When you're selling your home on acreage, the water is THE most important aspect of your home. Water quality and quantity is not only important to a Buyer, but it's also important to the lender and the appraiser. So what are some things you should be cognizant of when prepping your home to sell?
What Does A Buyer Have The Right To Do?
Most importantly, a Buyer will want to confirm that the water is reliable, is free from contamination, and that the Buyer knows how to properly and adequately operate the system. After all, each well (and the water it draws) has its own unique quirks that you want to make sure is passed onto a future Buyer for your home. Prior to accepting an offer, you want to provide any information to a Buyer. For someone who's seriously interested in your home, they may ask you LOTS of questions about your water. Don't take it personally, just remember that a Buyer wants to protect their biggest financial investment.
Once you've accepted an offer on your home, a Buyer has the right to have the well tested at the Buyer's expense. The Buyer has the right to test the gallons per minute, to determine how much the well produces, as well as test the water quality, to check for any contaminants in the water. If you have a filter system or some sort, they can also inquire about that. I have worked with both Buyers and Sellers regarding a well - it seems that the Seller is quick to get defensive and say, "Oh my water is just fine!" REMEMBER: this isn't personal, the Buyers are simply protecting their largest financial investment.
How Much Should I Disclose About The Water System?
The short answer: it depends. The long answer is this: you MUST disclose any defect that's going on right now. You also must disclose any systems you have in place, things like that. Realistically, a Buyer wants to know what they'll be working with. Also, I know that you may be afraid to disclose a defect. Trust me: DO. IT. The worst possible thing that could happen is that you don't disclose a very obvious defect, the Buyer finds out about it during inspection, or the Buyer finds out from a third party company (like a water filtration company) and the Buyer becomes very weary. That cliche' saying "honesty is the best policy" really rings true here.
You do NOT need to disclose something that was a defect but is no longer a defect. Say, for example, you had an issue with abundant iron in the water. Now, you have a sand filtration system installed that filters out the iron and it's not present in the water. Obviously, the Buyer is going to wonder what the sand filtration is for, but you don't have to go into a long story about disclosing what happened, how the whole process went, things like that. If you're ever unsure about what you need and don't need to disclose, ask you agent. This article serves as providing generic advice, but it does not determine what may be the most appropriate advice for your specific situation.
Beyond The Buyer, Why Does The Water Matter?
This is a good question! If your well is not adequately producing, or if it has major issues, like excessive iron, bacteria, things like that, a Buyer CANNOT get a loan on your home. The lender and the appraiser want to ensure that the water is adequate for someone living off of it, without having to use bottled water, or some other water source, so it must be adequate to their standards. Your agent can and should tell you what those specific standards are, so you are prepared before accepting an offer on your home.
What happens if your home doesn't have adequately producing water (or if there is no adequate storage tank), or if there are other defects that would deem the water inadequate? What that means is that your home can only be considered as a cash sale. Meaning, a Buyer cannot get a loan on your home. When determining market value, if these water defects are present, and are not going to be addressed, your home can only be compared to homes that only qualified for a cash sale. That will probably mean selling your home for a lot less than what it's worth, so it's definitely worth it to make sure any water defects are dealt with!
Thank you for taking the time to read this article! If you have any other real estate questions or are looking to sell, please contact me directly at 509-844-5843.