Some people are totally surprised that some of the rural areas of Yellowstone County have limited access to good drinking water.
- Sometimes the reason is simply that if you drill a well, you may not find water if you drill, and drill and drill. It gets pretty expensive to just keep drilling!
- Sometimes the water that you do reach is of insufficient quantity and what may be worse, it has too many yucky solids in it to be good for you.
- Sometimes the cost of the well prohibits some landowners from even trying to drill a well.
The next best option is to dig a hole and have a water tank buried under the ground and have the tank filled by a source that's delivered on wheels. Lots of people use a water hauling service, some stick a tank on the back of their pickup truck and pick up a tankfull on the way home from town.
When a FHA buyer is looking to buy a home that has a cistern water supply, they run into a little problem with getting the loan approved, generally, FHA doesn't approve cistern water sources unless cisterns are common in the area.
Back to Yellowstone County, and a few other counties as well, an FHA buyer must apply for a Cistern Waiver from the "powers that be" in order to qualify the home for the loan. In Montana, the nearest office for this approval is in Denver.
The cistern waiver process requires:
- A cover letter with all of the details of the property, lender, FHA case # and about 10 other things
- An FHA appraisal, complete with color photos
- A water test, completed by a non-interested third party (like a home inspector)
- A long wait once all of the proper documents have been delivered to the HOC/Appraiser that processes the requests, sometimes it can take 30 to 45 days!
Buyers and sellers need to work together with their Realtor and Lender to make sure that all of the steps have been followed correctly the first time, no body wants to start this process over!
So if you are considering a move to the country, and the water source is a cistern, and you want to use an FHA loan, a bit of planning will make the whole process go smoothly!
My good friend has raised 5 children (all that laundry) and never has given her cistern a second thought (other than to make sure the deliveries come on time!)
Montana living, it's a good thing!