Disclosures and Inspections for Rural vs. City Homes

By
Real Estate Agent with GreatWest Realty DRE# 00827565
https://activerain.com/droplet/4zYc

http://www.myrljeffcoat.com

If I had been born a guy, I’m betting my mother would have named me “Merle” instead of “Myrl.”  The spelling of the name, Merle, just seems like it belongs on a ranch or farm.  But, I was named after an aunt, and the spelling of her name, became mine.  

I have a love of horses, which has lingered throughout life.  I have never owned a horse, and I have dwelled as a “sidewalks-curbs-gutters” kind of gal.  I am the first generation to not have at least lived part of life in a rural environment, and I often romanticize what it would be like to find my home in a country landscape.  It’s part of my DNA.  

As a Real Estate Professional, I know there are intricacies, which make country properties an arena all their own, when it comes to marketing and selling.  Let me provide an example.

One particular rural property that I marketed consisted of a delightful 10 acres located in the south-west portion of Sacramento County – Perfect for horses.  When it ultimately sold, the buyer asked for a Whole House and Roof Inspection in addition to the Termite Report.  Also asked for as inspections - the septic and well to be inspected.  The buyer chose all professionals, which performed these inspections.

After we closed escrow, all was well until the following winter.  That season, the Sacramento region received far greater than usual rainfall.  A levee along the Sacramento River, broke near Twin Cities Road, and flooded the part of the county, which included that property we had closed escrow on several months prior.

You guessed it - the buyer sued the sellers.  Because of the topography, the house remained dry and undamaged.  However, the swimming pool on lower ground, filled with mud.  And while in court, the buyer lamented about the green of the grass growing over the septic tank, located beneath a Willow tree.  

At the time of the sale, the septic system had been pumped and inspected, and deemed okay.  But as we all know – things often work, until they don’t.

Because of this litigation against my sellers, I was exceptionally glad all inspections had been performed – even more so, that they were performed by inspectors of the buyer’s choice. Understandably, homebuyers need to know what it is they are getting into when buying homes and properties.  But inspections also help protect the seller.

In court, the buyers complained it had not been disclosed that the property could flood.  However, the sellers cannot disclose what they did not know or hadn’t experienced.  Although they had lived at the property for well over 20 years, they had never gone through such an event.  And who can predict when and where a levee will fail?

As for the septic system, it was determined the sellers had no knowledge of any problem with the system prior to close of escrow.  Also pointed out was that the buyer had a number of inspections performed on the property during the sale, and ALL inspectors had been of the buyer’s choosing.  When I acted as witness for the sellers, I commented to the judge - “At the time of the sale, the grass was not growing greener over the septic system, beneath the Willow tree, your honor.” 

The sellers prevailed in court.  But it drove home the importance of having all disclosures and inspections completed which can be mustered and provided during a transaction.  Country properties and urban homes each have unique sets of inspections and disclosure needs.  It is important to be familiar with all that pertain and have them performed.

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Ambassador
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Winning in court is an oxymoron.  For your sellers to have had to go through that time and expense in the first place, not to mention stress, is just frustrating.

Mar 20, 2015 08:54 AM #4
Rainmaker
1,433,977
Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert
Richmond, TX

Myrl,

 Even though I am the seller, we really truly care about our buyers if they do not have a realtor I tell them to get an inspection , I do not recommend inspectors for obvious reseasons!

Mar 20, 2015 09:29 AM #5
Rainmaker
2,516,397
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Robert (Bob) Gilbert - What had me scratching my head during that litigation, was the buyer's education and experience in property buying.  The buyer (a teacher), had also bought a number of other properties over the years.  This wasn't their first rodeo!  Yet, even in light of everything, decided to launch this litigation to no avail! 

Chris Ann Cleland - The sellers were elderly.  One had significant health issues, which is why they were selling.  I felt really bad that they had to go through all that.  I kept questioning whether there was more that could have been disclosed or inspected.  But, there was nothing!  No one had a crystal ball that foretold the levee break!  

Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert - I believe it is vitally important for homebuyers to not forego inspections.  And, sellers are obligated to disclose known defects.  That is for sellers, other than banks and estates.

Mar 20, 2015 10:22 AM #7
Rainmaker
3,247,489
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC

Myrl

Well said disclosures and inspections are an important part of a successful real estate transactions.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Mar 20, 2015 12:02 PM #8
Rainmaker
5,343,160
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is a very good story to share. Disclosures and inspections add protection for all of the parties.

Mar 20, 2015 09:04 PM #9
Rainmaker
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Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

A big problem I had with selling horse property on acreage in Rio Linda, for example, was trying to do a septic inspection in the middle of the summer. Our clay soil in Sacramento is hard as rock. You've got to soak the area for hours to get a shovel into it, and we're in the middle of a drought.

Mar 21, 2015 02:24 AM #10
Rainmaker
2,050,765
Robert Bob Gilbert
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties - Katy, TX
Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert

I Just read your above comment and it sounds like to me he just wanted to make trouble for everyone as he was an educated buyer, Have a great weekend.

Mar 21, 2015 06:52 AM #11
Rainmaker
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Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Myrl -- you make an important distinction in the differences in real estate practice even within the same state.  I like how you describe yourself as a "sidewalk curbs gutter" kinda gal and I'm very much a city person and most of the properties I have represented have been "typical" of our area.

I have represented clients who have purchased properties with septic systems(not as common in our area) and as part of our negotations it was requested that the seller provide an inspection report, certification and if necessary a pumping of the system -- they agreed but were upset with their agent that this clause cost they agreed to was in excess of $10,000.  Needless to say, my buyer clients were happy it was not their responsibility.  

I suggest that sellers perform inspections prior to going on the market so any "warts" are "out there" for a buyer to review prior to offer submission or offer acceptance.  They are free to complete their own inspections but at least they have an opinion and are more aware of a property than perhaps than a home seller may be.  

Mar 22, 2015 05:43 AM #12
Ambassador
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Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Yes, there are differences with a city vs a country property and a buyer's failure to do the inspections can cost them dearly.  In this case the inspections were proper and the buyer was just over the top

Mar 22, 2015 09:24 AM #13
Rainmaker
1,433,977
Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert
Richmond, TX

Myrl,

 This was a really good blog, and I hope you are having a great start to your week we actually have spring weather here today!

Mar 23, 2015 07:20 AM #14
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Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

GREAT post, Myrl. Having all disclosures completed is vital to any transaction.

Mar 23, 2015 10:56 PM #15
Rainmaker
2,050,765
Robert Bob Gilbert
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties - Katy, TX
Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert

Hi Myrl, I hope you are doing well and enjoying the Spring weather. Take care and have a great evening. 

Mar 24, 2015 05:46 AM #16
Rainmaker
1,433,977
Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert
Richmond, TX

Myrl,

 

I hope you are having a good week I am ready for Spring although we have that kind of weather today I hear the bear of winter is going to hit us soon.

Mar 24, 2015 01:30 PM #17
Rainmaker
1,433,977
Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert
Richmond, TX

Myrl,

 I hope all is well it is hard to blog with a 11 pound baby dog wanting constant attnetion.

Mar 24, 2015 01:34 PM #18
Ambassador
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Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker - Evanston, IL
Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917

Very cute and and interesting too blog Myrl. I know you could handle those horses.  It is interesting to see the differences in all our unique parts of the country,

Mar 24, 2015 02:58 PM #19
Rainmaker
889,318
Sussie Sutton
UTR Texas Realtors - Pearland, TX
UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers.

The buyers failed to consult with a FEMA person concerning this property. Had they asked they would have been told... " it is not if this property has ever flooded but it's when will this property flood because eventually it will."

Mar 27, 2015 03:08 AM #20
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Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

Wow this could have been much uglier. it is good to know you had done your job well and all was covered.

Mar 27, 2015 11:44 AM #21
Rainmaker
3,980,831
William Feela
WHISPERING PINES REALTY - North Branch, MN
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Well done.  I live in a rural area and sell a lot of rural properties.  I find it easy to transition to the city, in town homes.  But I know many agents are lost once they get out of town.

Mar 30, 2015 10:31 AM #22
Rainmaker
3,194,732
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Myrl, wow what a story too bad you had to be in the middle of all this extra time away from what you are supposed to do...I find that we are lucky here in Los Angeles there is a company called Property ID and they provide the Natural Hazard Disclosures and something like this would have been in the report that there might be a flood zone area...etc...glad the seller prevailed...to me this was more like a nuisance law suit. Endre

Mar 30, 2015 04:41 PM #23
Rainmaker
5,343,160
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

I hope you are enjoying a very productive spring!

Apr 26, 2015 10:22 PM #24
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Myrl Jeffcoat

Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent
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