Do "roots in the sewer in the past" require disclosure?

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On Apr 5, 10:03 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

d

,

here sewage is now about 3 times the cost of water...and going up more
allegheny county has strict inspection requirements on sewer lines. the inspections are done by retired plumbers.
they give anyone replacing say their own sewer main to their house a horrible time....
they only want registered plumbers to do plumbing
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bob haller wrote:

My water/sewage bill here in Oregon runs about $100 a month for my wife and myself, and we donlt water the lawn or any garden plants. Just the two of us.
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wrote:

In my CT town we get billed quarterly. My water is $148, the sewer $92. That averages $73 a month combined. Rates went up this years to pay for a major overhaul of the sewer treatment plant.
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On 4/5/2013 1:25 PM, bob haller wrote:

We had a terrible scandal here in Jefferson County Alabama involving billions of dollars meant to be use to rebuild and modernize the sewer system. The county commissioners and people involved including Wall Street companies handling bonds and the huge sums of money just went bonkers and turned the whole affair into one giant cluster coitus. Now many of those involved are in prison and we the peasants are stuck with huge sewer bills that are often higher than the water bill in which both charges are combined. Long gone are the days when we had a water bill of $10 or perhaps a whopping $20. It's a travesty of justice for the people of the county and those in surrounding areas who may be dependent on the county sewer system. o_O
http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2010/07/gary_whites_sentence_10_years.html
TDD
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The other side of that is not telling enough and getting sued:( even if you win the lawsuit it will cost big bucks and lots of stress.......
neither of which are good for anyone.
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Bob seems to think that anyone threatening a lawsuit is worse than the grim reaper and that anyone actually filing a suit against you is the end of the world. And on that basis, if you're going to sell a house, you must fix everything and anything that a potential buyer might object to or one day sue you over.
So, you could pay to fix 10 things that cost $10K each on the chance that one day they could result in a buyer coming back to you demanding payment for something. And that something might still not be on the list of things you did fix. And I think we're on the same page, that if that person comes back and says, it cost me $12K to put in a new sewer, you could just pay it then;. Or offer to pay $8K of it, etc. Yeah, I guess there is the pathological case, where the sewer clogs up, the dummies living there continue to flush the toilet, filling the basement up with 7 feet of sewage, grandma opens the basement door, falls in and drowns, the house develops mold and is condemned, but it doesn't sound like the more common outcome to me. The more common thing would be they have a problem, they fix it, they shell out the money, then try to recover what it actually cost to fix from you, the seller.
And again I'll issue the disclaimer that I'm not saying that you should not disclose the sewer issue. I'm just saying that living in fear of some mega lawsuit doesn't make sense to me. It's going to be mighty hard to turn a blocked sewer line into some huge lawsuit. The plaintiff has to prove actual damages, ie what they really spent to fix it. They can't just show up in court saying pay me $100K. He also thinks lawyers take these cases on a contigency basis and I doubt that is true for the typical sewer clogged up case.
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wrote:

well if you had a choice would you like to be sued? and even if you win theres still lawyers fees.... they can amount to thousands...
all easily prevented by disclosure... hey the sewer has backed up a few times roto rooter cleared them
now I live in pittsburgha very hilly area with freeze thaw cycles that make the ground move, two old friends do backhoe work, they report lines deeper around here to minimize earth movement and breaking lines.. Its very common to see a dig around here with those heavy steel plates supported by heavy steel rods holding them apart, to keep ditches from collapsing.
my neighborhood water line is 6 foot deep, its broken a few times and it gets fixed... my dads water line in phoenix is just a foot deep at best.,.
it all depends on where you live
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

It is informative. If you don't learn anything from it, then don't comment on it.
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On Thu, 4 Apr 2013 11:28:17 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

Many disclosures are not problems. It could simply be notice. For example, we all know water heaters don't last forever. If you replaced it 8 years ago why not just disclose that when the question asked on the form is "Condition of water heater". Just say "Replaced 8 years ago". Then you won't have a buyer move in and have it leak and claim they it "looked like new" and they thought it was new and if it was "so old" you should have disclosed it. Another option is to simply sell "as-is" even if you still disclose. And NOTHING has to be dealt with to the buyers satisfaction unless that's what the contract says. Most standard contracts make provisions for...
1 - A required disclosure by the owner (the owner can answer "unknown" to everything if they wish but if they really knew something that can be risky) 2 - A ten day inspection period. Usually with a NOTE suggesting the buyer hire a professional inspection service. 3 - a requirement for the Buyer to request in writing the repair of those things deemed in need of repair. There is usually a time frame during which they need to make this request, perhaps within 5 days after the inspection period expires. 4 - Acceptance or rejection by the Seller of the buyers demands. 5a - If accepted, then it gets fixed, reinspected, and sale moves forward. 5b. - if rejected, then the buyer needs to decide whether to accept it without repairs or propose a reduction in price or ???. Whether to accept it is up to the seller.
The above presumes there is no preset dollar amount within the seller "must repair" or other similar provision. Basically the inspection period is a 10 day window for the buyer to get cold feet -- here in AZ they can basically claim their detailed inspection just makes them leery of the house and reject it. Technically, they need a real reason but no one wants to go to court and have their home sale tied up for a couple years so sellers won't challenge a rejection.
Similarly, if a seller wants out they can reject all repair requests and hope the buyer walks away but the seller has the upper hand since they can just accept the defects and proceed with the sale. That said, you really can't force someone to sell if they change their mind, the best you could do is sue them for damages, assuming you can prove damages from not being able to buy that house.
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-

re: "the inspector saw water stains on a garage wall suggesting a past leak"
I've actually been wondering about that in my own house. Many years ago we had some ice dam issues and water leaked into the house. There is a section of the attached garage ceiling where not only is there a brown stain, there is also a few small holes where I opened it up to let the water drain out. (We don't park in the garage, so the holes don't bother me)
Fixing the holes won't be an issue, and I guess I could paint the ceiling, but I've often wondered how I would explain the stains if I decided to sell. The house been re-roofed using modern (2012) methods and we made it though this past winter without a single ice dam problem, even doing without the ice melt cables for the first time in 10 years.
Still, if you look at the joists in the basement and parts of the garage, you can see evidence of the ice dam problem from a decade ago. I can't imagine that they won't be noted during an inspection, which will then lead to a need for me to give an explanation.
I guess I could pull out the pictures of the ice dams, show them the dates and hope any potential buyer (or inspector) believes that the problem occurred a very long time ago. Still, it could scare off a buyer that was on the edge anyway.
I'm not losing sleep over it, it's just something that I think about every now and then.
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DerbyDad03 wrote on Thu, 04 Apr 2013 11:02:21 -0700:

I bought two houses, "as is", without even a home inspection (except for the well water and a search for code violations).
So, one option for the seller is "as is".
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...and one option for the buyer is "no way".
These days, I think you would be seriously limiting your buyer pool if you refused any and all offers that required an inspection.
Buying a house without wanting an inspection, as you did, is easy. Selling one while refusing to let an inspection be part of the deal might not be.
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On Thu, 4 Apr 2013 11:33:07 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

No problem if the price is "right". Quite a few houses are advertized as "as is -handyman special" or "needs some attention" or "TLC required". The buyer goes in with eyes wide open - what he sees (or doesn't see) is what he gets. The price reflects this - but let's face it. If a house needs $20,000 to bring it up to "condition" to sell, you are unlikely to get $20,000 less selling it as is. The new owner is going to make modifications anyway - so drop the price the estimated cost of the "required" repair and you come out ahead. A prospective buyer who is not going to be doing upgrades is unlikely to buy the house at any rate. The guy doing major renovations will spend less on the repair, in many cases, than you will - because it's part of a bigger job he'll be doing anyway - even if you spent the $20,000 in repairs.
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$25K off the asking price doesn't mean much to those of us that don't know the asking price.
$25K off an asking price of $100,000 is huge. $25K off an asking price of $1,000,000 isn't much more than an annoyance.
We need both numbers or perhaps a "percentage" off the asking price to get a feel for how much the "as-is" offer was really worth.
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0

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I don't think the "as is" sale is really a viable option for this root problem. What kind of haircut do you think you'd wind up with if you start raising red flags on the whole house by doing that? My guess is a lot more than the cost of fixing the sewer.
Also you might want to check with a lawyer about what exacly "as-is" means in your state. I don't think it exempts you from following the state disclosure laws. So, you could sell a house stating it's "as is" and if you had a failed septic system that you knew about, had a history of problems with, etc, and didn't disclose it, I think the buyer could still sue you and win.
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wrote:

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That's my understanding also. "As is" doesn't eliminate the requirement to disclose items that may impact the buyer's decision.
I found this from an agent in California. This is exactly how I thought it works, although I haven't bought or sold a house in a long time, so it could be wrong or different in different locations.
"The California Residential Purchase agreement states that the sale is "as-is." It also gives the buyer the right to investigate the condition of the home and the obligation for you to disclose any materials facts about the condition of the home that will or could affect the buyer's decision to purchase. The buyer can then request repairs which you can refuse to make or agree to pay for and make or agree to a price reduction for the cost of the repairs or to pay the buyer for the repairs at close of escrow (all negotiable in your transaction). "
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That's pretty much my understanding too. Absent a specific guarantee, real estate sales are "as is" anyway. By advertising it "as-is" to me means the seller doesn't want to do any repairs. So, if the place needs paint, the dishwasher doesn't work, the deck needs some repairs, obvious stuff that can be easily seen, I would not expect them to fix that or ask for a further discount. But if an inspection turns up that the septic system is shot or there is extensive termite damage and that was not disclosed, perhaps not even known to the seller, then you can bet I'd be asking for a price reduction or I walk. And the seller now knows that it needs a septic system, so they will have to disclose that to other potential buyers.
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I have a root infested sewer. every joint from under the house to the street has roots. I ROCK SALT the sewer line a few times a year. Mix very hot water with rock salt and let lay in line for day. Go to work use no water at all.
cost about 3 bucks for 25 pounds of salt, salt kills roots FAST but does not hurt trees. Been doing this for 15 years at least.... The line at the street is over 12 feet deep and probably 15 grand to replace:( not including new basement and garage floor, new driveway, and new wall and part of sidewalk
Incidently a mature trees roots can be 2 to 3 times the size of its drip edge.... and bushes can get int sewers too.
I would ABSOLUTELY disclose this at home sale time, or risk a nasty lawsuit
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Not saying they shouldn't disclose it. But I wouldn't be so fearful of a nasty lawsuit either. If he discloses it, he's very likely going to have to pay for the repair. If he doesn't and the buyer has a problem in a year, then they buyer is going to have to get it fixed. Their potential recovery is pretty much what it cost to get the tree roots cleaned out and then to presumably replace the sewer line. I guess if the house has a basement bathroom and there is the potential for the place to get filled up with sewage, because some dummy keeps flushing the toilet, that could be a factor. But it also usually costs money to bring a lawsuit, it's not trivial and there is no guarantee of winning after you shell out all the legal fees. If the sewer line cost $5k or $10K, are you going to go to war over that? Especially if the seller says I'll pay it, or most of it? I mean the court is going to award actual damages, not a $100K pay day.
The seller might find that a year later if the problem actually happens, the buyer contacts him, he might just settle it with the buyer for about the same amount it would have cost him to replace the sewer himself. Again, not saying that's the ethical or right thing to do in this case, just making the observation.
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wrote:

lawyers who work on contigency are not a sellers friend.
mr X buys a home and 9 months later the tree roots back up the sewer. the plumber is called and after snaking and a camera inspection the new owner gets the bad news, new sewer line needed....
he mentions it to his next door neighbor who reports XYZ plumbing came in the past. They have the BiG RED Truck with the graphics, its hard to miss:)
a quick call to XYZ plumbing confirms......
the new owner has little money and a new mortage. so he finds a lawyer who only gets paid if he wins the case.
the lawyer asks what about the damages from the back up?? any mold in your basement now? how about restoration? sidewalks permits, large tree removal to get macine in to do work...... etc etc.
lawyer gets percentage of win so lets run the bill up......
old owner spent home sales money on something else, and once the courts are done with him and he ha paid lawyer to attempt to defend him its a big mess......
all avoided by disclosing...
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