Most homes in the United States are connected to a municipal water supply, but if you're moving to a rural area, there's a chance that the homes you look at might have well water. Maintaining a well is not as complex as you might imagine. For the most part, your water will come out of the tap just as it would with municipal water, and you just have to have the well's bacterial levels tested every year or two for safety reasons. However, there are a few things you should do before buying a home with a well – just to be on the safe side.

Ask to see recent test results.

If the current owners have been living in the home and using the well, they should have had the well's bacterial levels tested regularly. Ask to see the results of these tests. This accomplishes two things. First, the mere fact that the homeowners are willing to share the results helps assure you that they're not hiding anything. Second, it gives you the chance to see how recently the well was tested.

Consider having the well re-tested if it was not tested recently.

If it has been more than a year since the well was tested, see if you can negotiate to have the well re-tested before you purchase the home. The current homeowners may agree to split the cost with you. However, laboratory well tests are typically only between $30 and $50, and this is money well-spent if it ensures your safety and prevents you from buying a home with a dangerous well. There are at-home well testing kits available, and these are certainly okay for everyday purposes, but when you're thinking of spending thousands on a home, it's best to go with the more accurate lab test.

Have an inspector look over the well system's mechanics.

Contamination is not the only concern in a home with a well system. There are a lot of mechanics involved with the pumping and sanitation systems. If these systems fail, replacing them can be costly. So hire a home inspector who is familiar with wells, and have them thoroughly look over the system before you buy. If the well system needs some repairs, try to negotiate with the homeowner to have these repairs completed before you purchase the home so you don't have to worry about making them when you move in.

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