VA appraisals

VA Appraisal Requirements For Water Supply To The Home

January 2, 2019

VA Appraisal Requirements For Water Supply To The Home

083-logoOne common question we often get regarding VA appraisal requirements for homes to be purchased with a VA guaranteed mortgage loan involves the question of what types of water supply is acceptable for the home. Can a well or other system not hooked up to a city system be considered acceptable to the VA for loan approval?

Chapter 12 of the VA lender’s handbook states, “Connection to a public or community water/sewage disposal system is required whenever feasible.” However, it’s not always feasible to have a connection to the city water supply. In such cases, what does the VA Lender’s Handbook say about minimum property requirements for wells and water treatment systems?

The quality of the water supplied to the home in such cases is paramount. “Water quality for an individual water supply must meet the requirements of the health authority having jurisdiction.  If the local authority does not have specific requirements, the maximum contaminant levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will apply.”

“If the health authority is unable to perform the water quality analysis in a timely manner, a commercial testing laboratory or a licensed sanitary engineer acceptable to the health authority may take and test the water sample.”

The VA further reinforces this idea in another part of Chapter 12, stating:

“Water treatment systems are not acceptable for wells which do not meet VA quality standards due to insufficient depth or a contamination source near the supply.” This seems fairly strict, but what about situations where the home is otherwise acceptable to the VA and public water is not available?

From Chapter 12: “…if public water is not available and individual water supplies in the area are served by an aquifer confirmed by the health department to be contaminated, the property is eligible for a VA loan if the lender provides:

  • A copy of the health department letter confirming the aquifer contamination.
  • Evidence that all of the requirements in HUD Mortgagee Letters 92-18 and 95-34, concerning individual water purification systems, have been met for the property.
  • The veteran purchaser’s written acknowledgment that he/she understands that the well water serving the property must be continuously treated by the homeowner, as required by the local health department, to be considered safe for human consumption.”

If you aren’t sure whether the property you want to purchase meets these conditions, discuss your needs with the VA Regional Loan Center with jurisdiction over your zip code.

Do you have questions about VA home loans? Ask us in the comments section.

6 Comments
  1. Piper Barton

    I have a listing that only has a well for all water supply right now. I am receiving a VA offer...there IS city water hookup available. Will VA mandate that the property be hooked up for financing. What does ""whenever feasible" mean? Cost...??? How is the "whever feasible"...measured? Thanks!

    • Joe Wallace

      That may depend on the individual circumstances--for best results, consult the VA Regional Loan Center with jurisdiction over your area. You can find yours at http://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/contact_rlc_info.asp

  2. Tumblin, Bill & Linda

    Could you give your input for a cistern system rather than a well. We are looking at property with a cistern system in place. There is no public water available. To drill a well it would be quite expensive. Does the VA allow cistern systems under any circumstances. We are in South Dakota. Thank you, Linda

    • Joe Wallace

      The cistern issue may be regulated by local or state law, in which case that law would apply--you'll need to check with the local authority to see what regulations might apply. A cistern system that doesn't comply with the applicable code would be unacceptable to the VA.

      • edward geesaman

        I was just notified by the Ohio Regional Loan Center that the va does not approve cisterns under any circumstances. My cistern is 1 year old and the township is in the process of running water lines on our road. My va loan was otherwise approved. In my opinion this is a cold decision for a disabled veteran.

        • Joe Wallace

          VA loan rules state the following: "Springs or cisterns are permitted where such facilities are customary and the only feasible means of water supply, provided they are installed in accordance with the recommendations of the local health authority, and the veteran purchaser acknowledges in writing his/her awareness of the situation."

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