Linda Novak answers common questions that people in Metro Detroit have about everything real estate. If you have a question you’d like answered, ask Linda at email@example.com.
Sponsored by Linda Hiller Novak with Max Broock Realtors
Photography by Erin Kirkland
“I fell in love with the house we saw yesterday, but I am really worried because it is on well water. How is it different from city water?” — Lauren K.
Well water comes directly out of the ground instead of through a city processing system. Think of your home as its own little processing plant. Homes that use well water are usually equipped with their own treatment systems that can run from very basic, using only water softeners and filtration systems, all the way to reverse osmosis and ultra-violet light systems. The biggest complaint I have heard is that untreated well water can have an odor or can leave rust stains if the water has a high iron content. Some people say well water is healthier because it does not contain the harsh chemicals that city water is treated with. Whatever you decide, have your well’s depth and output measured and the water quality professionally assessed to make sure there are no harmful contaminants. The good news is that you can water your garden to your heart’s content – no water bill!
Interesting fact: All homes in historic Franklin Village are on well water.
“I heard you speak at a seminar and you mentioned the term ‘Invisible Mortgage.’ I don’t have a mortgage, so how does this affect me?” — Phil H.
An Invisible Mortgage is the cost of lost investment income from having equity in a house that is not increasing in value. If you live in a home that is not as updated as or has a less desirable floor plan than others in the area, then your equity might not be increasing at the pace of the market. Let’s say you have a home worth $250,000 and could clear $225,000 to invest after a sale. The monthly income from that potential investment would be $562.50 at 3 percent or $750 at 4 percent — approximately $9,000 a year. So while you say you have no mortgage, your Invisible Mortgage could be quite large depending on interest rates available, should you decide to sell and invest those funds.
Interesting fact: In Scotland, homeowners paint their front door red to signify that they have paid off their mortgage. Is it time to invest in a bucket of red paint?
“I am setting up an appointment for my house inspection. You want me to have a Sewer Scope. What is that?” — Elaine R.
A sewer scope is a procedure that is recommended for any home 20 years or older that is on a city sewer and highly recommended for homes in older neighborhoods with a lot of trees. It is a part of your inspection contingency and is performed by a plumber or sewer specialist. It should include use of video equipment that is pushed into the sewer pipe from an access in the home to the connection to the mainline at the street. Tree roots, collapsed or broken pipes can wreak havoc on your home and landscaping and can be a very costly and intrusive repair. Better to check ahead of time and not be surprised after you purchase the home.
Interesting fact: Many of the older local communities offer Sewer Line Insurance. It is also available through private Sewer Line Insurance companies.
Linda Hiller Novak