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Old 03-18-2009, 03:19 PM
cathy0405 cathy0405 is offline
 
Join Date: May 2008
State: Florida
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
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Default Well and Septic Distances Needed by LO

I just did an FHA appraisal on a rural property on 9 acres with a private well pump and septic. Comment was made in the report "No readily observable septic or well pump defects were noted at the time of inspection. The appraiser has no obligations to measure the distance between the well and septic or lot lines however it was noted at the time of inspection that septic and well distances meet FHA minimum setback requirements. The septic tank is at least 50 feet from the well, the septic drain feed is at least 100 feet from the well and the well is located at least 10 feet from property line."

The lo wants me to go back out to the property and physically measure the distances. Can the appraiser do this or does a qualified third party have to? I am definitely not an expert in the septic/well pump field. No survey was provided to me therefore the location of the septic and drain field was supplied to me by the ho. I could physically observe that the well pump was at least 10 feet of property line but how would I know its exact location from the property line? And without being able to see the septic tank and drain field, how will I be able to get a true measurement of the distances from the well to septic and well to drain field? Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-18-2009, 03:26 PM
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Mr Rex Mr Rex is offline
 
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From FHA FAQ 1/2007
Page 3 of 10 These FAQs are issued to clarify or illustrate FHA’s appraisal reporting requirements and applicability on valuation issues. Content updated January 24, 2007
:

Utilities - Well and Septic
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.
2. Is it mandatory for a well/septic report to show distance to lot lines?
There is no standardized well/septic report and its contents would typically be determined by what is requested. If a lender determines that there is a need to confirm distances between well and septic systems, or lot lines, then the lender would specifically request that a qualified third party measure such distances.
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Old 03-18-2009, 03:51 PM
cathy0405 cathy0405 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Rex View Post
From FHA FAQ 1/2007
Page 3 of 10 These FAQs are issued to clarify or illustrate FHA’s appraisal reporting requirements and applicability on valuation issues. Content updated January 24, 2007

There is no standardized well/septic report and its contents would typically be determined by what is requested. If a lender determines that there is a need to confirm distances between well and septic systems, or lot lines, then the lender would specifically request that a qualified third party measure such distances.

So would this indicate that the appraiser is not "a qualified third party" therefore cannot perform the task per FHA? The LO supplied me with an appraisal where the appraiser measured the distances with approximate measurments and supplied measurements in the report and on the sketch.
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Old 03-18-2009, 04:03 PM
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I can't see through the ground, so I can't measure where the drain field and piping is. There are ways to do it, and some surveyors have the necessary equipment to do it. Most appraisers do not. So am I a qualified 3rd party? No, unless I invest in the proper equipment to do so. In any case, if I were, it would be a substantial up charge from an FHA appraisal fee to do so. In my area, I tell the HO to contact the local Health Dept and see if their septic installation is on file when I make my appointment. If they have it by the time I get there, I will scan it into my report. If not, I tell them that the info may be required for their loan to close, and that they might need it. I have offered to retrieve it (if available) for a fee. So far, they have found it cheaper to retrieve themselves. YMMV
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