homeowner and inspector doing a home inspection with checklists

The Complete Guide to FHA Home Inspection Checklists

By The GoCanvas Team on September 17, 2021

homeowner and inspector doing a home inspection with checklists

Passing an FHA home inspection is necessary when purchasing a home with an FHA loan. FHA loans pose a number of advantages for some borrowers. They can make loans possible with a lower credit score, which may be the only way that some borrowers can get the loans they need to move into their own properties. However, navigating an FHA home inspection can prove more challenging than navigating the inspection process for other types of loans. Home inspection checklists are key to ensuring that every requirement is fulfilled. 


What is an FHA home inspection?

An FHA home inspection takes an in-depth look at the entire property. Its goal is to ensure that the property fits the standards required for an FHA loan before the loan is improved. An FHA home inspection is used to determine the true market value of a home and to evaluate how much a home loan can be approved for the buyer. It also determines if the home is in good condition, or determines if there are any red flags that would make it a poor choice for the buyer.

Keep in mind that an FHA home inspection serves two key purposes. Its primary job is to protect the lender. If the buyer, who may already have a low credit score if they choose to apply for an FHA loan instead of another type of property loan, ends up in an unlivable property that does not meet those critical standards, they may not be able to manage upkeep on the property or take care of those vital repairs. Often, that can cause the buyer to fall behind on payments or even to abandon the property altogether, which the lender does not want to happen.

That inspection, however, can also provide a vital layer of protection to the buyer. Home buyers do not want to end up in a property that fails to meet minimum safety standards.The FHA home inspection will help ensure that the property is safe, reasonably well-maintained, and has a lower chance of leaving the owner with serious maintenance costs in the first few years residing there.


What do inspectors look for in an FHA home inspection?

During an FHA home inspection, the inspector will take a look at all the vital elements of the home and the surrounding area. The inspector will look for signs of:

  • Property concerns. Disturbances on the property, including sinkholes, oil or gas wells, or abandoned wells. The inspector will look for anything that might make the property dangerous for inhabitants.
  • Building issues. Structural problems and defects, including any signs that the property has foundation damage or wall damage. The inspector may, for example, take a look at any water marks on the walls or ceiling, or search for cracks in the foundation.
  • Accessibility concerns. Access to the property, including both vehicle and foot access and how difficult it may prove to get to the property in the event of an emergency. Stairs may also require handrails in order to protect the property owners. 
  • Signs of pest infestations. While some bugs or pests outdoors are normal, if there are signs of infestation indoors, from termite tunnels to obvious signs of rodent droppings, the inspector may deny the loan on the property until the infestation is dealt with.
  • Problems with the plumbing or wiring. The inspector may take a look at any leaking pipes, unsafe wires, or other hazards that could cause serious dangers to the residents of the property or to the property itself.
  • Roofing inspection. In order to pass an FHA inspection, a roof will need to be strong enough to last for two or more years, with no obvious problems like leaks or moisture buildup that could pose a serious hazard down the road. 

In essence, an FHA home inspection is designed to look for any potential problems with the property. The problems most flagged by an FHA inspector are those that could pose a danger to the residents or those that could pose a serious structural problem, including those that might result in severe damage to the property itself. 


Is it hard to pass an FHA home inspection?

Passing an FHA home inspection is harder than passing other types of home inspections because if the inspector identifies serious problems with the property, those problems will have to be dealt with before you can secure a loan. However, if a home is safe, in good repair, and has no obvious problems, you should pass an FHA home inspection fairly easily. 


What will fail an FHA home inspection?

There are several factors that could impact the ability to pass an FHA home inspection. Ultimately, however, there are three issues that the inspector is looking for. If the home inspected falls into one of these three key categories, a loan will likely be denied. 


#1. The house is unsafe for habitation in some way.

Many homes are no longer safe for habitation for a variety of reasons. In some cases, an inspection may uncover electrical hazards that should have been dealt with years ago, including out-of-date wiring that could mean a serious hazard for residents of the home. In other cases, your inspector might notice serious signs of water damage, which could lead to mold buildup and, ultimately, to serious problems. 

In other cases, the house may have structural damage that could even cause it to collapse in the near future. Pests and rodents could pose a potent danger, since they can raise the risk of disease and infection for residents of the home. 

If the home is unsafe for habitation for any reason, the FHA inspector will likely list that in his demands. Sometimes, that issue is one that the sellers can fix up quickly, which will get the loan approved more easily. In other cases, however, the FHA inspector may identify a serious underlying problem that could pose a substantial danger to residents of the property, including one that the sellers cannot fix up easily before selling the property. In that case, the buyer might not be able to secure the loan they’re hoping for. 


#2. The home is unsanitary in some way.

Unsanitary living conditions are extremely hazardous for the residents of the home, and FHA inspectors will not approve those loans or allow the home to pass inspection until those things are dealt with.

Rodents–or clear signs of rodent droppings–are a key example of an unsanitary home, as are bug infestations. Other problems could include mold buildup that should have been addressed long before or sewage issues, including sewage backing up into the drains on the property. 

Often, sanitary issues are possible for the home sellers to fix up, which would make it possible for the home to pass inspection. However, these are concerns that buyers will need to deal with prior to purchasing the property.


#3. The home has clear signs of structural damage.

If the home has obvious signs of structural damage, chances are, it’s something the current homeowners won’t be able to fix up quickly. If the home is not sound, it could collapse–and that could mean serious injury to the home’s residents. Any time a home has obvious structural problems, it will not pass FHA inspection. 


What areas are checked in FHA home inspection checklists?

The FHA Home Inspection Checklist covers a variety of areas, including:

  • The roof
  • The property itself, including both potential access points and any possible damage to the property
  • The wiring
  • The hot water heater
  • The plumbing
  • Bathrooms, to ensure that all bathrooms are working and provide adequately for the needs of the home’s residents
  • Heating and cooling
  • Potential pest infestations
  • The structure of the property
  • The bedrooms, including ensuring that all bedrooms have windows to provide additional access to the property

FHA inspectors may need to go through the entire property in order to make sure they have identified any potential hazards. They may check everywhere, including in attics and basements, to make sure that there are no obvious signs of property damage that need to be dealt with before the loan can be approved. 


What are the benefits of going digital with FHA home inspection checklists?

GoCanvas offers a template that can be used by FHA home inspectors to streamline the inspection process using a mobile device or tablet.

Inspection companies have found that by going digital, they are able to save time when performing inspections and creating the report. With all of this done electronically using a mobile app, it cuts down on data entry and manual processes that are common when using just paper forms.

Access the GoCanvas FHA home inspection template here for an easy to use digital checklist for the home inspection process. 


fha inspection checklist document