VA Appraisals and Utilities Update:
According to VA Denver, the utilities, furnace, water heater, etc do not need to be on for a VA appraiser to complete the appraisal. Most lenders/underwriters, such as those at Wells Fargo and KeyBank, agree that they only require the property to meet VA guidelines, and do not have additional lending/underwriting layering. The appraiser is only required to note deficiencies if there is an obvious problem ie a red tagged furnace.
This is great news if you happen to be working with a VA buyer on the purchase of a foreclosed or short sale home, especially during the winter. Most banks and home owners of vacant properties can and will arrange for the utilities to be on for the purpose of a home inspection, for a brief period of time. Coordinating schedules between utility providers, de-winterization, and home inspectors is generally doable, but throwing an appraiser’s schedule in to the mix is generally not.
FHA appraisal guidelines are not as lenient. All utilities must be on and the furnace, water heater, etc must be demonstrably operational.