City or septic? Not knowing costs couple big bucksPosted: Updated:
We all know the housing market has been in the toilet lately, but for Andrea and Davin Jader, the comparison is all too real.
The newlyweds bought their Scottsdale home three years ago under the impression they had city sewage.
But that all changed when the couple got what they thought was a typical clog in their drain.
“She called me and said you're not going to believe this but the plumber said it’s not a clog, but that the septic tank is actually full,” Davin recalled.
A septic tank? in the middle of downtown Scottsdale?
It would explain why raw sewage was bubbling out of their bathroom and kitchen.
But what wasn't as clear was why the couple didn't know about the septic situation before they bought.
“We couldn't believe it, we were shocked,” Andrea said.
The Jaders showed 3 On Your Side multiple documents stating their sewage was on public lines, although Scottsdale city records show they do, in fact, have a septic tank buried in their backyard.
Davin says that would've been nice to know before landscaping and sinking thousands of dollars into renovations.
“That's a main part of buying a property, I mean, sewage, where is the water going, that's a main issue when you buy a property and it seems like we got a bum deal, and it's going to cost us tens of thousands of dollars to fix this,” he said.
The home's inspector, Peter Leeds, explained to us that under state standards, inspectors are not required to determine whether waste systems are public or private.
Leeds says it's ultimately the realtor's job to answer those questions, and answer them accurately.
“With all these different sources to tell whether or not a house is on septic or sewer, it surprises me that it might have fallen through the cracks,” Leeds explained.
3 On Your Side tried contacting Amanda Borowski, the realtor who sold the Jaders their home, but the firm hung up on us after declining to comment.
Leeds says sewage is just one of the key questions buyers often forget to ask, and should confirm for themselves before they close on a home.
“Whether there's any liens on the property, whether there's any assessments on the property, whether there's any septic on the property, where the property boundary's actually at, these are things that are very gray in a homeowner's mind,”
Luckily, the Jader’s insurance is helping cover some of the damages, but they want their experience to serve as a warning to home buyers: do your own homework so your money doesn't wind up down the drain.