A crawl space is one of the most affordable types of foundation for your home. Having this kind of foundation means that you can run the plumbing and electrical under your home.
With a crawl space, there’s enough room for you to wiggle through the bottom of your home for any maintenance and repairs you have to make.
With this kind of open design, people often ask this question. Do appraisers go in crawl spaces as part of their inspection?
What Are Appraisers?
An appraisal is required when you’re applying for a mortgage to buy a home. You need it if you’ll sell your home as well.
Appraisers determine the current value of your property since the current value is different from the cost of building or purchasing the home.
The appraiser will first interview you. Afterward, he’ll have to inspect your property.
Since a crawl space is not a regular room of the house, will the appraiser enter that part of your house? The short answer is yes.
Crawl Space Inspection Is Required by Law
Since September 2015, the Federal Housing Administration has required appraisers to inspect crawl spaces when possible.
After inspection, they’ll be able to tell you if the house passes standards.
There was some backlash when the FHA first required crawl space inspection back in 2015.
Appraisers say that they’re not qualified to inspect crawl spaces and that they don’t have adequate training to perform the work of professional property inspectors.
Yet, the law is still applicable today because of the advantages it brings.
Things Appraisers Need to Look Out For
To give you an idea of what to expect, these are the things appraisers have to check in your crawl space.
1 – Obstructions Under Your House
Appraisers will come in and check your crawl space for debris and garbage. They have to make sure that there’s no vermin under your house.
The most common problem with a crawl space is mold growth. If the crawl space is damp or has water puddles, there’s a chance that mold might grow. This may be dangerous for you.
The appraiser will have to make sure that your crawl space is clean.
2 – Structural Problems
Crawl spaces need to be at least 18 inches in height. The appraiser needs to make sure that the standards are being followed.
They’ll check if your foundation has no cracks and that the beams supporting your home are all in good condition.
Appraisers will also see if the floor joists are sufficiently above the ground.
3 – Additional Structures
Appraisers have to see to it that your crawl space has proper ventilation, vapor barrier, and insulation.
Why You Should Have a Crawl Space Inspection
The value of your home will increase if your crawl space is in good condition. You could make more money off of an open crawl space.
Moreover, you can figure out the amount of insurance coverage you’ll need for your property.
With regards to construction, you can examine if there’s a possibility of building new structures on your land. You’ll also get an idea of the costs of demolishing and rebuilding in the same area.
In terms of safety, you’ll be able to examine your plumbing, electrical, heating, and cooling systems.
How to Have A Successful Crawl Space Appraisal
Since an appraisal can cost you upwards of $300, you’ll want it to be a success on your first try. There are, however, some things you can do to prepare for it.
1 – Do Your Research
Before you get an appraisal, you should make sure that you’re getting an appraiser that’s licensed or certified. In addition, it’s better if your appraiser is familiar with the area.
You should make sure that the appraiser will be impartial. As appraisals are subjective, there are cases where discrimination plays a role in the process.
If you think that the appraiser has unfairly valued your house, you can report it to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
2 – Clean the Crawl Space
You have to make sure that the crawl space is free from any obstructions. Remove any garbage or furniture that you’ve stored in there.
In addition, you have to make sure that the area is dry. Sweep debris and dust up.
In some cases, you might have to hire pest control to come in and help you clear insects and rodents out of the crawl space.
3 – Provide Lighting
It seems like architects always forget about crawl spaces. A source of frustration for a lot of appraisers is that there isn’t any lighting under the house.
You can provide a strong flashlight or even a lamp for your appraiser. I’m sure they’ll give you plus points for it.
There are many reasons why appraisers go into crawl spaces. It might seem like a nuisance at first, but ultimately, it’s really for your own good.
I hope that we’ve prepared you should you ever need to have your crawl space checked during your house inspection.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. As a homeowner, I love working on projects around the house, and as a father, I love investigating various ways to keep my family safe (whether or not this involves tech). I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.