"Curse of the VA Appraisal" - Halloween comes to Kitsap County WA

Real Estate Agent with Fathom Realty West Sound WA State 52404

Maybe it's just a bad dream, a horrible nightmare, or worse, another badly produced installment of 'Saw' or 'Friday the 13th'!curse-of-the-va-appraisal

But's it's the Halloween season on the spooky Kitsap Peninsula, and another one of my transactions has fallen prey to the "Curse of the VA Appraisal!".....

What began as a seemingly normal and relatively smooth contract between my Sellers and some wonderful Buyers, has suddenly spiraled into the deepest, darkest recesses of VA Hell...

To read the rest of the spine-tingling tale of VA terror, follow this link to SOUNDBITEBLOG (opens up into a new window for your viewing pleasure)


UPDATE:  I just received the following email from the Buyer's Lender that further re-states VA's extremely subjective and baseless requirement:

"Yes, I spoke to our underwriting manager and she said since the SAR (staff appraisal reviewer) ruled that the deck needed a rail in order to be in compliance with VA guidelines regarding Safe, Sound, and Sanitary conditions. I also spoke to the VA office in Denver and the gentleman I spoke with gave me pretty much the same answer. (except not so kind) I also asked both parties if this was documented anywhere and they said the section of the handbook addressing the Safe, Sound and Sanitary conditions would cover this issue."

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Rich Jacobson is a licensed real estate professional providing knowledgeable empowerment and relentless representation for his clients of residential properties and vacant land throughout all of Kitsap County WA and portions of Pierce, Mason, and Jefferson Counties. You can also find him at KitsapLife.com, SOUNDBITEBLOG and Crabbing in the Hood, or e-mail:  kitsapagent@gmail.com

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Rich Jacobson is a REALTOR® and licensed Broker with Fathom Realty. He's a Crab Hunter, Clam Digger, and Oyster Shucker, skilffuly vanquishing anything in a shell! He is the Social Media Evangelist for Life on the Kitsap Peninsula & The Western Puget Sound in scenic WA State.

Comments (12)

Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Lots of questions here. 

Was the property priced within range of current comps?

Did the listing agent meet the appraiser at the property and provide the comps used to price the property? 

So many question.

Oct 29, 2009 09:41 PM
Heather Adkinson
Windermere K-2 Realty LLC www.propertiesinmoseslake.com - Moses Lake, WA
Real Estate Agent - Moses Lake

I am hoping that i won't run into this anytime soon.

Oct 30, 2009 03:50 AM
Sheldon Neal
Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited - Maywood, NJ
That British Agent Bergen County NJ

Wow, frustrating after it looked like such a smooth start ! Good luck and hopefully by Christmas you'll have that smooth VA deal !

Oct 30, 2009 03:58 AM
Tom Boos
Sine & Monaghan Realtors, Real Living - Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Providing the very best of service to Sellers and

This is the same Government that will soon be running health care in this Country.  God help us all.

Oct 30, 2009 04:27 AM
Janice MacMillan
ERA Joyner Realty - Valdosta, GA
Associate Broker

Sorry to hear about your issues with the VA......sometimes it just makes you want to pull your hair out due to the frustration! Why do people have to make mountains out of molehills?

Oct 30, 2009 04:31 AM
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker


"Was the property priced within range of current comps?"

"Did the listing agent meet the appraiser at the property and provide the comps used to price the property?"

This had nothing whatsoever to do with valuation or comps. The appraiser did their job. As is typical of my listings (knock on wood) I always come in at value or slightly above. The appraiser didn't call out any conditions. It was someone at the VA regional office that reviewed the file and stipulated the railing requirement based on a subjective criteria. Normally, our VA appraisers use the WA State Building Codes as their benchmark for what is permissible. The WA State Code specifies 30" as the maximum height before railings are necessary. The VA pulled 18" out of thin air.

Oct 30, 2009 06:23 AM
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD


That figures. Now that it's that weekend, perhaps Freddy or one of his bros will pay this VA office a visit and scare the bejesus out of them.

Oct 30, 2009 11:29 AM
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

Rich... I'm sure there's at least 5 forms and a major delay involved that (thanks to our benevolent care takers) will cost everyone involved more stress and waste money. But, at least someone in the hallowed halls of the VA in Denver feels like they did their job. ;)  

Nov 01, 2009 05:22 AM
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector


if that is a photo of your client it looks to me like she took it pretty hard. It seems like many of these government programs are really complex anymore as far as paperwork.

Nov 03, 2009 12:32 PM
Michele Reneau
Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor - Summerville, SC
Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team

I've had several VA appraisel issues this year.  We were successful in contesting one of them and had to go above the appraiser to get resolution from the Dept of VA.  I had a client I referred to Charlotte, NC earlier in the year. They wanted to use their VA benefit and they wrote 3 offers and no seller would accept a VA offer.  Either they or their agent reasoned that there are too many issues with VA appraisel and inspection process that they didn't want to mess with it.  I can't believe the nerve of a seller to refuse an offer for this reason, but after some of the VA hell deals I have dealt with, I guess I understand.  It's still not fair to penalize the veteran. They did eventually find a builder and purchase new construction. 

Nov 06, 2009 12:08 PM
Kevin Hancock
Evergreen Home Loans - Poulsbo, WA
The Hancock Mortgage Team

Hi Rich,

I was curious what ever happened with the VA transaction.  Were you ever able to verify the VA's position that a railing needed to be installed?  Were you able to close?

I hope everything is going smoothly for you now!

Jan 21, 2010 06:34 AM
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Hey, Kevin.... We had to install the railing, even though there was nothing spelled out specifically in the VA guidelines, other than the very subjective 'poses a safety hazard' language. It ended on a good note. We closed and everyone was happy!

Jan 21, 2010 07:07 AM