Another news story proves once again that comprehensive point-of-sale inspections are a necessity.

A few weeks ago, a couple’s dream home turned into something more akin to a nightmare. A dump truck belonging to workers hired to put in a new driveway fell through the yard into a septic tank that the homeowners didn’t even know existed. Now their yard is a large waste-filled hole.

The couple purchased the home last year and was never informed that they were not hooked up to the city’s sewer system but were the new owners of an onsite system. Cue the legal and financial nightmare.

The home listing showed water as public, and septic was left blank. The home appraisal and home inspection reports both listed water and sewer as “public.” In the purchase agreement a clause stated that if there is an onsite system the seller must provide a certificate. None was provided. A city water bill confirmed the house was not hooked up to the sewer system. But now the septic system needs to be dealt with and the house tapped into the city sewer or it will be condemned. The couple doesn’t want to be held responsible for the expense (probably $8,000 to $10,000) to fix it.

Related: Rules and Regs: Illinois Drafts Standards For Direct Discharge

Let the finger pointing begin.

Who’s at fault? The seller claims she never intentionally left out information. The appraiser should have been clear when noting whether the house was indeed on the sewer system. The lack of information should have been a red flag to the Realtor. The listing agent blames the inspector.

The homeowners will undoubtedly be hiring a lawyer, looking to assign the blame – and the costs – elsewhere. So this turns into a cautionary tale for all those pumpers and installers who also do inspections. Don’t assume the information provided by the homeowner or Realtor is accurate and breeze through an inspection. Be thorough!

Related: Association News: Association News, Calendar, Training & Education

It’s also a warning for homeowners and Realtors. Stories like this present an opportunity to promote the importance of point-of-sale inspections. Your knowledge as a pumper is invaluable to your customers. When selling those time-of-sale inspections, make sure they know it.

For more information on handling these inspections, read Promote Real Estate Point-Of-Sale Inspections To Protect Your Customers.

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