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

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Lawyers don't typically take a case for recovering $5k for a sewer line on a contingency basis. And even if they do, when they send you a demand letter, you can negotiate and settle.

A lawyer typically isn't going to take a case for a $5K sewer line on contigency. And even if they did, before it got to that, don't you think the buyer is going to contact the seller and present the $5K bill? So, you pay the $5k bill. Your method seems to be for the seller to repair, replace every last thing that any potential buyer might someday object to or someday after the sale sue over. All I'm saying is that in a case like the above, you're spending $5K for sure on the small chance you're going to have to spend it later because something goes wrong. Which way are you better off?
A - Replace 20 things today because someday a buyer might want it fixed during inspection, or later sue you for it.
B - Replace a couple things at inspection or later reimburse the buyer if they come after you?

How about the buyer has to PROVE they actually had a backup that amounted to something? That they reallyspent that money. If they have a problem with the sewer, do you think they are gonna shell out $25K for a job that could be done for $5k, on the CHANCE they might recover the $25K later? How about they win and then the seller is judgement proof, ie they can't collect? Any rational person is going to do what work really needs to be done in a cost effective way.

Only if some buyer is stupid enough to actually do that. I say very few are.

If he has no money, then how in the hell is a lawyer going to make money taking a case on contigency? Answer: they won't. They like slip and falls or auto accidents where there is an insurance company with deep pockets. And where it's a lot easier to find a doctor to treat neck pain. Who can prove if a person actually feels pain that could last a lifetime? And juries feel sympathy for someone in a car accident. Over a sewer? Not so much. It's a lot easier to defend a claim over a sewer. Like real bills, real canceled checks, showing you actually spent the money.

Again, I'm not saying not to disclose. Just that you're creating a strawman over fear of being sued that largely doesn't exist. Yeah, a buyer may come back at your for something, at some point. But if they do, it's all negotiable and not the end of the world.
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On Thu, 4 Apr 2013 12:46:23 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

since he was born in 1913, and has done basically nothing to the house in the last 50 years. The outhouse was replaced with a septic system at that time, and water and hydro and central heating were installed at the same time"
The buyer then knows exactly what he is buying - a pig in a poke.
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On Apr 4, 5:31 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

It could be that simple, if that is all true and it's all that the seller really knows.
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On Thu, 4 Apr 2013 12:24:41 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

What kind of disclosure can you get from someone who knows nothing about the property other than the balance owing? The defaulted owner is not going to be involved in the sale, so you buy it from the bank "as is".
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On Apr 4, 5:26 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Is that what we're talking about here? I must have missed that part. I thought it was a house being sold where the owner lives there, has had problems with tree roots every few years, etc, etc And even in a foreclosure, I believe the bank probably still isn't exempt from state disclosure laws. They may wind up answering "no, I know nothing" to every question, but I'll bet they still have to fill out the forms, at least in some states. You're confusing a situation where a seller truly doesn't know about material defects, so they have nothing to disclose and one where they do, but don't disclose it. And I say if you do the latter, you've violated the law in most states and you're not going to hide behind calling it an "as-is" sale.
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Selling as is is great as long as your willing to accept a very low price for the home:( and dont care how long it taes to sell:(
90% of buyers want a move in ready home with no work necessary. later they will redecorate, but they demand move my stuff in and were done.
as is makes home selling hard most customers arent interested, and those who are want give away prices.....
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wrote:

any potential customer MIGHT find objectionable. And there is almost always somebody looking for a fixer-upper to "flip". Let HIM take the risk, unless YOU are knowlegeable enough and capable of doing the repairs yourself - in which case why the heck have you not fixed it already?????
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On 4/4/13 2:06 PM, andrew s wrote:

Can one put a home up for sale, with the specific disclaimer "as is"?
I'm in a 100-year-old house in a declining neighborhood, that I've owned since 1988.
It has LOTS of problems. Such as - messy combination of knob-and-tube/BX wiring (60 amp service w/fuses). Looks to have been "converted" in the 40's or 50's, don't know how much is BX and if any of the K&T is still in use. Almost all house wiring is "2-wire" (no grounds). - siding old, loose in spots, really needs to be torn off and replaced. - windows all old in need of replacement. - main bath shower has loose and missing tiles, ceiling plaster peeling (really needs an entirely new bath) - sewer needs root cleanout every 3-4 years - cellar entrance needs replacement, back steps need replacement - 40-50 year old wallpaper everywhere -- awful stuff - kitchen looks to have had some updating in 40's or 50's, but needs replacement
Over the years, I've had work done when it absolutely needed to be done, but I have refrained from a full remodeling (which would be EXTENSIVE) because I see no point in dumping money into the house in a neighborhood that isn't what it used to be (the small city I live in has been taken over by illegals).
The house is in an area where 2-family (or multi-family) conversions are common. In fact, the house next door (same size as mine) was converted into a "Mexican hotel", doubled in size, property paved over -- a mess.
I have no illusions about what this place is worth. I'll sell it for what it brings and be satisfied with what I get.
I'm thinking this could be a decent 2-family conversion (it's a 2-story and the interior could be easily "convertible") -- IF whoever did it was willing to rip out the entire interior down to the framing, and then do new wiring, put in new interior walls, insulate, reside the exterior, new windows, etc. (The roof is new in 2012 -- couldn't wait any longer). But literally EVERYTHING inside would have to be rebuilt along with the exterior.
When it's time to sell, I'll tell any potential buyer everything I can, but I'm sure there could be problems I don't see.
With a house in need of this much work, how does the seller proceed? Disclose everything about which you know, and then say that the sale must be "as is"?
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wrote:

Certainly. It may have different meanings depending on custom and law.

It depends on where you are. How about discussing it with a realtor?
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wrote:

a lot. No disclosure required - period. If they want to salveage the building, that is THEIR concern - not yours.
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On Apr 7, 1:42 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Unless you've read the disclosure laws for the state involved, the above is just nonsense. How do you know what the law says or doesn't say? And any place where the neighborhood is DECLINING, isn't generally one where the lot is worth more without a house than it is with a house on it. Like someone is gonna buy it to build a new house on it? His idea of it being a possible fixer upper into a two family, etc. makes more sense.
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On Thu, 4 Apr 2013 10:07:36 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

One test is to ask "Is it a material fact that would affect the compensation to be paid?" Obviously you think it would negatively affect the price or you wouldn't be looking for a rationale not to disclose it. I understand your feelings, my house has some slab cracks and small separations in the ceiling sheet rock that occurred years ago and haven't moved since. But if not disclosed and later discovered it could get ugly if the buyers so choose. If their has not been a problem in years your disclosure can say "waste pipe cleaned out X years ago" and leave it at that. You've disclosed. If they care they can ask more about it. If everything is draining properly at the time of sale and you've made that disclosure I tend to think you are on solid ground.
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I wouldn't be so sure about that. Just saying that the waste pipe was cleaned out X years ago and not disclosing that you know it has been cleaned out repeatedly every few years because of tree roots doesn't meet your test of is it a materially fact that would affect the price. Would you pay the same amount for these two houses:
A - Had a sewer blockage of unknown cause once
B - Had a sewer blockage every couple of years due to tree roots?
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On Thu, 4 Apr 2013 13:31:39 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

I agree with your general observation. In the example I gave I was thinking that the X would be some reasonable period of years, such as 5+ years ago. If it was 6 months ago and that was the third time in a year than yes, just mentioning the last 6 months but not the last year would be iffy.
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Because this is a legal question, the answer is relative to the country or state in which the vendor lives. It is also relative to time. Who knows what local consumer protection law may require in 2023?
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
  Click to see the full signature.
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Around here the manager of the MTSA said publically a new sewer line done in bulk that is entire neighborhoods customer owned lines averages 12 grand per home plus restoration. The lines are under streets driveways sidewalks walls etc.
replacing customer service line can easily cost 20 grand per home, lines are often 12 to 15 feet deep, done to prevent freezing in the winter
nearly every home has troubles, when roots enter so does rain water which floods the sewer plant.
the sewer authority has tripled or more the capacity of their plants, replaced mains in many areas and still has troubles
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Where is "around here" that has a frost depth of 12 to 15 ft? Here in nyc area it's 4ft. I think somewhere around twice that is near the extreme for the lower 48. I think you're going off the deep end again......
Twenty grand to dig a 50ft ditch and install a sewer line sounds mighty high to me, even for NJ. Even the 12K sounds high. Just how long does any of this take with a backhoe? Sure, you could have the pathological case, where there is every obstruction imaginable in the way. But for the typical house where you go across a lawn, a couple bushes, maybe a sidewalk? $20K?

I seriously doubt very much ground water is going to get in there.

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wrote:

The FEDS ordered a complete end to storm water runoff into sanitary sewers. some were co mingled from the start of sewers in the pittsburgh area. previously sewer water overflowed into rivers which provide drinking water and recreation.connecting downspouts to sewer lines were common till recently. now every home gets die test before sale.
because of the very hilly terrain many lines are super deep, for not only freeze protection but natural drainage to sewer plants. even with all this many areas have lift stations.
a friend looked at a bargain home it was super cheap except the sewer line went out of the back of the home to a stream bed 200 feet ........ 20 grand to replace the collapsed line. he looked at another home, it was wrongly connected to storm sewerrather than sanitary sewer. 18 to 20 grand, very deep plus street must be dug up and replaved by bonded registered contractors.
allegheny county has rules out the wazoole. and so does most of pennsylvania
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Sure, if it's 200 ft, I can see that. I'll bet DerbyDad's isn't 200ft though, which is more than 2x the distance of the sewer line in any house I've lived in.
he looked at

Sure if it's 12 to 15 ft deep, which is what you claim they are where you are located. And if the street has to be dug up too, etc. But again, those are not the more typical case.

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On Fri, 5 Apr 2013 08:47:03 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

I can easily see the 12K. I had a sewer problem. The town came out and checked their part and it was OK. I had a guy come and check my end and they found the problem, cause by the electric company hitting my sewer line with the new pole. Backhoe, repair of the line was $3500. They only dug a 3" wide hole. So much for Dig Safe. They told the utility where to drill.
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