In order to use VA financing on your property, it must meet the VA guidelines. The VA has what they call Minimum Property Guidelines to ensure that a home is safe, sound, and secure.
Does the VA require a septic inspection, though?
Technically, the VA doesn’t require a separate septic inspection. They do require the appraiser to evaluate the validity of the system, though, along with a few other important requirements. Keep reading to learn what the VA requires for septic systems.
The VA Septic Requirements
The old rule stated that homes had to have a public water connection if one was readily available. Today, though, the guidelines changed. The VA doesn’t require homes to have a public water connection; if homeowners want a septic connection, they can have one unless the local codes require otherwise.
You don’t have to pay for a separate inspection on the septic system, but the appraiser does have to evaluate it himself. If there’s reason to suspect that it’s not in good, working condition, the appraiser must make mention of this to the lender, who will then decide if they want to require a septic inspection.
How Much is a Septic Inspection for a VA Loan?
The actual cost of a septic inspection will vary by location, but on average, you can expect to pay between $100 and $250. This is for the inspection only.
If the inspector finds issues with the septic system, there will be additional fees for the repair and/or replacement of the system. If the inspector does find that the septic system isn’t adequate, the VA won’t allow the lender to approve the loan. The seller will have to fix the issues and the inspector/appraiser will need to evaluate the system at that point to see if it passes the VA requirements.
Who Pays for the Septic Inspection?
Just like a home inspection, the buyer pays for the septic inspection. Again, because it’s not mandatory, you don’t have to figure this cost into your fees. If you have reason to worry about the integrity of the system, though, you may want to include an inspection contingency in your contract. This gives you time to have the inspection done and for you to make a decision regarding whether you should purchase the property or not.
In some cases, the seller will already have had an inspection done on the septic system. This is a good move for sellers as it cuts down the time it takes to sell the property and get financing. If your seller claims they had an inspection done, request a copy of the report, and verify the results with the inspector that wrote them.
How Long is a Septic Inspection Good?
Typically, a septic inspection or certification is good for 90 days. If the seller has the inspection done before listing the property, make sure that the inspection is within the 90-day window. If not, you may want to pay for another inspection just to make sure that the system is in good working order.
Is a Water Test Required on a VA Refinance?
If you refinance your VA loan, you may or may not require the water test. It depends on the type of refinance you do:
- VA streamline refinance: If you use the streamline refinance option, you don’t need an appraisal or any type of inspection. The VA allows lenders to refinance the loan on a rate/term basis without verification of the property’s integrity.
- VA cash out refinance: If you need to tap into your home’s equity and take cash out, you will need an appraisal, which means the appraiser will do a water test. The VA needs to know that the property has an adequate water supply.
As a general rule for a VA loan, the appraiser must make sure that the property has an adequate and safe water supply. This can mean either a public water connection or a septic connection. In either case, the water must be safe and adequate. The appraiser’s job is to make sure this happens, but it could be in your best interest to pay for a separate inspection to ensure the safety and stability of the system yourself.