REAL ESTATE REALITY: WHERE, OH WHERE, DID OUR SEPTIC TANK GO? HOW TO AVOID A PORTA POTTY PROBLEM.

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By Maryanne Jackson, real estate broker, CNE. CPRES. DRE#01784021

Photo: Creative Commons image via Free Stock

June 4, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Dear Maryanne,

My fiancé and I purchased our first home in December. We were told there was a septic tank on the property. We had asked our agent on numerous occasions to find out the exact location of the septic tank, but he never followed through with our request; he only told us, “The septic tank had recently been pumped therefore we really had no need to worry about it right now, we just needed to focus on closing the deal.”

Upon moving in we attempted to use the showers and toilets and noticed the water started to back up. We called numerous plumbers and the prior owner- who informed us that the septic had been renovated when the investor bought the property from her and did the flip.

We now are paying $200 a month for a porta potty rental; it is our only way to have a bathroom on our property until this gets resolved.

How could this situation have been avoided? Was there something we should have done while in escrow?

K. W. Blossom Valley

Dear K.W.,

First, it appears that the “Septic and well allocation of cost” form may have not been included in your offer to purchase the property from the investor. This form indicates who will be paying for the pumping, inspection and certification of the septic tank prior to moving forward.

Second, there is a legal obligation to disclose the fact that a new septic and leach lines would need to be installed since the remodel had made your current septic inaccessible by the seller- investor.

Third, it’s best to use a realtor who has experience when dealing with any type of real estate deals. Inexperience can cost the buyer or seller a tremendous monetary loss, stress and inconvenience.

Moving forward, it seems like you may need a real estate attorney to help you navigate through this legal issue.

Maryanne Jackson, real estate broker. CNE. CPRES.

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