FHA appraisal Q&A – Well and septic issues

What are the FHA appraisal requirements for well, septic and property line distances? Here’s an excerpt from HUD’s Frequently Asked Questions – Valuation Protocol.

1. Is the appraiser still required to report well, septic and property line distances on an addendum to the URAR or is this only required when problems are noted? How is the lender to determine if these distance requirements are met if the appraiser is not required to identify?

The appraiser is not required to sketch the distances between the well and septic, however, he or she should be mindful of FHA’s minimum distance requirements between private wells and sources of pollution (septic systems) in the performance of FHA appraisals; and, if discernible, comment on them. Prudent appraisal practice would have the appraiser requesting a copy of a survey from the homeowner, if available.

If the appraisal notes a distance issue it could be potential for contamination. If the appraisal notes any adverse site conditions, that may warrant further inspections or due diligence. In either case, it is the lender’s decision as to whether a qualified third party should map the distances and/or require testing for compliance with local or state requirements, or, in their absence, FHA requirements. Appraisers are expected to have geographic competency, which would include familiarity with local or customary inspection requirements. Local or customary requirements should be noted within the appropriate area of the appraisal report. However, the decision to require a test, certification or inspection, other than what is automatically required as noted in ML 2005-48, is made by the lender and FHA requires the lender to be familiar with the market areas in which they lend.

For more FHA appraising expertise, don’t miss Valuation Review‘s special report: “FHA Appraising 101: 15 Top Tips and 124 FAQs.” Access to the report is one of the benefits you receive when you subscribe to Valuation Review.

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