How Home Buyers Can Avoid a Costly Mistake Regarding Wetlands

Imagine you are considering making the most important purchase of your life — your next home. Naturally you’re excited at the prospect. But, of course, you are approaching the matter carefully. Most home buyers hire a home inspector to check out the house itself. But is there anything about the land that you should investigate?
Do you know whether there are wetlands on the property? Why is this important? The presence of wetlands may affect what you will be able to do to the property once you own it. Have you been thinking that you would put an addition on the house, install a swimming pool, build a tennis court, or even just enlarge the lawn area in the back yard? Being able to do any of those things may be contingent on whether there are wetlands on the property and on the extent of those wetlands
So, what would be the wise thing to do? Many would answer that you should go to the city’s wetlands department to see what the city’s wetland map shows. You should go to the wetlands office. But typically a city’s wetland map is not that accurate. If you ask the city’s wetlands officer, he or she will tell you that in Connecticut only an on-site investigation by a soil scientist can accurately determine the location of wetlands on any given property. Be sure to have accurate information when purchasing your next home. Just as you would hire a home inspector to check out the house, consider hiring a soil scientist to check out the land.
(The author, Otto Theall, is a Professional Soil Scientist and the founder of Soil & Wetland Science, LLC in Norwalk, Connecticut. (203) 845-0278. He has 22 years of experience in wetland investigations.)

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