Saturday, October 24, 2009


As previously mentioned, we had the cottage inspected by a licensed home inspector last Friday. He found a few minor problems, as well as two major ones. The two major ones were that the electrical system was not properly grounded and that there was an issue with the water pressure from the well. We told the listing agent that all items discovered in the course of the home inspection needed to be addressed and corrected before closing. We communicated the results of the inspection to the listing agent on Monday morning.

Apparently, the listing agent did not understand what I meant when I told him last Friday, twice, "All items identified during the inspection must be addressed and corrected before closing." On Tuesday, the listing agent gave us a counter offer, that we would amend the purchase contract such that we would accept the property "as is" and the sellers would take $2,000 off the price. We communicated, again, that was unacceptable as we could not secure financing unless everything in the inspection report was fixed before closing. The sellers seemed to understand that this was non-negotiable, and on Friday they had an electrical contractor and a well digging company come out and give them estimates to fix the electrical system and the well. The electrical contractor gave the sellers and estimate of $1,200 to bring the electrical system up to code. A little pricey, I thought, but still not outrageous. The real issue became the well. Tait's Well Service inspected the well and on Friday afternoon I received a phone call from Mr. Tait himself and he told me the following:

1) The well is a 1 1/4" hand dug well and it is only 20 feet deep.
2) The current well is not deep enough to be up to code and cannot be brought up to code because of the geology of the property.
3) Drilling a new well would require someone from the county health department to locate a suitable place to drill because at best the water would be labeled as non-potable (not drinkable).

Mr. Tait told me that because of the geology of that area, all wells would be between 11-20 feet deep, which is too shallow for code and tends to have a lot of mineral and ferrous salts. Wells cannot be dug deeper because the water at the required code depth is brackish and not fit for drinking.

Bottom line: The well is not up to code and cannot be brought up to code. Because of this finding, we have rescinded our offer to purchase this property as allowed under the "Home Inspection" paragraph of the sales contract.

During the inspection, I wondered why there was so much iron staining in the tub in the bathroom and the kitchen sink and now I know. The water coming up from their well had ferrous salts in it because the water from the well was so close to the surface. Also, their shallow well explains why they had a reverse osmosis unit under their kitchen sink. They most likely did not drink the water out of the tap, rather they used the water that had been put through the reverse osmosis unit to purify it. When I was in the Navy, one of my ships used a large scale reserve osmosis (RO) unit to turn salt water into fresh water. It never occurred to me that the RO unit the sellers had installed was needed to purify the water from their well.

While we are disappointed that this deal did not happen, but there is another place out there for us. We just have to find it.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Any other possibilities so far?