Understanding Lake Charles Real Estate Appraisals

If a Lake Charles home buyer is obtaining a mortgage to purchase a Lake Charles home, an appraisal will be required.  The property must appraise at or above the contract price in order to obtain financing.  If the appraisal comes in at a lower value, the sales price will have to be re-negotiated with the Seller.

Keep in mind that if  you are purchasing a Foreclosure, repairs are going to be required.  If an Appraiser makes any notes of items not working or repairs needed to the property, those items will need to be addressed and fixed in order for you to obtain financing.  There is also an extra charge incurred if an Appraiser has to go back out to a home to confirm that repairs have been completed.

Listed below is a quick list of common reasons an appraiser may make noted repairs needed or reject the Lake Charles Home according to the FHA Guidebook for Appraisers:

Must have access to all of the crawl space areas

Major water build up in the crawl space is not allowed and must be remedied

Any areas of wood rot must be removed and repairs
Ventilation and vapor barrier are required
At least 18* clearance is required from the floor joist to the ground
If the crawl space has been dug out the earth cannot be disturbed within 1 foot of the stemwall or pier supports. If the earth has been disturbed, then a retaining wall must be installed.
If a sump pump is being used,it must be hard wired. Extension cord hook ups are an extreme safety hazard and cannot be used.

Access must be provided (except where there is no attic space such as some vaulted ceiling or in mobile homes)
The attic access opening cannot be smaller than 14″ x 22″
Attic must be adequately ventilated providing positive airflow with no dead airspace.

The roof must have at least 3 years of remaining life.
Roofing on slopes of 2 1/2:12 or less must be installed by a licensed roofer using built-up roofing that means the Uniform Building Code. Rolled roofing is not acceptable.
FHA will accept a maximum of 3 layers of roofing material. If more than two layers of roofing exist and re-roofing is required, all of the old roofing must be removed as part of the re-roofing. The placement of composition shingles over wood shake shingles is not acceptable.

A single main shut off breaker is required
If more than one breaker must be tripped to disconnect the power a new service panel is required
The main service must be at least 100 amp if it is less a new service is required

NOTE: These electrical requirements eliminate most pre-1960 homes that have not had an electrical upgrade. If FHA is the only financing option then a 203K program should be considered to finance the improvements.

The heating and cooling system must have at least 2 years of remaining life
Wood stoves or solar heating are not acceptable as the sole heat source.
NOTE: These heating requirements may eliminate most pre-1960 homes that have not had a heating system upgrade. If FHA is the only financing option then a 203K program should be considered to finance the improvement.

MUST have an installed safety release valve (SRV)
The SRV must have a discharge line that drains to the outside of the home. It cannot reduce the size from the valve outlet. In the case of a basement installation with a drain the discharge line must exhaust 6″-24″ from the floor.
NOTE: The safety Release Valve upgrade is usually under $20 for the valve plus installation.

All properties prior to 1978 should be considered as target housing for lead based paint hazards. Defective peeling/flaking paint on any interior or exterior surface must be identified and repairedfollowing the EPA guidelines.

Homes with septic systems are acceptable
Evidence of septic tank pumping within the last 5 years is required.


Escape or rescue windows shall have a minimum net clear openable area of 5.7 sq. feet. The minimum net clear openable height is 24″ and width is 20″ The maximum escape window sill height is 44″
NOTE: These window egress requirements may eliminate most pre 1960 homes that have not had a window upgrade. Small basement windows can be enlarged and upgraded. Most FHA Appraisers overlook this requirement unless the windows are inoperable or are set into an underground baement with 60″ plus sill height. If FHA is the only financing option then a 203K program should be considered.


Marilyn Boudreaux is a Full Time Licensed REALTOR in the State of Louisiana affiliated with Century 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.’s.

Copyright 2014© Marilyn Boudreaux

Marilyn Boudreaux, REALTOR® 337-499-9592

Century 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.’s

4410 Nelson Road

Lake Charles, LA USA 70605

337 478-1578