House on Well Water - Posted by Roger Spivey

Posted by rick V on October 31, 2000 at 22:29:57:

Excellent advise. Can you tell us what to look for when buying a property with a septic system as well?

House on Well Water - Posted by Roger Spivey

Posted by Roger Spivey on October 31, 2000 at 15:22:03:


I’ve found what I believe to a good rental property, my first, one concern though. The house is on Well Water vs. city provided. Anyone have any experience with rentals in this type of situation? I’d hate to buy the place and it run out of water!!!


Two essential tests for buying property with wells - Posted by Eduardo (OR)

Posted by Eduardo (OR) on October 31, 2000 at 19:27:30:


I have been investing in property with wells and septic systems for many years (I live on a rural property with same). I also was a broker for many years here and have seen quite a few deals where properties with wells and septics were involved including all the difficulties and mistakes that result from not putting the deals together in the right way. There is no problem whatsoever investing in these kinds of properties as long as you take the proper steps to protect youself. In regard to wells, I give you two pieces of advice that are very important and must always be followed for your financial protection whether you rent the property or resell it: First, you have a professional (check these people out–some are crooks and fake reports) do a “well flow test” where they determine how many gallons a minute the well produces. Ideally this test is done during a dry spell. Dry spell because shallow wells may flow well during the wet season, but dry up in the Summer. If in doubt, also check with the neighbors as to whether the water table goes down during the dry season. Your county courthouse should have a watermaster’s office with info on depth and initial water flow when well was first dug if within the last 20-30 years or so–this can give you insight, but do not rely on old information on well flow. Do not buy the property if the flow does not meet the minimum required by lenders for making loans. Second, and this is just as important, have a specimen of the water tested by a testing laboratory for two things: Coliform bacteria (from pasture runoff or whatever–often found in shallower wells). And, in addition, have the lab test for the top ten or twenty minerals found in well water in your area (they usually have a package deal). In my area, for example, some wells have good potable water. Some have arsenic compounds or other things bad for people. Some have boron, bad for plants. Etc. You will also want to know degree of hardness of the water (p/h scale). If water has coliform bacteria it can be treated, but may come back. If water has poisonous minerals, do not buy. If water is excessively hard, a soft water system may need to be installed. Soft water systems can remove hard water components such as calcium or magnesium that cause deposits to build up in the pipes. Too much iron in the water causes rust stains. Make approval of the tests a condition of the sale. Ideally, seller should pay for tests, But, make sure you hire the people doing the testing and they give their report directly to you. Do not accept test results from the seller or his real estate agent without verification (I have seen many faked results). If test results are bad, seller may be in a bind. The law in some states requires the results of such testing be disclosed to future buyers. If problems can be fixed, you can get deep discounts from sellers who would have to inform all prospective buyers of the problems. These tests are mandatory. If you are going to rent the property, you don’t want to be sured by a tenant who finds out the well water was harming him and his children. If you are going to want to resell the property, you must have a sufficient flow of good potable water or the buyers will look elsewhere. Each test should cost between about $100-$200. There are ways to deepen shallow wells (do not throw a stick of dynamite down the well!). Soft water systems can cost up to $2,000-$3,000. Don’t let well water (unless it’s bad) scare you away if the deal is good otherwise. Those that know how to work this type of property can make good money. --Eduardo

Re: House on Well Water - Posted by Bill Scott

Posted by Bill Scott on October 31, 2000 at 19:17:17:

You can check with the county enviromental engineers. Usually they have maps of the soil and strata and can tell you where the water is coming from. Be sure also to get the water tested for heavy metals and bacterial contamination–especially fecalform bacteria. Check to see where the septic system (if there is one) to the well. If it’s real close, the bank may not fund the deal.

Also, be aware that the deal won’t pass FHA funding IF there is a water line in front of the property. FHA rules require that the property be off the well and hooked into the water line and the rules are being enforced.

I hope this helps!

Re: House on Well Water - Posted by Jack Compton

Posted by Jack Compton on October 31, 2000 at 19:17:02:

Roger, we bought a farm on 20 acres in 1987. Been on a well all these years (and was here before we bought it).

How much water does the well produce? Can you run the prime down leaving the water turned on, or does it continue to supply anyway? If so, it’s a darn good well. Do you know if there’s much alkali in the water? That’s the minerals that turn water cooler filter pads to rock (white color); not really a bad substance to drink, but produces hard water.

Persnally, I prefer well water to city chlorinated water.

If all turns sour with the well at a later date, is there a local municipal you could hook onto? —Jack

Put in paragraphs pls. so we can - Posted by dewCO

Posted by dewCO on October 31, 2000 at 23:23:41:

read your posts.