Well And Septic Inspections Are They Required For A Mortgage?

Mortgage and Lending with George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages NMLS #65149

Lately I have been getting a number of questions about septic guidelines, and whether septic inspections are automatically required to qualify for a mortgage.  Given the number of questions that I have received, I have decide to cover this issue along with another that is very closely related, are Well inspections automatically required to qualify for a mortgage.  So Well And Septic Inspections Are They Required For A Mortgage?  The quick and short answer is NO, but that does not mean that a Lender will not ask for one.

There are no Mortgage Programs that I am aware of that will automatically require for a Well or Septic Inspection to be done when applying for a mortgage.  However, one maybe requested by a Lender based on the physical observation of an Appraiser at the time the appraisal is done, or based on sever weather conditions at the time of the purchase.

For example, if an Appraiser notes on the appraisal that the ground around a Septic System is unusually wet, that could be a sign of a failing Septic System so the Lender could very well ask for a Septic Inspection to be done.  Like wise if there has been sever weather conditions, and the ground around the well is unusually wet a Lender may require a Well Inspection even if the Appraiser does not bring attention to it in the appraiser.  One almost sure fire way for a Well Inspection to be required on a FHA Loan, is if the Well and Septic are less than 50'-0" apart as well as a special exception from FHA.

Having said all this, regardless of whether or not a Well and/or Septic Inspection is requested by a Lender, if I were purchasing a property I would want one done.  It is not uncommon for Wells and Septic Systems to fail, and to install a new one can be a very expensive expenditure.  Purchasing a property and then noticing that the water looks or taste funny after moving in is not a surprise that you want.  The same would be true for a Septic System, however, here if the Buyer was to have a Home Inspection done, the Home Inspector generally will run the water a fair length of time to test the Septic System.  But a Home Inspector is not a Septic Inspector, and may not notice something that is not obvious to the him/her, but would give reason for suspicion to a Septic Inspector.

Replacing a Well or Septic can cost thousands of dollars, while Well and Septic Inspections are only a few hundred dollars each.  For me the old saying "Penny wise and pound foolish" applies here.  I would say the same for a Home Inspection.  A Home Inspection is worth every penny that a Homebuyer pays for one.  Home Inspectors know what to look for, and have far more experience at identifying problems than a Homebuyer, no matter how many houses they have bought.

Well And Septic Inspections Are They Required For A Mortgage? NO.  But is it a very wise investment to have one done YES!



 Info about the author:

George Souto NMLS# 65149 is a Loan Officer who can assist you with all your FHA, CHFA, and Conventional mortgage needs in Connecticut. George resides in Middlesex County which includes Middletown, Middlefield, Durham, Cromwell, Portland, Higganum, Haddam, East Haddam, Chester, Deep River, and Essex. George can be contacted at (860) 573-1308 or gsouto@mccuemortgage.com

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 Info about the author:

George Souto NMLS# 65149 is a Loan Originator who can assist you with all your #FHA, #CHFA, and #Conventional #mortgage needs in Connecticut. George resides in Middlesex County which includes #Middletown, #Old Saybrook, #Middlefield, #Durham, #Cromwell, #Portland, #Higganum, #Haddam, #East Haddam, #Moodus, #Chester, #Deep River, and #Essex. George can be contacted at (860) 573-1308 or souto@snet.net


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  1. Praful Thakkar 02/19/2016 11:06 PM
Lending / Financial
1st Time Buyers
Real Estate Rookie
ActiveRain Contests
well septic inspections

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Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

Excellent post, George. Great reminder for all of us to be aware and diligent- to highly recommend both well and septic systems be thoroughly inspected.

Jun 11, 2013 09:11 AM #15
Rosie Moore
Serving Sugar Land, Richmond, Rosenberg, Missouri City - Sugar Land, TX
Another awesome post! Thanks for sharing!
Jun 11, 2013 10:06 AM #16
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

George, you're right that a few dollars spent upfront will avoid big dollar problems down the road. I have had underwriters raise issues with well and septic systems less than 100' apart, and by not much. In those instances, a letter from the town that the systems were acceptable despite the less than 100 ft distance.

Jun 11, 2013 10:26 AM #17
Sara Miniman
Weichert, Realtors - Bedminster, NJ
Weichert Realtors NJ

Thank you for sharing this valuable information.  In our area we actually have many cesspools as well.  I will always recommend to my clients that an inspection of a septic system and a well be done. 

Good information.

Jun 11, 2013 11:00 AM #18
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Ginny a septic inspection is pretty common around here even though Mortgage Programs don't require it.

Bill I wanted to verify the guideline for VA, but I could not find a specific answer in the VA Guideline Book, so I asked our Head Underwriter and that is the answer that I got, that none of the Guidelines for the loan programs we do, and we do VA, require a Septic or Well inspections unless something triggers it like some of the examples I gave.  Good point about the distances being a problem between Well and Septic with the older properties.  The other issue with older properties is that there is normally no map on file at Town Hall which shows the location of the Well and Septic, so in that case a sketch by a Home Inspector, Well Inspector, or Septic Inspector will be required on their letter head show the location and distances.

Joan the same here.  This is not an issue in the cities, but in the country it is usually an issue.

Pat and Steve that is good advice and it could end up saving them a lot of money.

Jimmy I completely agree.

Debbie that is a wise thing to do.

Steven, a Lender may very well require that, even if it is not in the Guidelines.  These days there are so many Lender and Investor overlays that it is hard to distinguish them from the Program Guidelines.

Scott you are correct, if it is in the contract then the Lender is going to require a letter from the Buyer stating that it has been done, just like if there is a repair listed in the contract that the Seller has agreed to do.  If it is in the contract then it has to be done before a clear to close is given.

Francine that is the smart thing to do.

Jane we need to protect our Buyers and Borrowers.

Rosie thank you for saying that.

Ed that letter will do it for less than a 100 feet, but if it is less than 50 feet it will require a waiver if it is a FHA Loan.

Jun 11, 2013 11:00 AM #19
Joel Weihe
Realty World Alliance - Wichita, KS
Helping you to use your VA home loan benefits

Inspections for water and septic outside the city services are required here by some banks, not all. If they aren't of course you should always recommend it done anyway.

Jun 11, 2013 11:16 AM #20
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Hi George -- I think is is important to have a septic inspection and an well inspection - that measure both flow and water quality.  If the time for inspections pass and then the appraiser want a further inspection, it can really be a problem for the buyer in the event something is found...  So, it is best to have an inpsection up front so the buyer can ask the seller to resolve any issues.

Jun 11, 2013 12:20 PM #21
Sharon Miller
RE/MAX Platinum - Crane Hill, AL


Great post!!! Let me put in my two cents worth. As I sell vacation/second home property exclusively, we often run into the following, vacant improved properties which are seldom occupied by the owners as they are used as a vacation retreat or summertime weekend place. I have experienced on more than one occasion, where the tank itself has developed a crack from lack of use. When contemplating the purchase of an unoccupied dwelling utilizing a septic system, checking on the history (usage) of the system is a must. Around our lake, local codes have changed to a point where almost every new or replacement system installed is an "engineered" system. This might include the installation of a raised drainfield, or a pumping unit required to move the effluent up hill. The potable water issues you raise are the primary reason for our updated health permit septic requirements. To protect everyone involved, I strongly suggest my prospective buyer's stipulate on the purchase offer contract, a septic tank inspection will be required. I am currently on hold with one closing where the septic tank is located under a retaining wall. The buyer and seller will have to come to some agreement as to how the cost of excavating the wall and opening up the tank will be paid for. Septic tank inspections - by all means.....

Jun 11, 2013 12:38 PM #22
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
It is interesting because in this area you see them done on most every case.
Jun 11, 2013 01:15 PM #23
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Good for you for covering both the lender side and the buyer side of an inspection.  Ditto on the "If I were buying a home...."  Definitely get an inspection!

Jun 11, 2013 01:49 PM #24
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

George, here in MA - Title V 'PASS' is needed at closing for buyers who borrow money from lenders.

Jun 11, 2013 03:15 PM #25
Aaron Hofmann
Atlanta Communities - Smyrna, GA
aka Mr. Smyrna Vinings

What about if the grass is greener? Totally agree with you that they should get it inspected as it's an important component of the house they're purchasing. And you definitely don't want to experience a septic tank going bad.

Jun 11, 2013 05:02 PM #26
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

Well and septic system inspections should be a requirement. Over the years I have seem many issues when these inspections have been waived. Great job with the post.

Jun 11, 2013 07:09 PM #27
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Geneva Financial, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance
George, every time there is a septic system in use, we recommend a septic inspection and emphasize the need for one with narratives of the problems discovered in previous septic inspections. For the $175.00 fee the inspection costs , it has saved my principals thousands $$$$, and me lots of headaches!
Jun 11, 2013 08:36 PM #28
Ed & Tracy Oliva
West USA Realty - Arizona - Fountain Hills, AZ
The Oliva Team Arizona Agents

Good Morning G: This is some great Info for all in the business,  keep up the good work and good luck with your sales,  E

Jun 11, 2013 10:36 PM #29
Erick Blackwelder
Cell: 703-677-1120 - Woodbridge, VA
Text or call Erick now at 703-677-1120.

My market, northern Virginia requires that septic tanks be pumped and inspected by a licensed contractor.  Wells are tested for flow rate and purity.

Erick Blackwelder
Exit Choice Realty
Washington DC suburbs


Jun 12, 2013 12:39 AM #30
Than Maynard
Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma - Purcell, OK
Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862

I have never seen an FHA/VA or conventional loan around here that didn't require a well and septic inspection. It might be in areas where wells and septics are rare that the inspections slip by.

I would and do strongly suggest that a buyer get a well and septic inspection.

Jun 12, 2013 01:10 AM #31
Eileen Burns
Trans State Commercial RE Ft. Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beach - Fort Lauderdale, FL
FL Probate Agent, Hotel & Land Specialist

Always include this inpsection - no matter what!

Years earlier - decades ago - I sold a home with a spetic system.  A week after closing it had to be replaced.  Who do you think cuased this expense from this buyer's perpesctive?

Another friend in CT owned an upscale home on "the" Lake.  She sold it to a successful mortgage broker who sued her after the sale because she was unable to improve the property to her liking because of the location of the septic system.  High profile attorneys went at it and my friend, the Seller, had to give back the money after the sale.

Jun 12, 2013 10:58 PM #32
Kathy Stoltman
Rockwood Realty - Ventura, CA
Ventura County Real Estate Consultant 805-746-1793

Thanks George, this is interesting.  While the majority of homes in Ventura County are not on Septic, there are enough in the rural areas that require us to know this.

Jun 13, 2013 10:28 AM #33
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

I agree completely. If you have these things, get them checked out. 

Feb 20, 2016 05:56 AM #34
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