA Loan with the best rates, please call me direct at 619-379-8999 or email me using the contact form below.

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If you are a veteran or a surviving spouse and are interested in securing a VA home loan, you will eventually have to go through the VA home loan appraisal process in order to be approved for a mortgage. As the name suggest, things are fairly straightforward: the VA will order the appraisal and the Department of VA will put an approved independent appraiser of choice in charge of your case.

When you place an offer on a home and it is accepted by the seller, the sales contract will then be forwarded to your lender who will order an appraisal by an appraiser to determine if the sales price the home sold for is the actual fair market value.

Please keep in mind that the appraiser does not work for the lender, the buyer, and or the seller. Their fiduciary duty is to determine the subject property’s true current market value. In order to effectively price the property, the appraiser will physically visit the property, take pictures and then compare the property to similar homes in the area that have sold in the past six to 12 months.

The appraiser will also be on the lookout for any safety and repair issues in and around the property such as the home’s mechanical systems, potable water supply, domestic hot water, and sewage disposal systems are built to city code and are not in need of costly repair. If the VA appraiser find issues with the home, they will make the purchase “subject to repair” of these items.

This is a plus for the buyer because the last thing a new homeowner needs is to fork over hundreds and or thousands of dollars for unforseen repairs that could cause the loss of the home or safety issues for their family.

The appraisal fee will be paid by the buyer and can range anywhere from $350-$750. It is not cheap and there is no way around this cost. To find a list of appraisal fees for VA loans by state, check out the VA’s Home Loan official website here.

You can unfortunately not choose an appraiser, as there could be conflict of interest issues which the lender wants to avoid. A lot of people worry that VA appraisers might be on the “pessimistic” side, in other words that they tend to offer lower valuations but that is definitely not the case. These people are professionals who will determine how much a certain property is worth based on facts and nothing but facts (sales prices in your surrounding area, for example). If the VA appraisal is below the amount the seller is willing to offer the house for, you can ask for a reconsideration of value, ask the seller to reduce the price or pay a higher rate.

All in all, the process will be anything but a nightmare as long as you follow the rules. Be sure to order your appraisal as soon as possible in order to avoid possible problems which came as a result of appraisal delays and again: make sure that your home is in decent condition at the very least and that all repairs (if any) have been finalized.