Everyone selling their home or buying a home may benefit from knowing the FHA rule for plumbing to help prevent possible delays in the appraisal process as well as an increase in the cost to buyers.

I’ve written in the past about other FHA issues but have not covered the plumbing system. The rules are relatively straight forward and should be easy to remember
The main goal is to make sure that the plumbing system functions properly and has adequate water pressure. In order to do this the water supply to the home must be turned on.
The appraiser must notify their mortgage company client if the plumbing system does not provide good water flow and waste removal.

What The Appraiser Looks For During An FHA Appraisal

In order to provide this information to the lender it’s necessary for the appraiser to perform the following actions:
  • Flush the toilets while faucets are turned on to check the water pressure
  • Check to see if there are any foul odors that would indicate failure of the plumbing system
  • Verify that both hot and cold water work
  • Check to see if there are any serious water leaks
  • Report if there is structural damage under the fixtures caused by water leaks
The water heater must also be looked at to make sure it is working. Testing the hot water at the sink is one way to do this.
We must also verify that it has a temperature and pressure relief valve and pipes that divert water and steam that comes out of the unit.
Lastly, the septic tank must also be examined. I covered septic tanks in a previous post so if you would like to read more in-depth detail about it check out that post.
So if you’re a real estate agent you may be wondering what you can do to help facilitate the process. I’ve included some tips to help guide you.
  1. Make sure that the water supply to the house is turned on before the appraiser visits.
  2. The power and gas should be on so that the water heater operates.
  3. Verify that all of the switches in the breaker box are turned on, especially the one for the water heater.
  4. The toilets should operate and be able to flush.
  5. If the home has a septic tank check to see if there is any sewage in the yard near the tank or if there are any foul odors and if there is this should be repaired before the appraiser visits.
  6. Repair any water leaks if they are present. Small minor drips in faucets are not considered severe enough to require repair but will be reported in the appraisal.
  7. Repair any water damage under the sink if it exists