If you’re buying a home with financing backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), qualifying for your loan and coming up with a down payment is easier. However, it’s important to know the facts about FHA loans and roof requirements in Texas so you don’t run into unpleasant surprises.
FHA loans are popular with first time home buyers because your credit score and down payment don’t have to be as high as what lenders require for conventional financing. With as little as 3.5 percent down and a credit score of 580, the dream of homeownership could be yours. Even if your credit score is 500 to 579, you can still usually buy a home with just 10 percent down.
It’s possible because the government insures those loans for lenders. To protect their investment, the FHA has more strict requirements for the type of home you can buy. You’ll have a low down payment and reduced credit score requirement, but you’ll also have to adhere to roof requirements for FHA loans and pay mortgage insurance.
FHA’s Minimum Property Standards
The FHA only approves loans when the property involved meets standards for safety, security and soundness. They established standards for evaluating whether the home will protect your health and safety, will remain a secure investment and does not have defects that will harm its structural integrity.
An appraiser evaluates the property’s condition and reports the results on a specific form. Before you can close on your loan and take possession of the home, the appraiser must indicate it meets minimum property standards.
A property doesn’t have to be perfect to qualify for financing. If it has problems that are just cosmetic or due to normal wear and tear, the appraiser will note them, but they won’t disqualify your home. Here are a few examples of defects that won’t count against you.
- A small plumbing leak like a bathroom faucet that drips
- Evidence of previous termite damage that has been treated and repaired, with no new evidence of termites
- Carpet that is worn or needs re-stretching
- Scuffed paint or worn kitchen counter surfaces
Basically, issues that don’t threaten your health and safety or lead to long term damage won’t stop you from getting an FHA loan. Roofing issues are another matter.
FHA Loans and Roofing
If you’re using FHA financing to buy your home, these are the requirements:
- The roof must keep moisture out. It can’t have any leaks, and inspectors will look for evidence of water intrusion in the attic, on ceilings and everywhere else they typically show up.
- Your roof must have at least two years of life left in it. Your appraiser relies on standards and training to make that determination, but ultimately it’s their call. If they determine it has less than two years of remaining life, the appraisal is required to call for re-roofing or repair. If the seller isn’t willing to provide what the appraiser requests, the home won’t qualify for financing.
- The roof can’t have more than three layers of roofing material. If it does and your inspection reveals a need for repairs, the FHA will require a new roof.
FHA appraisers are trained to spot issues in a number of areas. They aren’t required to actually get on the roof for the inspection, so just because they clear your roof doesn’t necessarily mean it’s in great shape. They will, however, note noticeable holes, water damage or other problems on their report.
Other FHA Requirements
Your appraiser will also look at your electrical systems, plumbing, paint and other critical areas. It makes buyers nervous, and understandably so. If you’re looking at a home with an older roof or one that already looks dilapidated, be aware it could cause problems if the seller isn’t willing to make concessions.
If you’re the seller, you might wonder what’s going to happen when an inspector looks at your roof. Call us for a free, no-obligation roof evaluation and we can send a professional to check it out.