Avoid Delays with Appraisals

time to refiWashington State has a couple of regulations that require certain safety features are installed in a home before a buyer can purchase it. When these items are not installed in the home at the time of the appraisal, or if the appraiser cannot easily find them, then the appraiser or underwriter will require that these items be installed prior to closing. This can potentially delay the closing and/or increase cost if the appraiser has to go back to the property to re-inspect for the missing items.

Please make sure your home has the following BEFORE the appraisal:

Carbon Monoxide Detectors. This regulation was updated in 2013 and requires that all residential properties that are sold have carbon monoxide detectors installed. This applies to refinances if the home owner owned the property prior to July 26, 2009 and still occupies the home (ie it’s not a rental). Here is more info on the state code. 

Earthquake Straps on Water Heaters. Please make sure that your water heater is secured with earthquake straps. More info here on how to install straps and details on requirements per WAC 51-56-0500

Smoke Detectors. This one doesn’t come up as often as missing CO detectors or earthquake straps… however, the smoke detector needs to be functioning – make sure it has fresh batteries. Here is more info on WAC 51-51-0314 Section R314 which includes where smoke detectors are required to be installed.

I am reminded of this as I head out to Bellevue to take photos of CO detectors and recently installed earthquake straps on a water heater on a purchase. 🙂

If you are planning on selling your home, please make sure you have the above items installed in your home.

Real Estate Brokers: please consider attending the appraisal inspection so that you can point out where the C02 detectors are to the appraiser…even if you’re just there a couple minutes to show the appraiser where they have been installed.

If you’re considering refinancing, these items may apply to you too depending on when you purchased your home and the current occupancy. It’s probably better to be safe than sorry and make sure you have these items installed.

Nobody likes paying for an appraisers re-inspection fee that could have been avoided or potentially delay a real estate transaction when it could have been easily avoided.



  1. Bob Costas says

    You mention CO2 detectors in your article. I’m not sure they exist. If they do, they’d be going off all the time since we breathe out CO2 (Carbon Dioxide). Do you mean CO (Carbon Monoxide) detectors?

    • Thanks, Bob. I specialize in helping people buy or refi homes – not chemistry! Post has been corrected.

      • Bob Costas says

        I just re-read my post. Sorry for sounding so snarky! I was trying to be funny but sarcasm never translates properly online. 🙂

      • Rhonda – please look at the law. Don’t tell us what you think it says, tell us what it says. Maybe pay an attorney to give legal advice.

        Other people are quoting your advice, as law.

        • Owner, first of all, I am not an attorney — I’m a mortgage originator. I state that throughout this blog. Please point out where on this post that I have stated something that you feel is not correct — that would be more helpful.

          • Then don’t give legal advice.

            Carbon Monoxide alarms are required when selling an owner – occupied single family residence after July 26, 2009.

            No similar law applies to smoke detection devices or water heaters, unless it is new construction or a new installation. So for the majority of homes in Washington – this would not apply.

          • I have updated the post to include links for your reference.

            I’m curious why you’re commenting with an alias?

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