The British Columbia Realtor
and Water Wells
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A British Columbia Realtor depending on the area which they live and work in BC, may be active in the listing and selling of different types of Real Estate. Some Realtors in British Columbia strictly specialize in specific types of Real Estate for example, Residential, Strata Title, High-End Properties, Farms and Ranches, Waterfront, Recreational, Commercial Real Estate or Businesses, etc.
Mostly though a British Columbia Realtor will work within a general market of a chosen area becoming a specialist who's experienced within the area they reside but listing and selling a variety of Real Estate. Most Realtors prefer residential Real Estate as that's generally where the volume and money is in the industry.
As a Groundwater Water Consultant working with the British Columbia Realtor I find most Realtor's level of experience in groundwater and septic issues differ greatly, their knowledge may not be reflection of their years of experience in the Real Estate industry.
What Is Your Realtor's Scope Of Expertise?
There are many British Columbia Realtors who will seldom be involved in the sale or listing of rural properties, I often find they may not have the experience or knowledge required to protect either their buyer or seller when it comes to water well and septic issues.
A Realtor can also be quite experienced with rural properties and have a good awareness of general water well issues but may not be too interested in rocking the boat, you can't help but wonder if there's more concern for protecting the deal than the interest's of their client. As a result they may say as little as possible if anything at all regarding the water well on a property being marketed. This type of representation or lack of it can truly cause great hardship for others both emotionally and financially down the road.
On the other hand I've also worked with many British Columbia Realtors who'll do absolutely everything possible to advise both their purchasers and vendors that there may be potential problems which may not be obvious to the untrained eye, they actively assist by offering whatever guidance they can.
The majority of Realtors do care, this level of concern can make a huge difference in a very positive way! I have much respect for Realtors who's professionalism and ethics are always nothing less than outstanding consistently year after year. I gladly pass on the names of quite a few Realtors when asked, most of my long standing working relationships are with highly respected British Columbia Realtors.
Periodically I'll receive a call from a British Columbia Realtor searching for information, perhaps they have a deal pending that may have a groundwater issue or they're involved with their first real estate offer or listing that is serviced by a water well. Most really want to know how to do the right thing when it comes to a water well situation, they may feel quite overwhelmed and confused by an issue at hand as there's not always a quick and simple answer... some may be in a situation that's way over their heads by the time they call. Water well education is greatly lacking within the Real Estate industry, Realtors not educated in this area should certainly consider this prior to writing a deal involving your client with a water well.
I know the British Columbia Realtor does shoulder a lot of responsibility and potential liability, far more than I did as a Realtor throughout the 80's and 90's, that's for sure. I'll often share with a new British Columbia Realtor that the most successful Realtors that I know in the industry work very smart, they're excellent traffic directors. They're not calling me to get all bogged down with information that has taken me a dozen years of working in the field to learn... they don't want to and they don't need to know all that stuff, why tie your brain in little tiny knots?
The Professional Difference...
A high producing Realtor is highly focused on being a Realtor of Excellence within the industry. They usually offer many services to their clients. They direct their clients to a trusted team of supporting specialists who also are professionals in their own industries. A British Columbia Realtor of this caliber never gets involved in anything that could be deemed a conflict of interest (in fact they won't even get on the launch-pad.) Of course we know that reputable Professional Realtors are not conducting home inspections and I'll guarantee you, they're not taking water samples or shocking wells either... a smart Realtor keeps everything they do at arm's length at all times! I really hate to put this in print and it's certainly not too common but I've actually had a few cases over the years where a Realtor has called my office asking for instructions on chlorinating a well as they were attempting to resolve a water well contamination issue!
Much of my work has been with the Vancouver Island Realtor for the past 15 years but I do hope this information will be applicable and helpful for anyone within the industry regardless of your location. I often get similar emails and questions from many different areas in North America.
I was also a British Columbia Realtor for most of a decade, I've since spent the last 15 years working as a Groundwater Consultant within the BC Real Estate Industry. I have a good understanding of the BC Real Estate industry, I'm as sensitive as possible to all the issues involved in any given situation where I may be called, it's seldom that I've not been able to keep a deal together... unless the deal simply should not be going together for good reason.
My involvement with Real Estate deals can be difficult and exhausting at times, it often involves problems that are not going to be solved overnight as most everyone involved in the deal would like.
We Could Be Doing Much Better...One thing I do know after many years of cleaning up water well problems, there really is a much wiser way of doing things than what I generally see, I deal with far too many problems that should never have become a problem in the first place.
Generally I need to assess every situation through several sets of eyes, the purchaser, vendor, Realtors etc. ultimately though, I remain focused on the water issue of concern, often the problems are not visible which doesn't help. It's important to be reasonable and fair but accurate at all times, I do my best to make sound decisions although I can sometimes be dealing with the unknown and not always predictable. I never lose sight of the fact that my main concern is always that of protecting public health. There's plenty to consider when assessing a water well problem, it's a responsibility I take very seriously.
Too often I'm called into a deal with some eleventh hour emergency. The final subjects are not able to be removed because of a possible contaminated water well, unfortunately my interests at this point may become vastly different than the interests of the British Columbia Realtor involved.
To perform my duty to the very best of my ability may sometimes mean that not every Realtor or lawyer that I deal with is going to appreciate what needs to be done which could extend the subject removal date for an unknown period of time.
At The Time Of Listing...
There's so much that could be done before some of these difficult problems surface, there would be far fewer problem deals and the onus would be on the vendor to get it resolved prior to an offer ever coming in. Mostly I see things being done backwards. British Columbia Realtors should have all their water well data together at the time of listing rather than beginning to get it together at the time of offer, that would be a really good start.
Mostly these Real Estate files come to my desk with a few people involved (all with their own interest's in mind), generally with much urgency and often for little profit I try to quickly get things sorted out... I have noticed that little has changed over the last decade. There are only a handful of Realtors who consistently do it differently.
Let's Not Forget!
There are people who still suffer from the ongoing residual affects of the Walkerton Water Well Contamination Tragedy which also caused a number of deaths. The Walkerton well was a municipal/community water well which one would have expected to be protected by all the bells and whistles normally in place on a municipal well but instead the well became gravely dangerous. The Walkerton well should have been a far cry from some of the unmaintained, leaky, contaminated holes that I'm dealing with in people's backyards.
I remain driven to make a difference where few are interested in specializing partially because of my experience with drinking water from a source of contaminated water, but mostly because of all of the preventable hardships that I've seen other people suffer both financially and emotionally over the years. I've seen a lot of it, too often people have said to me, "If only we had known".
Are You Taking Water Samples For Your Clients?
It's the assumptions that are dangerous. Purchasers assuming that their drinking water is safe because their British Columbia Realtor took a water sample for them, sent it off to a lab then presenting the purchaser with an official looking report suggesting that the water tested is perfectly potable. I strongly feel this is a very serious conflict of interest within the British Columbia Real Estate Industry and may not at all accurately represent the potability of the water in question. Realtors may or may not realize there's a good possibility that some of the water samples they're taking responsibility for may be laced with enough chlorine to thoroughly sterilize a sample, this is only one very small example of something that can go wrong with water sampling. I now cross check for chlorine residuals with 3 different tests after discovering there are vendors who will actually poured bleach into their wells when they know the water is going to be sampled... yes, it's quite shocking but often a vendor may know when there's a problem with contamination, he does not want his sample failing at the time of a sale. As a professional I'll quickly find the abnormalities. Taking water samples is a really good way to end up in your Errors and Omissions office speaking with a staff lawyer.
I'll continue to add links to this page that direct you to other helpful sites.
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The intention of this site is not to offer legal advice but general information based on my 20 years of experience working in the field. If you have any questions please feel free to Email Colleen
Colleen's Dehydration Tip:
High Blood Pressure - Your body's blood volume is primarily water. Dehydration results in thicker blood which is more difficult to pump.
Dr. Dave Carpenter