Are Egress Windows Required in Basements for FHA Appraisals

I get the question all the time, “Do I have to have egress windows in my basement if I am getting an FHA loan?”  The answer is not a simple Yes or No, but it is also not as complex as some make it out to be. Basically, it depends on how much you want the basement to contribute to the value of the home.

If you want the appraiser to count the basement area as livable space, you will need to have at least two ingress/egress points.  This can be two sets of stairs, a stairway to the main level as well as a walkout door, or a stairway and at least one egress window.

If you want a room to be counted as a bedroom it must have an egress window.  What is an egress window you ask?  Here are the requirements from HUD:

Egress Window

  • “The windowsill may not be higher than 44 inches from the floor.
  • The windowsill must have a net clear opening (width x height) of at least 24 inches by 36 inches.
  • The window should be at ground level; however, compensating factors may allow less.

In all cases, use reasonable care and judgment. If these standards are not substantially met, the basement area cannot be counted as habitable space.”

 

There you go.  If you do not have two ingress/egress points, the FHA appraiser may not count the basement as habitable space (thus there is likely not much value there).  Putting an egress window in is usually not that expensive.  The cost to do so is likely less than the value you will lose by not having one.

3 replies
  1. Dan Sprouse says:

    Is there a minimum height required from floor to ceiling in the basement area to be counted as livable space and/or bedroom space?

    Reply
    • YourAppraisalOffice2 says:

      Dan:

      My understanding is that it is 48 inches. However, I believe this is just in relationship to whether or not a room can be counted as a bedroom – not whether or not the basement can be counted as living space.

      Reply
      • Dan Sprouse says:

        I did not make my question clear. I have a basement space of 11 ft by 29 ft but the height is only 75 inches, floor to ceiling. I cannot find any reference to the ceiling height required to call it livable space (rec room) or bedroom.

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply to Dan Sprouse Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>