If you have done business with me, you know my preferred mortgage originator is Christine Francoeur, at Regency Mortgage… and you also know that I think she is the best thing since sliced bread!
Christine recently provided me with information regarding the water testing requirements for various loan products (ie, conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans, etc).
With the increased attention water quality has attracted over the last few years – arsenic, radon, etc – I thought it would be a good idea to review the water testing requirements that Buyers may be confronted with, when buying a new home:
Conventional loans: Water testing is generally not required unless something is mentioned in the Purchase and Sale Agreement (P&S) or the appraisal [That said, arsenic and radon pose health risks – as does E. coli and coliform – so whether required or not you may want to have the water tested. Remember, just because you test the water you do not necessarily have to provide a copy of the test results to the lender]
F. H. A.: Water testing is not required, unless: a) there is a water treatment system installed at the house, b) the property is vacant, or c) the appraiser makes note of an issue on their report. An FHA water analysis tests for lead, nitrate, nitrite, E. coli and total coliform. That said, the lender’s underwriter can require the testing as a condition of the loan if they feel it is needed. [NOTE: for new construction, the property must be tested to ensure a flow rate of 5 gpm for a minimum of four hours]
N. H. H. F. A.: The NH Housing Finance Authority requires a full FHA test, including lead, nitrate, nitrite, E. coli and total coliform [If there is a community water system, NH HFA may accept a community water test, in lieu of individual tests]
U. S. D. A. – Rural Development: A water test is required on all properties that have a private well… with testing for lead, nitrate, nitrite, E. coli and total coliform. If something is tested outside of these requirements, then correction would be required for major items (ie, radon) but not required for minor items (hardness).
V. A.: E. coli and total coliform must be tested
Why is arsenic a concern? It is a semi-metallic element that occurs naturally in rocks, soils, and waters. It is odorless and tasteless. It is a human carcinogen, or cancer-causing agent…exposure at high levels may pose a serious health risk – not only as a carcinogen; but, it may also affect the vascular system in humans and has been associated with the development of diabetes. Click on the link provided, above, for more information on arsenic.
Why is radon a concern? Like arsenic, radon is a human carcinogen (cancer-causing agent)…breathing it may cause lung cancer, ingesting it may lead to stomach cancer. About 20,000 deaths a year in the U.S. are caused by radon in indoor air or drinking water. It is important to note that not all drinking water contains radon: if your drinking water comes from a surface water source, such as a lake, or reservoir, then most of the radon in the water may be released into the air before reaching your water supplier or home. Radon is primarily a concern if your drinking water comes from an underground source, such as a well that pumps water from an aquifer (though, even then, not all water from underground contains radon). Click on the link provided, above, for more information on radon.