When military service members, Veterans, and qualified surviving spouses use VA loans to buy a home with a private well, there is an extra qualification step. VA loans care about borrower qualification, but every property must also meet VA Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs).
When a home’s drinking water source is a community or private well, it must meet VA water test requirements. Basically, the water source must meet requirements established by the local health authority. Below we further explain the VA water test.
VA Water Test Requirements
First of all, any home secured by a VA loan must have a water source considered safe for drinking, washing, and other inside uses. Typically, homes in the city and possibly rural areas have access to public water. Therefore, the local city or county supplies the water and charges a fee based on the water used.
Conversely, homes without county or city water should have a private well source. A benefit is there is no water bill, but owning a private well means the homeowner needs to ensure it works correctly for their safety. The VA loan water test requirements must be met when using a VA loan for a purchase or cash out refinance. In case of a well, be ready for this extra VA closing cost.
Requirements for Safe Potable Water (Drinkable)
- Tests performed by a disinterested party
- Results are valid for 90 days
- Must meet local health authority requirements **
** If there are no specific local well water requirements, then follow the state health authority rules. If there are no state requirements, follow the standards set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Disinterested Party Must Perform VA Water Test
A key part of the VA water test is ensuring a party of interest is not handling or performing it. Which means the buyer, Realtor, or mortgage company may not collect or transport the water sample. Allowed disinterested parties who may collect and transport samples as well as perform the test include the local health authority, commercial testing laboratory, licensed sanitary engineer, or another party acceptable to the local health authority.
VA Well Water Test Expiration
Once the water sample has been certified, VA water test requirements state the results are only good for 90 days. Once the water test results exceed 90 days from certification, another sample must be taken and test performed.
Water Supply Must Meet Health Authority Requirements
As mentioned above, the VA water test requirements state that the results must meet local health authority requirements. If there are no local guidelines, refer to the state guidelines. If no state, refer to the EPA requirements. Generally, as a minimum, water tests will check for bacteria such as coliform and E-coli, but keep in mind that any tests ran MUST pass or remediation is required. Plus, there must be a final passing test for closing. Realtors, buyers, and homeowners, always check with your VA lender and loan officer for specific requirements.
VA Loan Requirements for Community Wells
Rather than private wells, some neighborhoods have community wells providing water to homes. VA has a say so in community wells too. In the VA Lenders Handbook, Chapter 12, minimum property requirements state that “The water supply must be sufficient in size for the project. The local or state health officials must approve the quality of the water. For properties appraised as existing or new construction, the only requirement is evidence of approval of the facilities by the appropriate state or local public utility and health authorities.”
Generally, VA lenders will request a copy of the most recent community well inspection completed by the local health authority. A VA underwriter would review the inspection to ensure that the VA MPR is met in this area.
Have Other VA Questions? We Have Answers
We don’t just know the VA water test requirements! No matter the VA question, our VA experts should know or quickly find out the answer. Actually, more than 50% of OVM Financial closings are VA loans! Plus, every OVM underwriter is a VA underwriter. That’s rare.
Other popular questions involve buying a home in need of renovations with a VA loan. The OVM Financial VA Renovation Loan is an excellent solution for homes in need of some TLC. Another one is how to buy a condo using a VA condo loan. We have experience in getting condos approved directly with VA as well.
What if a buyer is looking to use a VA loan for a new purchase when they are already using another VA loan? The option of using multiple VA loans at once is possible! Maybe the VA funding fee does not make sense. We have a great article on how the VA funding fee works for borrowers.
Wondering how to get the VA certificate of eligibility? Here’s one that shows 6 reasons to get the VA COE before buying a home.