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Buying a Home or Land with a Water Well

Private_wellsIf you are buying a home or considering the purchase of Real Estate in North America with a water well then you may find you are offered very little information in regards to the water well system servicing the property. Throughout Canada and the United States a lot of Real Estate is not serviced by a municipal or a community water system instead often serviced by a private water well system.

I’ve spent much of the past couple of decades inspecting water wells and water treatment systems usually acting on behalf of a purchaser buying a home with a water well or private water system. I’ve examined hundreds of water well systems, it may be helpful to offer a few rarely discussed Home Buying Tips that you may never otherwise discover.

Wells and water systems are generally unique, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever find two systems exactly the same but the differences will not be visible to most people, there is so much to know that is not visible. If you’re buying a home or property with a water well you’ll find properties for sale with reliable wells, because there is a well servicing a property it does not indicate that there will be a problem. We have, but really seldom loose a sale over a water well issue… but if there is an issue the BIG question always is, “what will the cost be to correct the issue if there is one and who is going to bare the cost?”

With a properly drilled well, and correctly sized and installed pump/pressure system and perhaps with or without a water treatment system that has been maintained and is functioning as it should, there will likely be little concern. However, there are many water well problems out there that have caused the current homeowner plenty of grief, unfortunately much of this information will generally not be completely disclosed on a real estate disclosure form prior to the purchase of the property.  This may be a really good time for you to want to understand misrepresentation just a little bit more…

When buying a home in North America with a water well then understand you may easily be in a situation known as  “Buyer Beware” or Caveat Emptor

When considering the purchase of a house for sale whether the property is listed by a Realtor or is a “For Sale By Owner” aka FSBO  and the water supply is pumped from a private water well then my best home buying advice is to find a professional to help guide you through this situation. This one property purchase tip may save you thousands of dollars and an awful lot of trouble down the road! Far to often over the years I’ve been contacted by purchasers, many who have unknowingly inherited severe water well problems with the purchase of their new home, many owners simply would not have purchased their property had this information been disclosed on the Real Estate Disclosure Forms prior to their purchase.

There are a few possible problems with a water system that cannot be resolved,  it can be very costly for a new homeowner.  It generally doesn’t take much to discover well/water problems by someone who’s well experienced in the field but few people are advised to have a water well and water system inspected when they are buying a home.  Mostly they are only advised to have basic water test as it’s required for most mortgage approvals.  A basic bacteria test barely scratches the surface, you need to know much more than the results of a very basic lab report… the lab reports are only a small part of the overall water system.

When it comes to water wells, it would be nice but it’s not wise to work in good faith with the vendor and or Realtor as this often seems to be the way purchasers move through the process when buying a home with a water well.  When it comes to a water well servicing a property you need hard facts, this simply is not the time to be dealing in good faith.  A homeowner with a good water system will happily accommodate an inspection, they will have nothing to hide.

While performing an inspection I like to discuss the system with the vendor and ask a few questions, often the homeowner has nothing to hide at all and will be open and truthful.  If there is a bit of a problem some vendors will disclose… especially if you ask the right questions in the right way.  But often the answers I receive are questionable and do not add up, if I suspect water well problems I’ll start digging for answers that do make sense and what I discover can be quite interesting!

You may be buying a home with a water well that goes dry every summer… just like clock work, that’s why the water hauling trucks keep themselves very busy.  Perhaps a well has a serious contamination problem or poor quality chemistry issues… how would like to knowingly be sold a well that is heavily laced with arsenic?  The well head could be below grade with with some serious flooding problems during the wet winter months. Many wells are cut off below-grade to reduce the chance of freezing.

Some wells have been totally buried and the new owner may not even know where the well is, this is not ideal when the pump croaks and needs to be pulled from the well… I’ve seen entire yards excavated in search of the missing well!  The list of possible concerns is definitely long and looking for a legal solution if you need one after you own the home is nearly impossible and very costly to say the least.  Please be wise and do your due diligence up front… this advice also includes septic systems!

If you’re purchasing a home with a water well, I hope No BS Water offers you enough information so that you are able to recognize some of the most basic concerns. I am neither a lawyer nor a Realtor but I have inspected water systems for nearly 2 decades and I am EOCP certified, this site is not intended as legal advice but a guide when purchasing real estate with a water well.

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