Possible flip with non functioning well

9 Replies

Hello, I'm considering buying a house in Ohio that has gone pending twice and is back on the market. My realtor found out that the well is not working. We know that it needs a pressure tank, tank tee, switch and miscellaneous fittings. The flow rate and potability sample could not be done, because the well is not functional.

I know nothing about wells and am wondering if I should not bother with this house or bid on it. Does anyone have any experience with wells to know what kind of cost I am looking at with this issue? 


I'm from Ohio  so I enjoy going back and staying with family while working. That said I've never done a flip only buy and holds. The real estate in my area of California is very high right now so it's not as practical for me to do a flip here. 

As for the profit it would depend what I could get the house for...if I got it at what there asking the very low end would probably be a $10k profit but could potentially be more like $40k.

I know a fair amount about wells  having dealt with several homes with them. You need to know a couple of things about the property. Is a well common in the area? If not I would pass on the property.  You will be dealing with it with the end buyer and it may be too big of a downside on resale for a number of people. 

If a well is not unusual for the area then there are a couple of things to find out upfront. Is it a drilled well and if so how deep? While it needs a pressure tank is the well pump working? How old is it?  when was the last testing done on the well for potability?   Was that testing equivalent to what would be done today?  For example when I bought a NJ house with a well the testing was only for potability.  I sold it and I also had to have VOC testing done due to new regulations. The difference in the test cost was $500. If it was pumping what was the flow rate.  Also if you have septic you need to know how far away is the well.    You want to determine if you need to drill a new well and if so determine the cost (call a well driller to get an idea).

Illinois State Water Survey has free web "courses" that you can sign up for if you want more information http://privatewellclass.org ( I have no personal affiliation with them).   You just get emailed 10 lessons and can read them or not.

You can make your offer contingent on those answers. I would put some well inspection in the due diligence.     

Here in North Texas a new 400 foot well will cost about $7000 to drill.  Most people figure a well is good for 20-30 years after that if it starts having problems you usually drill a new one.

An option I have done is convert to community water.  Costs for taps here were $1030 each plus another $1000 if the line is on the other side of the road.  Then you need to ditch and pipe to the house from the road so another $200-$400 there depending on if you do it yourself or not.

I just spoke with a well company near the house. He said worst case scenario I am looking at $7-8k for a new well. For this county as a whole wells are not common but for this city they are more common. I am waiting to hear back from the city to know if I can tap into the city line. The well drilling company told me it could also run me about $8k to tap in to the city lines. 

I would not pay much heed to the drilling company's estimate for tapping into the city line.  I know the cost varies depending on where the city line is located.  Please report back if you get the estimate from the city.  I know the cost varies from city to city and state to state but it would be good information.

I agree with Jon. I wouldn't pay too much attention to the well company. You'd deal with the city directly for an estimate to tap in. If it were me I would tap into City. Good Luck

@Carrie Giordano I grew up in a family owned well drilling biz in Minnesota. I do not know how deep the wells are in your area but 8k would sound about right for worst case scenario. The tank and fittings is easy but if they find the pump is bad then they will have to replace that which will be a couple grand more. Finally, in old wells the casing can be collapsing and the pump will get stuck when they are trying to replace it which then requires them to drill a new one.

I'd recommend finding out how old the current well is buy finding who the well company is that drilled and serviced it. You could also cal your local state authority for drinking water and they will have records of the well too, ie department of health. This should give you a good idea on the risk.

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