It's been a long time since I've done VA and FHA, but the health and Safety issues haven't changed. Certain appliances count like a stove and heater as two that constitute basic livability. What we used to do in situations like yours was to get approval from VA or HUD to allow the Buyer to purchase the appliances then use that toward the down payment. That also coincides with the sweat equity provision. Unless it is a VA No-No, you may even be able to get approval to use some of the earnest money toward the purchase. Depending upon the lender, you may also be able to request a holdback and a 442 (appraisal update) to allow it to close with an immediate fix. The buyer may have to come in with more funds to do that, but you never will know if you don't ask. One last thing, if the buyer is overly stretched, you may want to check with a local church or Habitat-for-Humanity who may be able to donate the appliances or purchase them for you and allow you to pay it back. Check your non-profits too.
Good luck. JG