The Real Estate Market Is Hot — and So Is the Need for Well Water Testing
The real estate market is sizzling, as anyone with a home to sell or desire to buy knows. A rush of buyers has hit the market, intensified by those looking for a safe haven to shelter in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. List and sales prices have set record highs, with prices shooting up in some metropolitan areas.
Historically low interest rates are making home buying more attractive than ever. For the first time, rates dropped below 3%, driving more buyers into the market and making more costly homes affordable thanks to lower monthly payments. From a high in 2018 of 4.94%, rates dropped to an all-time low of 2.65% on January 7, 2021, according to Mortgage Reports. Interest rates are expected to stay at 3% or less for 2021.
The frenzy means buyers need to be ready to look at homes and make an offer the same day. So, it is critical these buyers have their finances in order ahead of time. They also need to make sure everything with the home is set before signing on the dotted line — and that includes testing the water if they're buying a property with a private well.
Understanding the Importance of Well Water Testing
More than 13 million homes in the U.S. depend on private wells for water, according to the 2019 American Housing Survey. These wells increase property value and decrease utility costs, according to the HOMEiA team. Buyers will pay more for a well in good condition that serves up fresh, clean water.
But without oversight from public utilities, it's essential that a certified laboratory test ensures well water safety, preventing gastrointestinal illness and diseases. Still, according to a report in Science of the Total Environment, only 38% of well owners conduct maintenance every year as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. Both sellers and buyers should consult with local health agencies about contaminants of specific concern, as well as arsenic, lead, nitrates, and radon.
Home sellers should schedule a drinking water test before listing their property. Offering peace of mind with proof of well water safety will increase a home's appeal. If a well is beyond its serviceable life and hasn't been kept in good condition, a well driller and pump installer can decommission the old well and create a new one. Although costly, the investment can pay off with a higher sales price.
Buyers should complete and review water tests before closing on the property. Sales contracts should be contingent on test results. That's important to not only secure the loan and expedite the purchase, but also to protect the family who will be living in the home. Remedying a bad situation could cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. As an example, the cost for a new 150-foot well can range between $1,500 and $12,000, averaging at $5,500, according to HomeAdvisor.
How Water Testing Labs Can Help
If your area includes a large number of homes with private wells, you can support your community by keeping track of them, along with when they go on the real estate market and when they sell. Offer well water testing to sellers as a way to lure more buyers and command higher prices and to buyers to ensure they won't be making a costly mistake.
After the sale, water testing labs can continue to serve as advisors. Well testing annually is critical to prevent illness from contaminants like E. coli bacteria, protect long-term health from arsenic and volatile organic compounds, and ensure a pleasing taste and odor without damaging pipes. You can educate domestic well owners on common well testing FAQs, including what contaminants and chemicals to test for, recommended testing frequency, why a licensed lab is the best choice for analysis, and options if the water isn't fit for drinking or other household uses. In some cases, the best solution might be a whole-house filter and regular testing.
Ultimately, well water testing will not only give you an opportunity for business growth, but it will also fulfill a critical public service.