Veterans and active military members can purchase and refinance homes that don’t have public water. Having a private well does not disqualify you from getting a VA home loan but there is additional inspections required by the VA.
Lenders will need to verify that the water meets health and safety requirements of the local health authority.
This is done to protect and ensure that the house you are looking to buy or refinance is safe.
VA Well Test Requirements
VA realizes that not all homes have a connection to a public or commuity water source and seweage. This is especially common in rural properties.
So if you’re looking to get financing for a home that doesn’t have public water access, you will need to get your water tested by a professional.
Community Water Supplies
For properties with community water supplies, testing documentation from the local health authority can suffice.
Private Well Requirements
For private wells, you will need to get a professional to test your water. The test can be done from a faucet inside the house or outside the house but lenders may need to confirm with local authorities that an external water source is acceptable for testing.
If you can’t use a local health authority, you can use a commercial testing lab.
The cost of the inspection is tupically billed up front and is the responsibility of the Veteran. On a home purchase, the seller can cover the cost of the inspection by issuing a seller credit to the buyer.
VA Water Test Requirements
The VA Doesn’t actually have a defined list of contaminants and requirements for private well water. Tyipcally, your lender will default to stating the test has to pass the local health authority standards.
The common Well tests look for the presence of nitrates, nitrites, coliform and lead, but this can vary based on where you’re buying or refinancing your home. The main thing for the VA is that the water meets LOCAL health requirements which could vary in different regions.
Shared Wells and Cisterns
A cistern is a waterproof receptacle for holding liquids, usually water. Cisterns are often built to catch and store rainwater. Cisterns are distinguished from wells by their waterproof linings.
A shared well is a well that services more than one home whether its for residential or irrigation purposes. They can service up to two or more homes, and if there were more than four, then it would be classified as a community well.
For shared wells, there are a few requirements:
– The well has to support each property with safe water at the same time
– A permanent easement that allows access for repairs to the well system must be in place
– There needs to be a formal well-sharing agreement among property owners
The VA and the mortgage lender want the Veteran to sign a hold harmless letter. The hold harmless agreement acknowledges they’ll be using one of these water sources.
Unsafe Well Water – what’s next?
If your water test fails to pass local standards, you will need to have the issue corrected and retest the water. You will not be able to have your loan move forward without a water test that passes health and safety requirements.
Installing a purifcation device is not something that will be able to fix the issue.
Water issues can create some major issues for you obtaining financing on your home.
If you have any further questions about your well water and how to perform the test, please reach out to us.