Maine Water Testing
Water testing results from private well water supplies can be hit or miss when it comes to water quality & health concerns. Your neighbor’s well might have clean, great tasting, healthy water…and your well, 50 feet away, could be loaded with Arsenic or Radon. Sound like an exaggeration? You’d be surprised just how common it is!
Maine Real Estate
Buying a home in Maine can be an incredibly rewarding experience, both for us and for our children. The quality of life found here can be difficult to achieve in so many other parts of the country.
Growing up and having lived here for more than 41 years I’m truly proud to say I’m a Mainer.
Having said that there are many considerations to examine when purchasing a home in Maine, not necessarily found in other parts of the country. Not the least of which is making sure the quality of your water supply is suitable for your family’s health and well being.
Surprise! You have (fill in the blank) in your Water!
I, like most Maine people buying or selling a home, hate surprises. Let’s face it, when a home goes under contract for the purchase & sale of a home everyone wants things to go as smoothly as possible.
Maybe we’re talking about the purchase of a first home for a young couple just starting their life and family together. Maybe it’s that incredible “dream home” all of us strive so desperately to own. Or maybe this is a home where the sellers are an older couple who purchased the home 30 years ago, and now it’s time to downsize because they just simply can’t stay on top of the upkeep longer.
In any of these cases, it’s pretty safe to say that just about everyone involved, including the buying and selling real estate brokers want a successful transaction with as little stress as possible.
The Home Inspection
In our home sale scenarios above there will come a time, typically during the home inspection process, when the home’s water supply (assuming it has a private well) will be tested for water quality. Low and behold, more times than not, something inevitably surfaces as a potential problem with the home’s drinking water supply-thus resulting in a potential obstacle to the closing process.
This is where that “fill in the blank” part from above comes into play. It’s also a point when the home buyer and/or seller can have a genuine moment of…Huh?
Think…deer in the headlights stare!
Just a few of those fill in the blank water related surprises can include:
- Coliform Bacteria & E coli
- Nitrites and/or Nitrates
- Sodium & Chlorides
Not to mention a whole slew of other non-health related issues that can wreak havoc on many of a home’s systems and appliances:
- Low pH
Managing your Home Purchase & Sale | “Foresight” can be 20/20 too!
Having owned 3 homes ourselves, my wife and I can tell you from experience that during the purchase and sale of a home, things can go very smoothly if you’ve done your homework and preparation.
We can also tell you from experience that at times things can also become extremely stressful, especially when curveballs are thrown that you weren’t expecting. Let’s face it, buying or selling a home is a VERY emotional process-there’s so much on the line for everyone involved.
Your Realtor | Your Best Friend
The vast majority of the more successful real estate agents Ward Water works with on a daily basis will tell you that assisting their clients in dealing with those stressful emotions and situations that arise is an extremely large part of their business.
Those same agents will also tell you that removing emotionally charged issues before they arise is just as crucial to a successful home sale transaction. Water related issues are no exception.
In the 30 plus years we’ve been practicing water treatment in Maine and New Hampshire it would be almost impossible to count home many times we’ve seen home closings postponed if not completely terminated due to surprises and disagreements (many times at the very last minute) stemming from water quality test results and the need to rectify the problems. A great deal of these cases probably could have been avoided with a little upfront preparation and communication.
Conversely, we can’t even come close to remembering a single case when a sale was ended due to water related issues when the seller (especially the seller) and buyer went into things prepared for these types of issues arising!
If you have a home in Maine and are considering putting your house on the market, now or in the future, some of the best advice we can offer you is to have your water tested before it goes on the market.
We can not stress the importance of this advice enough!
What to test for:
- The primary test you will want to perform is what is referred to as a standard mortgage test. A mortgage test will typically include results for Arsenic, E coli, Coliform Bacteria, and Nitrates/Nitrites. The test also typically includes results for most of the non-health related issues that are common in Maine such as Hardness, Iron, Manganese and pH.
- Test for Radon in the water supply as well as the standard air test kit recommended by most home inspectors.
- Test for Uranium, especially if the home in question is located in areas that are known for having high concentrations of Uranium in the water: Naples, Casco and Scarborough are just a few that seem come up again and again.
Going into the process armed with this information can make such a difference when it comes to setting expectations. It also greatly assists your agent in working together with you at creating the best possible game plan for your sale when it is in fact time to list your home.
If you are a buyer who will be, or is currently under contract to purchase a home our advice for testing is very similar, albeit for slightly different reasons.
In most cases your home inspector, if they are experienced and thorough, will advise you to test the home’s well water supply as a part of the home inspection process. The above listed recommendations for what to test for remain the same (see above).
Even if the home’s seller has recently performed all the necessary water tests in advance (which we highly recommend to sellers) and is openly providing the test results from the lab we still advise having your own set of tests performed to verify that the testing was performed correctly and that the information provided is accurate.
For the relatively small amount of cost involved (most likely somewhere between $100-$200) for this comprehensive series of tests, the step could save you thousands of dollars in fixing potential problems down the road-or at minimum open a more agreeable dialogue between you and the sellers on how to go about rectifying problems and who will be responsible for expenditures.
I’m buying/selling a Home | What do I do now?
First and foremost, don’t panic. If you live in Maine and have gotten your drinking water from a private well, you probably already know Maine water usually has some degree of issues that need rectifying (depending on the source of information you study, somewhere around 1 out of 2 Maine well supplies will require some sort of treatment).
As always, if you have questions pertaining to water testing or if you have any concerns dealing with specific water related issues, you can contact our offices at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us anytime at (207) 675-3272.
We can also perform professional in home testing for you if you prefer not to do the testing yourself.
Feel free to give us a call. We’ll be happy to help in any way we can.