An appraisal is a bank's valuation of how much a property is worth. For FHA and VA loans, appraisals are required to protect the bank from underwriting a loan for more than a property's value.
VA and FHA underwriting guidelines have a minimal difference in reference to the property being habitable and livable. The requirements are almost identical between the two values.
Only FHA certified appraisers can perform bank appraisals for FHA loans. The same is true for VA loans, only VA certified appraisers can perform appraisal duties for a VA loan.
When a consumer is using a VA loan or FHA loan, if the property does not appraise for the sales price that the seller and buyer have agreed to, the seller can choose to reduce the sales price or the buyer can walk away from the contract.
FHA appraisals measure the property against similar homes that are for sale within a one mile radius from the subject property, that have sold or are pending sale for the past six months. Once the homes are evaluated against one another the appraiser determines the home's value.
VA appraisals have similar requirements for the underwriter, however, the adjustments that VA appraisers make to the property values in an area are much less than on an FHA appraisal. This can make VA appraisals come in lower than FHA appraisals in many cases.
The time frame to complete an FHA appraisal will vary from 2 days to 7 days, depending on the area. VA appraisals can take as long as 10 days to show results.