The Tacoma News-Tribune sheds light on a problem with state law that could become more of an issue as foreclosures become more common in the coming years.
"Opportunity knocks!" proclaimed a real estate handbill about a five-bedroom home on two acres selling for $288,750.
But here is what you won’t find on the advertisement for the property on Canyon Road East: State and local government agencies suspect the site, once an illegal landfill, is contaminated with corrosive wastes, solvents and dangerous metals, among other hazardous substances.
The owner — a lender that foreclosed on the property — doesn’t have to disclose that to prospective buyers under an exemption in state law. Yet under state and federal law, anyone who buys the land could be obligated to clean it up.
In a hot real estate market, buyers might be tempted to waive residential real estate disclosure requirements.
Don’t do it.
Duh. I have to say I still don’t understand how people could get so worked up about getting a house that they would totally waive inspection. We’re talking about the biggest and most important purchase many people will make in their lifetimes, and at the height of the mania last year and in ’04, people were walking into it completely blind. Thankfully as foreclosures ramp up, the mania ramps down, so regardless of state law, the problem will be self-correcting.
(Susan Gordon, Tacoma News Tribune, 04.26.2006 )