Survival Tips for Bidding Wars Q: We are trying to buy a house or building lot in a very hot seller’s market where desirable properties sell fast and bidding wars are common. Prices often go way above the asking price. Any strategies you can suggest to help avoid a bidding war? Our real estate agent suggested we add an “escalation clause” to our offer. Is that a good idea? — … [Read more...] about How To Buy a House In A Seller’s Market
Q: Do you consider an aerobic-treatment system a good option for a waterfront vacation home? We are looking at upgrading a 40-year-old septic system. I will do more research, but for now with the aerobic systems that need pumps and fans, I have two questions: 1) What happens during a power outage? We had a five-day outage over Christmas. 2) Are these systems … [Read more...] about Are Aerobic Treatment Systems A Good Option?
Q: I am trying to challenge my property taxes without going through a big expense. I have 14.5 acres. Six acres are considered unbuildable. Of the remaining 8.5 acres, all are considered buildable. I don't understand how they can be buildable when there is no access or frontage to any of this property, Is there any type of definition as to what makes land unbuildable? … [Read more...] about Appealing Assessment of Unbuildable Lot
Q: My wife and I gave earnest money for a piece of land to build our dream home. Before we paid the full amount, the seller contacted us to say the drainage plan failed on the land and had to be re-engineered. NOW the land has a drainage pond in it, which my wife and I don't want as it is too much upkeep etc. I asked the seller to refund our earnest money and he said NO. What … [Read more...] about How Do I Get Earnest Money Refunded?
Q: Can you tell me the best way to find a professional to do a perc test? Who is allowed to perform the test? — R. M. A: Before proceeding, check with your local jurisdiction (city/town/county) about the requirements for performing a perc test in your area: Who can perform the test? What time of year is testing allowed? How many test holes are required? … [Read more...] about Who Should I Hire For Perc Test?
Q: I'm looking to buy a property that has an existing structure that hasn't been used in 12-plus years. It has well and septic but the status and placement of the septic system is unknown. My question is this: Should I ask for a percentage test or deep-hole test prior to closing? It's February here in the North East (upstate NY), so I'm not sure when this test could be … [Read more...] about How To Inspect A Septic System
Jim writes: Do you need a perc test if there is sewer hookup at the road? Also, is there such a thing as a well test also? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: There is no need for a perc test if you are tying into a municipal sewer system. There will be a cost to tie in, however, so you might want to check with the town for an estimate of the hookup fees. You may … [Read more...] about Testing for Well & Septic
Richard writes: My lot will not accommodate a conventional leach field. What alternatives can you suggest and who would you recommend to design alternative septic systems? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: What is acceptable in your area after a failed perc test is determined by local building codes and health department regulations, so you should first check … [Read more...] about Are Alternative Septic Systems Allowed?