Deciphering the VA Lender’s Handbook Chapter 14 Part 6
Aside from the four standard inspections that every proposed or under-construction property must undergo in order to qualify for the VA guaranty, there may be special inspections that need to take place, some inspections may need to be repeated, or an inspection may have been missed by mistake. In any of these cases, the VA has a set of instructions in the Handbook on what needs to happen. If you’re wondering what the VA covers in the standard inspections, check out the articles just preceding this one in the series and you should find all the information you need. Keep in mind these inspections are not just for proposed or under-construction properties; these inspections can also apply to home renovations or improvements being funded through a VA cash-out refinance.
There are several cases where it might be appropriate for the VA to require a special inspection by a VA-assigned inspector. These special inspections can take place at any stage of construction and can be used by the VA to monitor cases involving any of the following:
- unusual site features
- unusual construction methods, or
- builders with frequent construction complaints
Special inspections can apply to homes currently under construction or homes being repaired or altered in a significant way. If the home is being repaired or altered, the phase of construction at which the special inspection takes place will be determined by the nature of the proposed work. When the home is under construction, the special inspection will take place in whatever stage of construction that the questionable features, methods, or builders are involved with.
Repeat inspections can be required in usually one of two cases. The VA may require a repeat inspection when a first or second stage inspection uncovers a noncompliant item or issue and the item or issue will be concealed before the next regular inspection takes place. A repeat inspection may also be ordered if there was noncompliance or incomplete work discovered at the third-stage inspection. A repeat inspection in that case is necessary because there are no more inspections. However, if two conditions are met, then a repeat inspection may not be required; if the issue is incomplete work and it is something minor, and the lender is willing to certify when it has been satisfactorily completed, then the VA can waive the repeat inspection.
While uncommon, there may be instances where a VA inspection was missed. When this happens, it’s usually through an oversight by whatever party is responsible for requesting them. If you have decided to take responsibility for requesting the inspections, it’s best not to forget, because issues can happen. However, if the inspection was missed, it might be able to be waived if the VA field office is provided with the following:
- a written request signed by the lender and the veteran
- evidence that the local building authority inspected the construction at the stage(s) not inspected by the VA, and
- evidence of HUD’s consent to the waiver, if the case is HUD related
In other words, if the work you’re doing on your home has been inspected by the local building authority you can probably get a waiver for the inspection. In locations without a building authority to provide inspections at various stages, the VA provides the following note: “In areas without local inspections at prescribed construction stages, the VA inspector must provide a statement regarding his/her experience with the quality of the builder’s workmanship and the builder’s conformity with both constructions exhibits submitted to VA and VA minimum property requirements.”
Missed inspections can actually have a serious impact on your project. If it’s a missed VA inspection, they may not be willing to guarantee the home loan. If it’s a missed inspection from the local building authority, they might make you undo everything you have done. It’s always best to stay transparent and work with the inspecting agencies that are relevant for your project. While inspections can be annoying and a headache, the consequences of not getting the required inspections can be much more annoying and a much bigger headache. Stay safe, and get your project inspected.