Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Completing a Minnesota's Home Seller Disclosure--What is a Unique Well Number?

Every time I do a listing on acreage I fear for my sellers getting writer's cramp with the amount of pages they need to complete. In addition to the Minnesota's seller’s disclosure form for residential real estate which runs about 9 pages, there is a 3 page well disclosure and another 3 pages to disclose anything and everything known about the private sewer or  septic system plus the handy-dandy location map to note where the well/septic are located. Add in the federally required lead based paint disclosure if the home was constructed prior to 1978 just for fun.  Plus there's a form that must be completed if the property was ever used for the production of methamphetamine, but thankfully, most home sellers do not have to complete that one. This makes the grand total of required disclosure paperwork for most acreage homes in Minnesota to be 16-18 pages. That’s quite a bit of writing but it is essential when selling your home...and it needs to be completed correctly.

I counsel my clients selling homes on acreage to complete their disclosures in detail because interested buyers need to know the correct information. When it comes to the well disclosure, it is very easy to complete properly if the home was constructed in the last few decades. This information is online and has been for years. Sadly, many sellers don't know how to look up their well, so often the forms are incomplete. 

How do you find your Minnesota  Well?  If the well on you property was constructed after 1975, use the Minnesota Department of Health’s Unique Well Number LOOK UP TOOL 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. The tag gives the number but not the depth of the well and it can be difficult to read. I recommend to my sellers to use the well number look up tool, print the report and attach it to the disclosure.
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 always 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 having all the correct details on the disclosures. It takes a bit of research, but in the end, it will give a buyer the information they need to make an informed decision. Since many other sellers leave this information blank, homeowners who go the extra mile will make their property stand out from the rest!

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