FHA Tip: Turn The Water On To Save Your Borrower Money

I recently did an FHA appraisal on a property.  The home was relativily new so there were not major issues with peeling paint, inadequate electrical service, or other typical concerns.  The only issue was the fact that the water had not been turned on.  The property was a foreclosure so this is not untypical, however FHA states the following:

Plumbing System

  • Flush the toilets and turn on a representative number of faucets to determine that the plumbing
    system is intact, that it does not emit foul odors, that faucets function appropriately, that both
    cold and hot water run and that there is no readily observable evidence of leaks or structural
    damage under fixtures.
  • Turn on several cold water faucets in the house to check water pressure and flow. Flushing a
    toilet at the same time will also reveal any weaknesses in water pressure.

Its important to note that HUD wants to know if the property they are providing financing for has adequate water supply and if there are any repairLow water flow issues.

If the water supply is turned off, service must be restored to the house, which of course is done by the local water utility company.  If the water service is turned on but there is still no water, then you may have to check the water meter, which has a valve that turns the water on and off.

Water meterBy verifying that water is being supplied to the home before the appraisal an extra trip by the appraiser can be avoided along with the additional cost to the borrower.


  1. I have been in the same situation as Tom and had to make the appraisal “subject to” and then make a 2nd trip to the property. Most of the time this happens on vacant homes when the water has been turned off and the seller or agent think it is turned on.

    • Yeah, most people I have spoken to have ran into this problem. I am thinking about coming up with a realtor “FHA cheat sheet” to help them with the most common FHA problems.

  2. Good tip, Tom. Have you ever had a house fail FHA due to issues with water?

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