This question is whether we would need a separate septic inspection apart from regular appraisal for FHA, came up quite a few times lately so I thought I will include it on the blog for future reference.
It all depends on the appraisal. The appraiser must comment on the septic and note whether it meets the distance guidelines for FHA and state whether it is free from observable failure. If the report includes both of those phrases, then we won’t need to get a septic inspection at all. If either are missing, though, we will be required to get one from an actual septic company.
I hate that this one is up in the air, but the problem stems from USPAP guidelines. Up until 4 years ago, it was clearly spelled out in the appraisal guidelines that it was the responsibility of the appraiser to comment on both of these items. But, in the new handbook, they changed the wording and now it is only explicit that they must comment on whether there are any observable signs of failure.
It does not happen often, but since that change in their guidelines, I periodically run into an appraiser who will refuse to comment on the distance of the leech field from the property boundary or the water supply and when we press, they have said it is no longer their responsibility.
Having said that, the vast majority of the time, this comes through without issue, but I do want you to be prepared for the worst.