When do I have to replace a floor furnace on an FHA sale?
I have a house with a floor furnace, can we keep it or must it be replaced with another type of furnace?
The following information is true of FHA loans in general and not limited to the FHA 203k.
The floor furnace issue has been a misunderstood issue for as long as I can remember. The simple test that I have always used to determine if it must go or can it stay is "does it exist in a walkway or not?"
In a walkway...mmm. Can it be in a hallway and NOT be in a walkway? Yes, it can be provided it isn't going to be stepped on as you walk down that hall in a natural walk, not trying to step around it. Let’s look at a few…
Is this one going to block your path in the hallway? I don't think so, you would be okay with this if the only issue was the "natural walk test"
Let’s try another one...
Now this one is clearly in the walkway. There is no way you can walk around this in a natural walk. This furnace would have to be moved or replaced with a different kind of furnace altogether. This was a deal breaker on a home in SF. The borrower just wanted to install a garage and loose one bedroom, she grew up in this home and knew better than to walk on a hot furnace after fifty years of walking around it and wasn't going to fix it just to get a 203k loan.
How about this one?
If you guessed that it is clearly in the walkway you are correct...note the tools as this was one of those that I was called out to do a final inspection as the floor furnace was supposed to have been moved by the time I arrived... it wasn't but "it will be done by the end of the day, can you sign off with my promise that it will be done by the end of the day".... NO!
We have to see the work complete, that means we have to come back, yes, it might mean an additional inspection fee but you knew that before you made the appointment.
Remember the FHA "zero tolerance" policy for signing things off that aren't done. I had a real estate Broker who was a good friend tell one of my inspectors once that "if Mike were here he would sign this item off" my inspector quizzed me on it and I said NOT in a hundred. If you were really my "good friend" you won't have asked us to commit fraud...mmm let me think. I chewed him out for that but good.
Back to the floor furnace...
This one is a little more difficult to call but I'm afraid it is in the walkway and must be corrected, removed, moved to a safe place, used as a return air can for a new forced air system.
Does that mean all floor furnaces in a hallway must be removed?
NOPE... here is one that doesn't have to be removed...
This floor furnace doesn't stick out much more than the hamper and therefore wouldn't be considered a hazard and wouldn't have to be moved.
In fact this particular floor furnace in the Berkeley Hills home is a brand new one.
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