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How to sell a house with a well water? Here is what you should know.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 15 million households in the United States rely on private water wells for drinking water.

Private wells can increase a property’s marketability and is an appeal to health-conscious buyers. It offers a safe, modern and affordable source of clean water. Most importantly, homeowners are in control of their own water supply. This is why the EPA doesn’t regulate private drinking water wells, and why you should make sure they are clean and safe before selling.

The best thing you can do for both you and your potential homebuyers is early detection (of possible contamination) and testing. Why? Contaminants can be present, but what’s worse is that oftentimes they can be odorless, tasteless and colorless. Because there is no standard regulation, the previous homeowners could have maintained it poorly. Investing in water testing early can save you a headache later.

You can also speed up the sale of a property by addressing water quality concerns before the house is placed on the market or comes under contract. In addition, proof of a recent water test and water well inspection will reduce the chance of future surprises and enhance the sales process.

At the very minimum, every well should be tested annually for bacteria (E. coli). However, the EPA also recommends testing for nitrate, nitrite, arsenic, lead and pH level. In fact, the VA loan process requires that all six tests be performed (i.e. E. coli, nitrate, nitrite, arsenic, lead and pH).

Well inspections are critical when buying a home with a well as the primary water source. Buyers considering homes in rural settings will often encounter homes for sale that get their water from wells.

With homes drawing on municipal sources, there is an assumption that the water in the home will be readily available and meet the safety standards of the municipality.

But with well water, you cannot make any assumptions about its purity. Beyond water quality, other problems can arise with wells. So most buyers will want to do water test as part of contingency. You can also buy water test kits online and see if your well water has any problems before considering to sell.

Standard water tests will typically check for such things as PH, hardness, alkalinity, and turbidity. Standard mineral testing will often include things like iron, calcium, manganese, copper, fluoride, Chloride and others. Coliform bacteria is also typically checked in most well tests, especially in rural areas.

If you find that the test has determined high radon levels in the water, it can be fixed easily enough. It is, however, not cheap. The average cost to remove radon in water is $5000-$6000.

Check the well quantity!

In most locations, it is required that the well produces 3-5 gallons per minute. Generally, a 3-gallon minimum is required for older homes and new homes 5 gallons per minute. You can also have the flow rate and the yield of the well tested by professionals with the right equipment.

A professional well inspection will do just that. Just because a well has clean, safe drinking water does not mean that it contains enough water to meet the needs of your household.

There are a couple of methods to check on the amount of water in the well. The first is water storage capacity. A traditional 6-inch diameter drilled well can store 1.5 gallons of water per foot. If you can find out the depth of the well, the level of the water and pump depth, you’ll be able to determine the water storage capacity.

When checking on a well’s water supply, the first test done is most often a flow rate test. The flow refers to the amount of water coming from the well, and the flow rate measures the gallons per minute being dispersed. The average home needs 100 to 120 gallons per person per day and a flow rate of about 6 to 12 gallons per minute. The requirement could be more if a large family is creating more water demand.

It is important for most buyers to know that the well will generate enough water, both flow rate, and overall capacity, to meet the needs of your home for the long-haul. Otherwise, you will find yourself needing to drill another well – or wait for the well to refill, which can take a long time.

Well inspections will reveal all of these critical data points worth knowing.

And if you find out that your well water, in fact, does not pass the requirements then you can consider the following options:

1) Call the certified well companies for a quote on fixing the well issues - which can be costly.

Two common methods of fixing well quantity issues are:

  • Drilling a new well – You will find a new location on the lot and put an entirely new well system into the ground. The goal, of course, is to hit a good water source. Drilling a new well can be expensive. The cost of drilling a new well can vary substantially. Determining factors include where you are located, the conditions of the soils and how deep the well needs to be to generate a constant supply of water. Plan on spending anywhere from $5,000-$15,000 drilling a new well.

  • Hydrofracking – Hydrofracking is another method to fix water quantity issues with your well. The process involves injecting high-pressure water via the drilled well into the rock formations surrounding it. The point of hydrofracturing is to widen fractures in the bedrock and extend them further into the formation to increase the network of water-bearing fissures supplying water to the well.

2) Or sell your house as-is without fixing anything to a cash buyer like Easy Outs Homes, who buys houses in Harford County, MD and surrounding areas in any condition.

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