Buying Rural Property in Southwest Missouri: Your Well

Real Estate Agent with United Country Countryside Realty


Water flowing from faucet

If you've been living in the city all your life, you may not have thought too much about where your household water comes from.  Out of the faucet, right?  That's what I used to think, too.

Once you start planning to buy property in rural Southwest Missouri, there's a little more to it than that.  Unless you live within reach of the rural water districts extending around the local small towns, you're going to be getting your water from a well.

Well Basics:

There are some basic well questions you'll want to ask when you're buying rural property.  Start with these:

  1. How long is the rope?  OK, just kidding.
  2. How deep is the well?  How old is the well?
  3. Who drilled the well?
  4. How old is the well pump?  What size is the well pump?
  5. Has the water in this well been tested?  When?  What were the test results?
  6. Have there been any health problems related to the water?
  7. Are there any non-health related issues, such as hard water, bad taste, etc.?

As always, check the seller's disclosure statement too.

Note:  Don't drink water from vacant properties!  See "Shocking a Well" below for why this is important.  If the well is old and shallow, or the owner doesn't know much about it, I wouldn't sample the water there either.

Shocking A Well:

If the rural property you're purchasing is vacant, you'll need to plan on having the well "shocked" and the water tested. 

Shocking a well is adding chlorine, turning on all the taps to carry chlorine through the system, and then allowing it to sit in the pipes overnight to kill any nasty things that have grown in there while the water has not been used.   

The next day, the chlorine is run out of the system and the water is sampled and sent off for testing. 

Sometimes systems have to be shocked twice.  More than two bad tests?  You may be looking at drilling a new well, or at installing a water-treatment system.

Even if the home is currently occupied, get the water tested anyway, for your own peace of mind.

Give Yourself Enough Time:

The well-test process takes time.  Consider this:  You schedule a well shock, the next day they put in the chlorine, the chlorine sits overnight, they sample the water, the sample gets mailed away for testing, it's bad, you start over. 

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on the inspection clause of your contract.  So you must start the well-testing process as soon as the contract is signed, and make sure that your inspection clause includes enough time to complete it.  I recommend a minimum of two weeks.

Other Ways to Find Out About the Well:

In a given rural area, there are probably only one or two well-drilling companies.  If the current owner doesn't know much about the well, ask your Realtor who the local drilling company is.  If you or your Realtor contact that company, you'll find that they probably drilled the well.  Even if they didn't, someone is sure to know the details.  That's the beauty of living in the country.  No luck?  Call the DNR (see below link).

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has a lot of useful information as well as records of all contractor-drilled wells from 1985 forward:

Your tax dollars have also brought you the following very helpful general well information from the EPA:

Don't Be Shy, You're the One Who Has to Drink The Water:

Woman Drinking WaterWater is crucial, so address this topic right away with any property you're considering. 

Don't be afraid to ask questions.  After all, a well is a topic you may not be used to dealing with.  Be polite, be pleasant, be honest about what you don't understand. 

Don't be nervous about having a well.  Just get it tested and make sure you know as much as possible about it.  I was very concerned about the idea of well water before I moved out here, but now I'm a convert. 

Our water tastes great.  It travels a total of less than 2000 feet from one of the best aquifers in the country, through pipes that we control, straight into my drinking glass.  It doesn't get any better than that!


Comments (6)

Ann Allen Hoover
RE/MAX Advantage South - Hoover, AL
CDPE SRES ASP e-PRO Realtor - Homes for Sale - AL

Hi Judith!  This is interesting information, especially for a city girl.......I am a little bit country but mostly citified!  Best wishes for success in your business and I look forward to hearing about your community.

Sep 17, 2008 01:39 PM
Sal Poliandro - NJ Bergen County Realtor
RE/MAX Properties - Ridgewood, NJ
Broker Associate

Judith - This is great information that all homeowners that rely on wells need to know.  I'll be sure to pass this information along.

Sep 23, 2008 08:17 AM
Judith Reppert
United Country Countryside Realty - Mount Vernon, MO

Thank you Ann and Sal, I appreciate you dropping by.  I'm raising my glass of well water to you!

Sep 30, 2008 04:45 AM
Craig & Sue Guffin
Coldwell Banker Monsees Realty - Sedalia, MO
Sedalia Mo Real Estate

Very good information Judith. Thanks for the post. I am blog surfing in Missouri learning who is out here.

Dec 28, 2008 02:53 PM
Cheryl Willis
RE/MAX Solutions- OZARK MISSOURI - Mount Vernon, MO
MO Broker - Mt Vernon, Monett, Aurora, Barry & Law

Who are your favorite well guys in Mt Vernon, I need to get some estimates on getting a new well punched.-  cheryl(yet I still hang out here in the rain)willis

Oct 26, 2010 09:50 AM
Judith Reppert
United Country Countryside Realty - Mount Vernon, MO

D & D would be the go-to guys.  They're actually out of Miller but they go all over the county.  417-452-2326. 


Hi, by the way!

Oct 26, 2010 01:14 PM