Appraising in Philadelphia, typically means that from time-to-time you will appraise a property for an FHA insured loan. That invariably brings up questions from realtors, lenders and homeowners about FHA Guidelines and, more specifically, those guidelines pertaining to distressed paint. The FHA guideline for peeling, chipping, “alligatored” and otherwise distressed paint on a residence is pretty straightforward.
In 1978, paint manufactures stopped using lead in their products. This was in reaction to studies that indicated lead paint was a contributor to a myriad of health issues among children and adults. It falls into the category of being a health issue. FHA doesn’t like issues that could affect the health or safety residents.
So if a house was built prior to 1978, it can be assumed that there is lead based paint present. Given the age of the housing stock in Philadelphia, you can see what an issue distressed paint can be since the vast majority of Philadelphia’s homes were built prior to 1940. If that paint is chipped, peeling, “alligatored” or otherwise distressed, the FHA Guidelines state that it must be properly cured. The FHA publishes guidelines on exactly how to properly cure lead based paint issues at a house.
Does that mean that homes built after 1978 are in the clear when it comes to distressed paint? Well, yes and no.
Yes, they are in the clear as far as the health and safety issues brought about by Lead Based Paint...and No, because if there is distressed paint (especially on an exterior surface), it can become an issue that would diminish the economic life of a property, especially if there is exposed wood that would be prone to decay if not properly painted. Distressed paint in a post 1978 house would also need to be properly cured.
Hopefully, this information will be useful to you. If you have any other questions regarding FHA insurability and guidelines, please feel free to call our office.