Sunday, June 12, 2011

Filling out YOUR Minnesota Seller’s Disclosure Form—What is a Unique Well Number?

The seller’s disclosure form for residential real estate in Minnesota is currently nine pages long. It may seem like a lot of pages, but if your home was built after 1978 and has city water and sewer, there are more. If a home was built prior to 1978, the seller must fill out the two page federal disclosure regarding lead based paint. If a home has a septic system, the seller needs to complete a three page disclosure for subsurface sewage treatment systems. And if a home has ever had a well for water, there is a specific three page disclosure for wells. This must be completed whether the well is sealed or not. (There is an additional disclosure form if a home has ever been used for the production of methamphetamine, but thankfully, most home sellers do not have to complete that one.) And a handy-dandy location map is required for well/septic systems too.
So the grand total of required disclosure paperwork for most acreage homes in Minnesota is 16 pages—or 18, if built prior to 1978. That’s a lot of paperwork for listing your home but it is essential. More importantly it is essential to that it is completed completely and correctly.
One of my pet peeves when showing an acreage home is when the well disclosure isn’t properly completed on a recently built home. One of the first questions on the form…and probably the most important is, what is the Minnesota Unique Well Number and the depth and type of well. Often this is blank. I understand that most people have no idea of what the exact information is off the top of their heads. But for homes constructed after 1975, this is very simple information to obtain.
I have a link the Minnesota Department of Health’s Unique Well Number LOOK UP TOOL on my website so all my clients can easily locate this essential information. Every well constructed since the late 1970's has been tagged with a metal tag and its unique number. The numbers are logged and tracked by the MDH. So even if it is 30 below and Minnesotans are experiencing a horrific blizzard, a homeowner can log on to the website and find the necessary information to complete their disclosure form. (It's soooo much easier to find this time of year!)
Once located, I recommend that sellers print out a copy of the report and attach to the disclosure paperwork because it shows all the necessary well construction details (i.e. who constructed, when, depth, type, etc.)
HELPFUL TIPS FOR USING THE LOOK-UP TOOL I have noted a few important tips for using this website because it can be a bit frustrating if you are not familiar with it. Here are a few quick tips to simply your look-up experience:
  1. Use Internet Explorer as your browser. The site doesn’t work well with newer browsers like Firefox and Chrome. There isn’t a mobile app for this either.
  2. Disable pop-up blockers. The map and information will show in a pop-up window and it looks like the site isn’t working if you have pop-up windows blocked.
  3. The information posted will not always show the current owner but the name of the owner or builder that filed the original paperwork.
  4. Sometimes the well will not always be listed by street address but still can be found by looking at the plat map of the street.
Take the time to fill out the form correctly as this is important information for the new buyer. Buyers appreciate when the seller takes the time to put the correct details on the disclosures. It takes a bit of time and research, but in the end, your buyer will have all the information needed to make an informed decision. Since many other sellers leave this information blank, sellers who go the extra mile will make their home stand out from the rest!

Copyright 2011