This summer I appraised a lake home in an outlying suburb. It was a nice home, had some remodeling, and a great view of the lake. As I was walking through the house taking my notes, I kept looking for the bathroom. After opening up every door in the house, I finally asked the homeowner, “Where is the bathroom?” She replied, “You have to go outside to get to it.” Puzzled, not sure how I missed it, being that I just measured the house; but, I dutifully went looking for the bathroom outside, but to no avail. I walked back in the house with my head hung low, and shamefully stated, “I’m sorry, but I still can’t find it”, feeling like a total idiot.
She then points out the window to a tin shed, and says “There it is!” Me in my professional tone, “Oh, you mean that tin shed is an outhouse, I mean bathroom?” Then she responds rather indignantly “Yes, it’s worked fine for us all of these years.” Too myself, “I bet it’s a little cold on the tush in the winter!”
What to do?
This being a first for me, required some for investigating. I have no problem with “pit privies”, and have used them before. I’ve just never had anyone try and refinance or buy a home before with one.
Here’s the skinny:
They are allowed under certain circumstances:
· They have to be permissible (meet local municipality guidelines)
· Meet guidelines for setback (distance from potable water source)
· There must be market acceptance
· Does it conform to the neighborhood (they’re not the only ones)
It’s the last two that can be very tricky. The underwriter may request that you supply one or two similar comparable sales to prove that the market will accept homes with this type of sewer system. And from what I could see, they were the only ones to have an outhouse, or should I say “pit privy.”
FHA actually does allow them, but they do have standards for pit privies & septic systems in relation to wells (see prior post on FHA guidelines).
The Big Question?
So what’s your bathroom story? Have you ever experienced anything similar?