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.