Don’t End Up All Wet. Take Time for Real Estate Due Diligence

March 17, 2015

As a wetland delineator, the worst part of my job is giving bad news to someone who purchased property to build their dream home, only to find out that they can’t build because there are wetlands present.  It pays to do research in the beginning of your property search instead of getting stuck with a parcel that contains a significant amount of unbuildable wetland area. With just a little bit of work, wetland due diligence as part of a real estate transaction can save you time, money and bad news.

Below are a few great websites to check out for more information.

  • Visit the Wisconsin DNR’s Wetlands web page and explore the “Locating Wetlands” section.
  • Explore the WDNR Surface Water Data Viewer.
    Pay particular attention to wetlands less than two acres, wetland indicator soils and inventoried wetlands, as these features could impact how you develop your site.
  • If you believe there may be wetlands on your property, have a wetland professional visit the site to determine if wetlands are present. Wetland determinations and delineations completed by WDNR Assured Delineators are pre-approved by the WDNR, due to the delineator’s high level of education, experience and proven quality. Read my blog for more information.
    Avoid Delays, Mitigate Risk by Hiring a Wisconsin DNR Assured Wetland Delineator
  • Check with local agencies (county/town/municipality) for specific zoning requirements such as shoreland zoning, ecologically sensitive areas and other setbacks. Learn more about WDNRs regulations.
  • Include a Real Estate Addendum with your real estate offer. This allows the buyer to verify the presence of wetlands and to negotiate the offer if wetlands are found on the property.

More Information
If you would like more information about raSmith’s ecological services or are in need of wetland delineation services, please contact me in our Madison, Wis. office at (608) 421-5317 or

About the Author

Theran Stautz has more than 14 years of wetland and forest resource experience in the Great Lakes and Southeast regions of the United States. He is an Assured Wetland Delineator with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. His experience includes wetland determinations, delineations, identification of specific vegetation community boundaries, native habitat restoration, invasive species management and prescribed burn activities.

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