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Knowing your arse from your elbow.

October 11, 2010

Knowing your arse from your elbow.
Contaminated real estate
I prefer to stick inside my comfort zone in real estate, where I feel confident I know my arse from my elbow. I met a wonderful young couple recently who are in the process of losing their home to foreclosure. The house is now underwater, thanks to a foreclosure of a similar home next door to them. The house will go on the market as a short sale but…

Let me explain. After moving in Mrs. Happy Homeowner begins to experience some very unusual health issues. Finally a savvy doc figures out she lives behind a chemical plant, and her health issues are directly related to this. (The plant is listed on the Superfund site by the way.) Granted, they have done cleanup, still ongoing actually. But she is getting sick none the less. Her only option? Sell the house and move.

The house next door is foreclosed and sells for a very low price. Her house tumbles in value. Where to turn next? An attorney advises them to stop paying the mortgage, allow the lender to take it back. I don’t know all the details here, I am guessing the lender did not want to do a “deed in lieu of foreclosure”.

The home of her dreams is now the nightmare of her existence.

When she purchased the home she had no idea there was a chemical factory anywhere nearby, let alone in her back yard. AND NEITHER DID HER REALTOR®! There is no duty to disclose this information in CT. The contamination was not on the property she was purchasing. To me, however, I feel a duty to my clients to know these things about the areas in my comfort zone! It’s like getting an email from a client who is sure a particular house is “it”, is the perfect house. Ah, this house is directly under the high tension wires, will that bother you? Of course that is a no-brainer because we can all SEE the high tension wires. But what about contaminated sites? Should we know about them and disclose to our buyers that yes indeed, your dream home is adjacent to a super contaminated site, or a chemical plant, or a slaughterhouse? They look at me as a local expert, how can I not tell them certain things about a neighborhood?

I’m sticking with my comfort zone, I would hate to get a phone call from a client basically telling me I didn’t know my arse from my elbow and put them next to a toxic waste dump or something.

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