Real Estate Vocabulary


Water Table- The depth underground of the natural waters as measured from the surface.

In other words, low water table: Good.  High water table: Bad. 

I’ll never forget one day when I came home after a few days of rain and went into my basement and saw about 3 feet of standing water. I was amazed. The sump pump had broken, and I had been flooded.  My first lesson in high water tables.  While many homes which have poor grading might get some basement water after a tremendous storm, there is little that can be done about a high water table.

The Hamilton Twp. and Washington Twp. areas (not all) of Mercer County are known for high water tables, so be careful when buying your home. Years ago, a section of Hamilton was known as The Great Bear Swamp. Enough said.

The best place to inspect for water problems are the basement. Look for:

1. Water stains on the walls.

2. Water stains on the stairs.

3. Water stains near appliances, or appliances on blocks.

4. Peeling floor or wall paint in basement.

5. Check the Seller’s Disclosure. If you don’t believe them, ask them directly.

6. Check the rear yard. Is it extremely spongy?  There are probably water retention issues, and runoff or grading issues.

7. If possible, inspect the home / tour the home after a big rain.

8. Homes with no sump pumps typically have no water  issues.

9. Always get a home inspection, especially if you suspect any issues with water.

10. If there is a stream, or a body of water nearby, be especially careful.  The designation of a flood zone does not mean a home does or does not have water problems.

Trust your instincts.


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