Profile picture for Block600

Sold "As is" what are my rights..?

Just closed on first house 2mths ago in Franklin county.  Bank owned sold "As is" our realtor told us prior to close that the bank would fix everything need to be "livable."  Recent smells of sewage outside. Called pro and found out we have a lift station (new to us) and that is covered with rotted plywood.  Not working, unsanitary and poss sewage backup into house.  Contacted realtor and said she knew nothing about it.  Said since our inspector and the appraiser didnt notice it and that we are on our own. Pump is out and needs to be replaced before sewage backs up into our home.  Need advice as to what to do.  Should i go after my realtor and the bank to pay for it?  Realtor said she couldnt have disclosed something to me she didnt know about but, isnt that something (lift station) that should be on the MLS? So that as new homebuyers we know to have that looked at? 
  • October 15 2010 - Columbus
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Answers (14)

Bank REO's (or repo's) are generally priced 20% or so below market, and are sold "AS IS/WHERE IS"... which means it is what IT IS!

If you agent "told you" they would fix anything, and that wasn't in writing, it really means nothing..... When it comes to real estate transactions, regardless of state, everything MUST be in writing.

It would be wise to have an attorney look over your contract, but from the sounds of it, you are on your own at this point, and will have to bare the expense of the repairs.

www.idahoidahoidaho.com
  • October 28 2010
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First of all what does liveable mean? County code? FHA predication? Municipality Code? The agents idea of liveable? The banks idea of liveable?
That term should have been broken down to specific items that would or would not have been checked out or repaired to define the term.  Nextly, if you bought the property from a bank you probably bought it thousands or tens of thousands under market value which leaves plenty of room in the budget for a pump. Things break and wear out. Its a fact of life. Someone should have caught it if it was bad at the time of inspection but now it is was it is and you will most likely just frustrate yourself by pursuing it.
  • October 27 2010
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Most contracts (at least in NJ) have a clause that states the house is sold as-is and it is the job of the prospective buyer to inspect to their individual satisfaction. While I agree that maybe the inspector and/or agent did not do their job as well as they could have, at this point I doubt you would gain anything from a lawsuit.

Of course I am not a lawyer, and I doubt anyone answering this is, so I would suggest you contact an attorney if you feel you have been mislead
  • October 22 2010
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Profile picture for Blue in d Nile
Regardless if it was an oversight, or the if an agent blew it or an inspector blew it, or if the buyer just didn't ask the right questions, the agents and inspectors have clauses in their contract that state they are not responsible for such things, and at this point, it is just a normal expected periodic maintenance expense that the new owner needs to pay for.

Just for reference, in rural areas in California there still are lots of septic systems, but it is extremely difficult to get new construction approved with a septic system; for water quality control the authorities of jurisdiction want it on a public sewer system where the waste water will actually be treated and controlled.  But the lift stations are still required for toilets in basements of commercial and residential buildings, and in hilly areas.  There is no way around this.  Sewage systems are primarily gravity fed, and that pretty much determines where the pipes are in the road and other public easements.  And if you are below that height for whatever reason, you need a lift station to feed the waste into the pipe.


(At least people aren't getting large rats climbing out of their toilets as we heard about on the public radio recently.  Things could always be worse than just a worn out pump).
  • October 21 2010
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In Florida there is no such thing as a "lift station" without a septic tank,

Homes up north with basements I do not know about...

If a buyer is being "represented" it is the agents job to do investigative work...while agent does not need to be an inspector, she sure does need to know how to advise the client on what to inspect. 

The courts do not look favorably on someone that "didn't know" when they should have made it their business to know. Representation is "taking care" of someone and the agent blew it.

Eve in Orlando

  • October 21 2010
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Pasadean thank you so much for the clarification!  Gee, twenty some years in financing real estate and I have never heard the term "lift station" before.  Love the education of these threads!
  • October 21 2010
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Profile picture for Blue in d Nile
A lift station is not a septic tank.  It is simply a means to get sewage from a lower elevation up to the county sewer system.  It is extremely common in hilly areas, and where toilets are placed in basements or other below grade level rooms.

The inspector should have at minimum noted that there was a lift station, and a good inspector would have recommended you pay for a separate inspection of the sewage system.

The inspectors don't run cameras and tracers down the main sewer pipe or the storm drain lines either, but many have already posted on this board that it is well worth the expense for the service if there is any doubt at all.
  • October 21 2010
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I concur with all the comments that you really do not have any recourse.  However, I am confused on why your current lender did not require a septic inspection, the appraiser would certainly have notated that the property was on a septic system and I don't see any lender closing a loan without the inspections.  Did you pay cash?
  • October 21 2010
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Profile picture for Brian French

"As Is" means that your rights to go back to the seller to demand reparations are now extremely limited.  The inspector's duty to find and investigate defects are limited to the house - not septic systems; you might want to read the inspection disclosure that you signed.  Your agent's duties to investigate are also limited.. Just because someone has a real estate license doesn't make them an expert in home construction and septic systems (lift station in this case).

Like others have said; buy a new pump - if you haven't already, and start enjoying your home.  This was a problem that no one involved in could have predicted.  You WILL have many more unforeseen things happen while owning your home.....it is the American dream.

  • October 21 2010
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Regular inspectors who do comprehensive inspections do not inspect septic tanks.

You needed a septic tank company to do a septic evaluation or get a septic certification...in order to check properly, the tank must be drained and the cost runs around $250-300.

Lately if the property has a septic tank, FHA is requiring a septic certification.

The agent may not have known, but if the agent was representing you, than it was her duty to find out what needs to be inspected. 

You have a costly fix and a legitimate gripe.

Erika in Orlando


  • October 21 2010
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Profile picture for sunnyview
Your inspector was responsible for inspecting the functional systems in the house, not your agent, That being said, inspections do miss things and that is why many people choose to purchase home warranty insurance for their first year. Sewers back up and do not have a timely way of doing so. It is not like other house systems in that way.

You bought the house as is neither the bank nor your agent is responsible for this issue. Talk to the inspector and ask about their inspection. They may be able to give you some insight that you can use before you buy your next house.
  • October 16 2010
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Profile picture for Blue in d Nile
You also had the option of buying home owner insurance that would have covered the cost of your repair, except perhaps some deductible.

Really, lift stations are very common in hilly areas, or where there are toilets on below-grade floors (basements).  I'm sure you chose an "experienced" inspector rather than just the cheapest?  I don't know any inspector that would intentionally avoid looking at the sewage draining system.  Even so, many do choose to have extra inspections on such items, such as cameras and locators run down the pipes.


You hired the appraiser and the inspector.  That is not the seller's nor agent's responsibility.


Besides, a new piece of plywood only costs between $10 and $32, and a new pump is only about $250, so why are you making such a big deal about it?  All home owners know there will occasionally be sewer problems!  Fix it and start enjoying your house!
  • October 16 2010
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You can sue anyone you like, but I don't see how either the bank or Realtor would possibly lose. The bank told you that the home was "as is" you accepted that. In your world does "as is" mean "as I want it to be" ?

If anything, perhaps the inspector should have caught this item. Your agent isn't an inspector, so I'm not sure how the agent should have noticed it.

If you didn't want these extra types of risks, you shouldn't have bought a bank owned as is home; A regular owner seller would have to disclose all known defects, and would be liable for failure to disclose.
  • October 16 2010
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Unfortunately, as is is exactly as it sounds like.    You are now on your own.

  • October 15 2010
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