Buying A Home Or Property With A Water Well
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If you are buying a home or considering the purchase of Real Estate in British Columbia with a water well then you may find you are offered little information in regards to the water well system. Throughout British Columbia, Vancouver Island, and the Gulf Islands much of our Real Estate is not serviced by a municipal water system where water is directly piped to your home. Instead many homes in British Columbia solely rely on a water well that's generally located on the property or may be part of a shared well situation.
I've spent much of the past decade involved in many water well inspections acting on behalf of purchasers buying a home with a water well. I've reviewed hundreds of water well systems, it may be helpful to offer some seldom discussed Home Buying Tips that you may not otherwise find.
Always remember that all wells and water systems are different, it's unlikely that you'll ever find two systems exactly the same but that will never be visible to most people. If you're buying a home or property with a water well you'll find there are some properties for sale with very reliable wells. With properly installed pump/pressure systems and perhaps with or without a water treatment system that has been maintained and is functioning as it should, there may be little concern. However, there's also many water well problems out there that have caused the current homeowner plenty of grief, unfortunately much of this information will generally not be shared with you on the real estate disclosure forms prior to your purchase of the home.
If you are buying a home with a water well then understand that it's a "Buyer Beware" situation in British Columbia and many other areas in North America.
If you're considering the purchase of a house for sale whether the property is listed by a Realtor or is a "For Sale By Owner" 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 I've been contacted by new homeowners, many who have unknowingly inherited 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 few problems with a water system that cannot be resolved but it can be very costly for a new homeowner. It generally doesn't take much to discover well/water problems by someone who's very experienced in this 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 lab report... the lab reports are a small part of it.
It is nice but not wise to work in good faith with people as this often seems to be the way purchasers work when buying a home with a water well. When it comes to the water well servicing a property you need hard facts, this is not the time to be dealing in good faith. A homeowner with a good water system will happily accommodate an inspection. When doing an inspection I like to discuss the system with the vendor and ask questions, often the homeowner has nothing to hide and will be open and truthful. If there is a bit of a problem some home sellers will disclose... especially if you ask the right questions. But sometimes the answers I get are questionable and do not add up, if I suspect water well problems I’ll start digging for answers that do make sense, it's interesting what can be discovered!
You may be buying a home with a water well that goes dry every summer like clock work, that's why there are water hauling trucks staying busy. Perhaps the 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 so they won't freeze. Some wells have been buried and the new owner may not even know where the well is, this is not ideal when the pump stops working and needs to be pulled from the well... I've seen entire yards excavated! 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.
If you're purchasing a home with a water well, I hope this site offers you enough information so 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, this site is not intended as legal advice but a guide when purchasing real estate with a water well.
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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