Do FHA Loans Require a Full Home Inspection?

The 2024 FHA Loan Handbook

Here are the five key points covered in this article:

  • FHA loans do not require a full home inspection.
  • You can use an FHA-insured mortgage without having an inspection.
  • But the home will have to be appraised to determine its market value.
  • The appraiser will also ensure the property meets FHA’s minimum requirements.
  • While it’s not required, a home inspection can offer many benefits for buyers.

This entry is part of an ongoing series in which we answer frequently asked questions about FHA loans. Today’s question: Is a home inspection required when using an FHA mortgage loan?

The short answer is no. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, which manages the FHA loan program, does not require borrowers to have a home inspection. But they do strongly encourage it, and we will talk about the reasons why in a moment.

Difference Between Appraisals and Inspections

Before we go any further, I want to cover the difference between a home appraisal and an inspection. This is a source of confusion for a lot of homebuyers, so it’s important to keep the terminology straight.

Here’s the key difference:

  • The primary purpose of a home inspection is to determine the overall condition of the property. It is designed to give the buyer more insight into the property condition, so they can make a more informed buying decision. Inspections are generally not required for getting a mortgage loan.
  • The primary purpose of the home appraisal is to determine the market value of the house. The appraiser will accomplish this by looking at recent and comparable sales in the area, among other things. Most mortgage loans do require of property appraisal, and that includes the FHA loan program.

So while the Federal Housing Administration does not require home inspections for FHA loans, they do require a property appraisal.

FHA Loans Do Not Require an Inspection

All borrowers who use an FHA loan to purchase a home will receive a home inspection disclosure document from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is one of several documents lenders are required to give borrowers who use this particular program.

This document states that “a home inspection will only occur if you arrange for one. FHA does not perform a home inspection.”

Again, this quote comes from HUD, which is the federal department that oversees the Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance program. They are the official source for all guidelines and requirements relating to this program. And their disclosure clearly states that FHA loans do not require a home inspection.

This disclosure goes on to clarify the difference between appraisals and inspections, as we have already discussed above. It explains that: “Appraisals estimate the value of the property for lenders. An appraisal is required to ensure the property is marketable. Home inspections evaluate the condition of the home for buyers.”

But the Home Will Have to Be Appraised

While FHA does not specifically require a home inspection, the mandatory appraisal does include a basic assessment of the property.

An FHA-approved appraiser is primarily focused on determining the market value of the house. But he will also review the home to make sure that it meets HUD’s minimum property requirements. So there is sort of a “mini inspection” included within the FHA appraisal process. And this is another common source of confusion among both buyers and sellers.

What Does the Inspector Look For?

A detailed home inspection can give you a much deeper insight into the property’s overall condition. During this process, a knowledgeable inspector with a “trained eye” will evaluate many aspects of the home to identify damage, safety issues, or items in need of repair.

FHA loans do not require a home inspection. But it’s still a worthwhile investment, especially when you consider the amount of money you’re investing into the home.

Here are some of the things the inspector will look for:


  • Foundation: Cracks, uneven settling, water damage (around the base)
  • Siding: Rot, warping, loose or missing pieces, improper flashing
  • Roof: Missing or damaged shingles, leaks, improper flashing, sagging
  • Gutters and downspouts: Clogging, rust, improper drainage
  • Windows and doors: Sticking, drafts, broken seals, damage
  • Decks and porches: Structural integrity, railings, steps


  • Plumbing: Leaks, low water pressure, faulty fixtures, drainage issues
  • Electrical: Outdated wiring, overloaded circuits, ungrounded outlets, improper grounding
  • Heating and cooling systems: Functionality, efficiency, potential safety hazards
  • Walls and ceilings: Cracks, water stains, unevenness, signs of mold or pest infestation
  • Floors: Unevenness, creaking, buckling, carpeting condition
  • Appliances: Functionality, age, potential safety hazards

Additional areas:

  • Attic and crawl space: Insulation, ventilation, moisture issues, structural integrity
  • Basement: Leaks, cracks, flooding potential, sump pump functionality
  • Garage: Structural integrity, door functionality, electrical wiring

How Buyers Can Benefit from an Inspection

Even though a home inspection isn’t mandatory or required for FHA loans, it’s still highly recommended. Home buyers should consider the following benefits it can provide, in order to make an informed decision.

Increased Peace of Mind

  • Uncover hidden issues: Inspections go beyond an appraisal’s market value assessment, revealing potential problems like foundation cracks, faulty wiring, or roof leaks that could be lurking beneath the surface. This knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions before committing to the purchase.
  • Negotiate with confidence: Having a detailed report highlighting any necessary repairs gives you leverage to negotiate the sale price or request the seller to fix certain issues before closing. This can save you significant money in the long run.

Financial Advantages

  • Avoid costly surprises: Major repairs can drain your savings after closing. An inspection identifies potential problems you can budget for and address before they become full-blown emergencies.
  • Protect your investment: A well-maintained home retains its value better. Investing in preventative repairs based on the inspection can safeguard your long-term financial stability.

Safety and Health Concerns

  • Ensure living safety: Inspections check for critical concerns like structural integrity, faulty electrical systems, and potential fire hazards. Addressing these issues immediately protects the safety of your family and anyone living in the house.
  • Identify environmental hazards: Lead paint, mold, or asbestos can pose serious health risks. Inspections can detect these hazards, allowing you to take necessary steps to mitigate them before moving in.

Added Knowledge and Control

  • Understand the home’s condition: A thorough inspection provides a comprehensive picture of the property’s current state, empowering you to make informed decisions about maintenance and potential renovations.
  • Plan for future repairs: Knowing what repairs are needed and their estimated costs allows you to create a realistic budget and timeline for addressing them after closing.

Remember: Even though the FHA appraisal assesses the property for safety and livability, it doesn’t have the same depth and focus as a dedicated home inspection. An independent inspector will give you a much more nuanced picture of the home’s true condition and potential challenges.

Investing in a home inspection is an investment in your peace of mind, financial security, and overall well-being. Don’t let the “optional” label deter you from reaping its significant benefits, even when using an FHA loan to buy a house.

Key Points Covered in This Guide

  • A full home inspection is generally not required for FHA-insured mortgage loans. If you do get one, it will take place shortly after the offer has been accepted.
  • But the Department of Housing and Urban Development strongly encourages buyers to have a full property inspection, and they issue a written disclosure to this effect.
  • FHA loans do require a property appraisal in order to determine the market value of the house, and to ensure that the property is marketable (in the event that resale becomes necessary).
  • An FHA appraiser’s primary objective is to determine market value, but he/she will also evaluate the condition of the home to ensure the health and safety of the occupant.

This article answers the question: Do FHA loans require a comprehensive home inspection? The information provided above has been adapted from HUD Handbook 4000.1 (the Single Family Housing Policy Handbook), as well as other HUD disclosures and documents.