Do I need a home inspection if I'm buying a foreclosure using FHA?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty - Lakeside Market Center


An FHA appraiser is not a home inspector.  Yes, he or she will be conducting an on site viewing of the home and will note anything about the home that does not meet FHA guidelines however they are not as thorough as a home inspector.  

Think of them as an appraiser with a check list - nothing more.  


John Seeley of WIN home inspection in Macomb County Michigan




A home inspector will do things that an FHA inspector won't, such as in this photo showing John Seeley of WIN home inspection viewing the roof of the home to check for any flaws, damage, and estimated life span of the roof.




Mike Caire of Great Lakes Mortgage Funding in Macomb County MI

Yesterday I had an opportunity to sit down for a long chat with Mike Caira of Great Lakes Mortgage Funding in Sterling Heights and I asked him to fill me in on local issues that home buyers are having with FHA purchases.  

One of his top concerns for home buyers that want to purchase a bank owned home was having the utilities turned on to the home, and the home being de-winterized prior to the FHA appraiser viewing the home to do his/her job.

If you have a full home inspection it is always wise to have the utilities on and the plumbing of the home in working condition.


Once your home inspection is completed and you let your mortgage representative and your buyers agent know that you are happy and ready to proceed the FHA appraiser will come out to do their job.  The utilities will still be working in the home (if you had them turned on for your private home inspection) and the FHA appraiser will be able to do their job thoroughly without any glitches.

Keep in mind that if you don't have the electricity, water and gas turned on in the home prior to the appraisers visit and they have to make a 2nd trip that it will cost you more money.   

Protect yourself.

Get a thorough home inspection by someone hired by you and working in your best interests.  Have all utilities turned on and the home de-winterized.   You will be happy that you did this, and your appraisal on the FHA home will go smoothly and save you any re-visit fees.

~Kris Wales~  A Macomb County MI real estate agent

More first time home buyer articles can be read at


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Buyer Information - What Buyers Need to Know in Today's Market
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Tony Grego, 317-663-4173 #1 Trade Association for Alternative Inv
REISA - 317-663-4173 - Indianapolis, IN

I don't know why anyone would buy any home without an inspection. Does it make sense to pay anywhere from $10,000 to $10,000,000 and not pay the couple of hundred it cost to have a professional look at it.

Good post


Jan 14, 2009 09:28 PM #3
Kris Wales
Keller Williams Realty - Lakeside Market Center - Macomb, MI
Real Estate Blog & Homes for Sale search site, Macomb County MI

Mike:   Sounds like you had a lot to talk about with your client :-)

Amy:  Thank you.  I forgot to mention the important fact that you brought up - it's also an awesome education process for the future home owner.  They'll learn so much about the home they are buying.

Tony:   I've often wondered about that myself.  Thanks Tony.

Jan 14, 2009 09:46 PM #4
Randall Sandin
Carolina One Real Estate - Charleston, SC
843-209-9667 - Search for Charleston SC Real Estate

a home inspection is a must regardless of whether it is a foreclosue or new construction - and new construction needs two in today's market - pre-sheetrock and finished product

Jan 14, 2009 09:51 PM #5
Alan Gross
PrimeLending, A PlainsCapital Company, Equal Housing Lender - Bethesda, MD
Loan Consultant

To buy a foreclosure without an inspection a crazy. The bank is taking care of the home and who knows what the seller did before they left. And, particularly in cold climates, if the utilities have been off, who knows what other problems have been created. You need to know what you getting into.

Jan 14, 2009 10:13 PM #6
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate


Amen! NEVER buy a home without an inspection. It is well worth the extra money spent.

Jan 14, 2009 10:47 PM #7
Chip Jefferson
Gibbs Realty and Auction Company - Columbia, SC

Any home I sell is inspected. I don't want my buyers looking at me a few months or years down the road if major problems occur.

Jan 14, 2009 10:55 PM #8
Deb Taylor


It is funny how many buyers will forgo the inspection!  I have went as far as having them sign a waiver to the home inspection, so when and if something goes wrong they can not come back on me for not explaining the inspection to them!

Great Post

Jan 14, 2009 11:11 PM #9
Kris Wales
Keller Williams Realty - Lakeside Market Center - Macomb, MI
Real Estate Blog & Homes for Sale search site, Macomb County MI

Randall:   You brought up another important point (I love it when readers do this!)  Pre-drywall inspections for new construction.  Definately agree!

Alan:   About 95% of my buyers of foreclosures have had home inspections.  The other 5% are knowledgable enough to do them on their own (investors with backgrounds as contractors, etc)    Here in Michigan when the utilities are turned off we have a host of related problems with the homes.  Thank you for coming by and commenting Alan, I do appreciate it.

Dorie:   Well worth the extra money spent.  Ditto!

Laura:   Absolutely.  It's the best education a buyer can receive about their new home.

Deb:   I also have a waiver signed.  We do have to protect ourselves in the event of "You didn't ask me if I wanted an inspection..."

Jan 14, 2009 11:12 PM #10
Sonja Babic
Sonja Babic/PRIME Realty NC, LLC - New Bern, NC
New Bern NC, PRIME Realty NC, LLC

Always get an home inspection! Even if you cannot negotiate repairs you want to know what are you buying. Good info

Jan 14, 2009 11:13 PM #11
Charles McDonald
Charlottesville Real Estate Solutions - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR®, Blogger, Principal Broker®, Owner

It is never worth the risk not to use a home inspector! Good info!

your friend in Charlottesville!

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Jan 14, 2009 11:16 PM #12
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Good advice...a hundred years ago...or so it would brother and a friend bought a HUD house in northern Illinois....did a ton of work....and later, much later....found out that the hot water heat had been turned off....and with good reason, the radiators had holes in them....and they were expensive and difficult to replace...foreclosures are not for the faint of heart of light of wallet.

Jan 14, 2009 11:45 PM #13
Teri Eckholm
Boardman Realty - White Bear Lake, MN
REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro

Kris--It amazes me how many people confuse appraisers and inspectors. Home inspections should be done on every home by a professional regardless of financing. Good post!

Jan 15, 2009 01:19 AM #14
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

ALWAYS, ALWAYS have a home what I tell my buyers!!

Jan 15, 2009 03:46 AM #15
Jim Mushinsky
Centsable Inspection - Framingham, MA

All good information.  Sometimes I might add, if you're not satisfied with my answer, you might want to check read what the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development wrote: "For Your Protection: Get a Home Inspection".



Jan 15, 2009 04:43 AM #16
Terry & Bonnie Westbrook
Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner - Grand Rapids, MI
Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re

After 6 months or more of the redemption period where the seller knows he is losing the house. I bet they didn't fix much during that time then a few more months with no one in the house and the utilities turned off again no maintenance. Could be a year or so since anyone even considered doing anything to the house and now you want to buy it with no inspections. I guess you have to make that call.

Jan 15, 2009 07:49 AM #17
Diane Aurit
LKN Realty, LLC - Mooresville, NC
Lake Norman Real Estate

Good points!  I imagine that is a more common problem in cold areas of the country where people are more likely to turn off power but it's great advice for anyone.

Jan 15, 2009 09:03 AM #18
Michele Reneau
Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor - Summerville, SC
Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team

The worst part is that I had a buyer tell me that a lender told them they didn't need to do a home inspection since the FHA/VA appraiser does an "inspection." I was mortified and it took me quite a bit of time to explain and then convince the buyer to get an home inspection.  Thanks for providing this great post to remind buyers of this!

Jan 15, 2009 12:33 PM #19
Kris Wales
Keller Williams Realty - Lakeside Market Center - Macomb, MI
Real Estate Blog & Homes for Sale search site, Macomb County MI

Sonja:   Most times with bank owned homes repairs cannot be negotiated.  Buyers need to know exactly what that "as is" condition is.  Thanks for your comment Sonja.

Charles:   Thanks for coming by and commenting.

Sally and David:   Ouch.  Sounds like they didn't have a home inspection (or surely that would have been caught..)  It's hard to make expensiving mistakes like that, the only good thing was that it was a learning experience for them.

Teri:  Thank you.  Many people confuse an FHA appraisal with an inspection.  NOT the same thing by any means.

Jan 15, 2009 10:40 PM #20
Kris Wales
Keller Williams Realty - Lakeside Market Center - Macomb, MI
Real Estate Blog & Homes for Sale search site, Macomb County MI

Rebecca:   Especially on the bank owned homes!  Thanks Rebecca.

Jim:   That form is mandatory (at least in my area) for an FHA purchase.  I go over it with my clients as it does reiterate what I am counseling them about in relation to home inspections.  Great info.

Terry:   You're absolutely correct.  In most cases the home has been lacking even routine maintenance for many many months.  Homeowners who are losing their homes simply don't have the cash to keep working on them.  Good point.

Diane:  It is a huge issue for those of us in colder areas (frozen and cracked pipes, etc)  Thanks Diane.

Michele:   Here's a to-the-point response to that summary by a buyer:  "An FHA appraiser is in the home for about 15-30 minutes.  A home inspector will typically spend 2 1/2 to 3 hours in a home.  Which do you think is more thorough?"  That points it out clearly so there is no confusion.   Thanks Michele.

Jan 15, 2009 10:44 PM #21
Janice Roosevelt
Keller Williams Brandywine Valley - West Chester, PA
OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker

Such a great and important topic. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Feb 08, 2009 09:47 AM #22
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