Home Inspection

What Will Fail a VA Home Inspection? 4 Common Pitfalls

You’re on the path to homeownership, and you’ve chosen a VA (Veterans Affairs) home loan – an excellent choice for veterans like yourself. But there’s a crucial step in the process you need to be aware of: the VA home inspection.

VA home inspections ensure that the home you’re about to purchase is safe, sound, and a worthwhile investment. These inspections scrutinize a house from the foundation to the roof, the electrical systems, the plumbing, and everything in between.

So, what will fail a VA home inspection?

Common reasons for homes failing VA inspections include cracks or instability in the foundation, poor roof condition, faulty electrical systems, plumbing issues, and inefficient heating systems. Safety concerns and health hazards like mold, mildew, and pest infestations are additional reasons for failure.

Let’s delve into the world of VA home inspections and explore what could fail a VA home inspection, understand the VA’s Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs), and learn how to prepare for a VA home inspection.

What Will Fail A Va Home Inspection - Adult Male With Clipboard Inspects Vinyl Siding On A Residential Home

Unraveling the VA Home Inspection Process

VA home inspection is a thorough examination of a property you’re considering buying with a VA loan. A qualified home inspector delves into the home’s nooks and crannies, inspecting everything from the foundation to the roof, the HVAC system to the plumbing.

You might wonder, “Why is a VA home inspection so important?” Well, it plays a crucial role in the home-buying process. It’s not just about ensuring the home is in good condition; it’s about protecting you, the buyer.

Consider this: You’ve found your dream home. It’s perfect in every way – or so it seems. But beneath the surface, there’s mold hidden away in the basement, or the roof is on its last legs. That’s where the VA home inspection comes in.

It uncovers these hidden issues, giving you a clear picture of the home’s condition. It helps you make an informed decision, ensuring you’re not walking into a financial nightmare.

Here’s what a VA home inspection typically includes:

VA Home Inspection Checklist

  • Examination of the home’s structure, including the foundation and roof
  • Inspection of the electrical and plumbing systems
  • Evaluation of the heating and cooling systems
  • Checking for any signs of pest damage or infestation
  • Looking for safety issues, like missing handrails or chipping paint

Common Pitfalls: Why Homes Fail VA Inspections

Understanding “what will fail a VA home inspection” is crucial. This knowledge can help you sidestep potential issues and ensure the home you’re investing in is a secure and worthwhile investment.

Major Structural Issues

The foundation, roof, electrical systems, plumbing, and heating systems are the backbone of any home, and issues here can lead to significant problems down the line.

  • Foundation: Cracks or instability in the foundation are deal-breakers since they lead to severe structural problems, making the home unsafe.
  • Roof: Poor roof condition leads to leaks, water damage, and costly repairs. Inspectors will inspect the roof from the ground to look for missing or damaged shingles, signs of leaks, and overall condition.
  • Interior and Exterior: The condition of the interior and exterior wall, floor, and ceiling finishes to be sure there is no peeling paint, water damage, or other signs of disrepair. The condition of the doors and windows ensures proper operation.
  • Electrical Systems: Unsafe electricity systems pose a fire hazard. Inspectors will check the wiring, GFCI outlets, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and breaker box to ensure everything meets minimum property standards.
  • plumbing: Leaky pipes, poor water pressure, or outdated plumbing systems lead to water damage and other issues.
  • Heating Systems: An inefficient or faulty heating system leads to uncomfortable living conditions and high energy bills.
Chipped Paint On Old Concrete Wall

Safety Concerns

Missing handrails, chipping paint, and other safety issues cause a home to fail a VA inspection.

  • Missing Handrails: Handrails are required on any stairs with three or more steps. If they’re missing, it’s a safety hazard.
  • Chipping Paint: This might seem minor, but chipping or peeling paint is a sign of lead paint, a health hazard, especially in homes built before 1978.

Health Hazards

Health hazards like mold, mildew, and pest infestations also cause a home to fail a VA inspection.

  • Mold and Mildew are signs of a moisture problem that leads to health issues, especially for people with allergies or asthma.
  • Pest Damage or Active Infestation: Pests cause significant damage to a home, and an active termite infestation is a health hazard.

Insufficient HVAC System

A home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system should be in good working order and capable of maintaining a comfortable temperature throughout the house.

Related reading: 21 Things That Fail a Home Inspection

VA’s Minimum Property Requirements

As you delve deeper into the world of VA home inspections, you’ll come across a crucial term: Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs).

MPRs are the standards the Department of Veterans Affairs sets to ensure that modern homes purchased with VA loans are safe, structurally sound, and free from health hazards.

Brief Overview of VA’s MPR

Here’s an overview of the basic requirements that MPRs entail:

  • Residential Use: The property must be primarily for residential use. You can’t use a VA loan to buy a business property with living quarters.
  • Living Conditions: The home must have suitable living conditions, including adequate living space, adequate heating systems, safe drinking water, and sanitary facilities with sound septic systems and proper garbage disposal.
  • Structural Integrity: The home must have a solid foundation, adequate roofing, walls, and floors. It should be free from lead-based paint or asbestos.
  • Mechanical Systems: The home’s mechanical systems, including electrical, plumbing, and HVAC, must be in good working order.
  • Location: The home must be located in an area zoned for residential use. It should have a safe access to the street, and must be free from heavy traffic or excessive noise.

Navigating the VA Loan Program Approval Process

Once you’ve successfully submitted all loan requirements, completed your loan application, and passed the VA home inspection, you’re on your way to the rewarding phase: receiving your loan benefits.

First, you must understand how the fair market, the value of the type of property you’re interested in, affects the maximum loan amount you can receive. Loan appraisers don’t cap how much you can borrow to finance your home.

The loan approval process typically takes a few business days, allowing the mortgage lenders to review your mortgage application, verify your information, and conduct a credit check.

Once your loan is approved, you’ll move on to the closing process, sign all of the paperwork, pay any closing costs, and officially become a homeowner.


Respond promptly to any requests for additional information during this time to avoid delaying the process. I would also recommend for you to review the documents ahead of time to ensure you understand all of the terms of your loan.

Preparing for a VA Home Inspection: A Step-by-Step Guide

Here’s a step-by-step guide on preparing for a VA home inspection and addressing common issues that could cause a home to fail the inspection.

Step 1: Understand the VA Home Inspection Criteria

Familiarize yourself with the VA home inspection criteria. Knowing what the inspector will be looking for can help you prepare effectively.

Step 2: Conduct a Pre-Inspection

Walk through your property and look for potential issues. Check the roof for damage, the foundation for cracks, and the HVAC system for efficiency. This can help you identify and address problems before the official inspection.

Step 3: Address Major Structural Issues

If your pre-inspection reveals major structural issues, address them promptly. Whether it’s a problem with the foundation, roof, electrical systems, plumbing, or heating systems, it’s crucial to fix these issues before the VA home inspection.

Step 4: Follow the Safety Standards

Be sure all stairs have handrails, the paint isn’t chipping, and there are no visible signs of mold or mildew. If you notice pest damage or active infestation, arrange for professional pest control services.

Related reading: Why Pest Control Is Important

Step 5: Check the HVAC System

Ensure your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system is in good working order and capable of maintaining a comfortable temperature throughout the home.

Step 6: Clean and Declutter

Clean your home thoroughly. Pay special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms. Declutter each room to allow the inspector easy access to all areas of the home.


Preparing for a VA home inspection doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By understanding the VA home inspection criteria, conducting a pre-inspection, addressing major issues, ensuring safety, checking the HVAC system, and cleaning and decluttering your home, you can approach the inspection with confidence.

FAQs About What Will Fail a VA Home Inspection

Navigating the world of VA home inspections can raise many questions. Here, we’ll address some of the most common queries about “What will fail a VA home inspection?”

What is the difference between a VA home inspection and a VA appraisal?

A VA home inspection is a detailed examination of the home’s condition, looking for any potential issues that could fail the inspection. On the other hand, a VA appraisal determines the home’s market value and ensures it meets the VA’s MPRs.

Can a home fail a VA home inspection due to mold or pest infestation?

Yes, a home can fail a VA home inspection due to mold or pest infestation. Both of these issues pose health hazards and indicate underlying problems with the home, such as water damage or structural issues.

What happens if a home fails a VA home inspection?

If a home fails a VA home inspection, it doesn’t mean the end of the road. The seller can perform minor repairs to meet the standards set by VA. Alternatively, the buyer may negotiate with the seller to lower the price to account for the repair costs.

How much does a VA home inspection cost?

The home inspection cost can fluctuate based on the area, but it typically lands between $400 and $600, contingent on the home’s size.

Are VA loan inspections hard to pass?

The regulations for VA appraisals can be stringent, often disqualifying homes that require major repairs. These rules can pose challenges for purchasers interested in older properties that need refurbishment.

Who are eligible for VA home loan programs?

VA home loan programs are available to active-duty military personnel, air force veterans, National Guard members, reservists, and sometimes military spouses. Specific eligibility requirements include serving a certain time and receiving an honorable discharge if no longer in service.

The Importance of Understanding VA Home Inspections

Navigating the home-buying process can be a complex journey, filled with inspections, appraisals, and paperwork.

By understanding the VA home inspection criteria, you can prepare effectively for the inspection. You can address potential issues before the inspection, ensuring your home meets the loan inspection requirements.

As a final piece of advice, don’t be afraid to ask questions during the VA home inspection process. Don’t hesitate to seek answers, whether it’s about the VA’s MPRs, potential issues that will fail the inspection, or how to prepare for the inspection.


Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.