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Ok, we found this property in the college town we liked. Realtor did not tell us about the landfill near by. This town is mostly built up and landlocked by the large university and the students.

If this were the suburb of a large city, no doubt- I would have said lets not go through with this. But considering the area we picked seems to be highly desirable by the local families and there is not much land left, should we still be concerned about this land fill thing? We can not see the landfill from the fouse because of a small hill in between.

We have not closed on the house, not done the inspection yet. So, I believe we can get out of this thing if we wanted to.
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We can not see the landfill from the fouse because of a small hill in between.

You can always close the curtains. Having spent a night in a motel on the wrong side of a fertilizer plant I can assure you the more important question is whether you can smell it. Get a similar distance downwind of it and find out.

An ancillary issue is what kind of mess the birds who inevitably flock to such locations leave.

Phil
Rule Your Retirement Home Fool
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P.S. Is the property on the route to the fill? Think lots of truck traffic.

Phil
Rule Your Retirement Home Fool
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No, this house is not on the road. It is tucked away in a neighborhood.
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I am largely with Phil - think odor and traffic.

In addition, if you would be using well water, then seepage and potential groundwater contamination might be issues. If you would be using other water, probably less a concern, but it still might be nice to research dump to confirm that it is not aSuperfund site.

Regards and good luck, JAFO
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aSuperfund site? What's that?
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No, our state does not have a superfund site. They do not process any waste at this site.
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They do not process any waste at this site.

Uh, what exactly do you think a landfill is?

Phil
Rule Your Retirement Home Fool
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Y'know what? It doesn't matter. Not to you, not right now.

What matters is the person you are trying to sell the house to, when you eventually go to sell. You'll have to convince *them* that being near a landfill isn't a problem.

Is the presence of a landfill less than a mile away generally considered to be a GOOD THING? When you tell your co-workers, are they going to be all, "Wow! Great! Way to go you lucky dog!"
or are they going to be all, "Oooh, bummer. Hope everything works out okay for you."

We used to live near (not not *that* near) a landfill that I drove by on the way to work. The smell mostly wasn't a problem. But after a few years, the landfill site got a new nickname. "Mt. Trashmore" Over the years it got taller and taller.
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Personally I would not take a chance living close to a landfill. Odors and traffic are part of it. They also attract scavengers--birds, rats, and other wildlife. They try to keep it covered, but that is difficult.

Ground water contamination. Natural gas formation. Settling.

More problems than its worth.
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You need to ascertain that those who own/run the landfill do have have a possibility of enlarging it. Here in Columbia, SC, one of the landfill operators/owners have applied to enlarge the landfill, and it is causing quite a stir among the neighbors who live as far as 2 miles away. I would be very wary.

Donna
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Oh, I forgot about the methane gas, which can be quite dangerous.

Donna
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Ok, you guys convinced me to let this go. Like I said before, this would have been a no brainer under different circumstances but we are in a crunch to move for my residency and the campus has not much in terms of houses with lots of kids. We don't get a lot of time to move. Anyhow, looong story I would rather not get into.
Thanks for your comments.
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Like everything else, it depends. Zoom onto the golf course on this map:

http://goo.gl/maps/Kj1E2

That's an old landfill and it didn't become a golf course until the 1990s. Some of the toniest addresses in Seattle are much less than a mile from it.

The question is if the landfill is likely to impact your house in some way. Just for calibration, the EPA all appropriate inquiry rule for due diligence purposes excludes landfills if they are greater than 1/2 mile away.

http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/aai/

In other words, landfills greater than 1/2 mile are assumed to be unlikely impact your site, just based on distance.

That's for hazardous materials, you still have olfactory, visual, and maybe traffic impacts. But those are easy to evaluate. Knock on some your prospective neighbor's doors and ask them if they ever smell the landfill.
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We may have to drive 3 hrs and interview the neighbors. Sellers do not want to sign a release from the offer we made. They are claiming there are no problems whatsoever because of the landfill. The main road off of the neighborhood does not go to the landfill, neighborhood has city water, you can not see the landfill, houses are selling there all the time etc.

If we do not buy this house, we will have to look for a rental because I am sure not having a release from this seller will hurt us if we try to make another offer on a different property.

We will consult with a lawyer.
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If houses are selling there all the time they should not have a problem finding another buyer.

They can't market the property while holding your deposit. Call their bluff. They need to move on at least as much as you do.
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Sellers do not want to sign a release from the offer we made.

But you didn't do an inspection yet, right? Any HOA that needs to be reviewed? Tell them you will be happy to make them pull their house off the market while you drag your feet until the last minute to get your inspection done and back out then. Probably cheaper than a lawyer, and they won't want to lose the precious marketing time.

IP
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Nope, did not do the inspection. Will not be doing it. Will not sign the closing papers. Common sense dictates that noone can make someone buy goods that he/she does not want. In fact, on much smaller purchases than a house, returns are accepted even after buying. So, if they want to go to court- a filthy rich builder vs. a young, innocent looking family from out of town who wanted the best for their kindergartner, whose realtor did not disclose important details. Jury, make up your mind!
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whose realtor did not disclose important details.

What did your lawyer say?

We once put an offer in on a house, and when we got the actual paperwork for it, it was noted that it was in a flood plain. We no longer wished to purchase it, and so I called our real estate attorney and asked what to do. She said that since they did not disclose important details, we should withdraw the offer and request our deposit back based on their failure to disclose that about the property, which was considered a property defect. It was years ago, and I don't remember the exact wording she gave me, but that's what I put in the letter, and we promptly got our deposit back.

I would be talking to my attorney in your case to ensure that I did get my money back. And I might just spend the couple hundred dollars on the inspection, and find fault there if that was the most expedient, but again, I'd be asking my real estate attorney (note that this is a question for your attorney and not your realtor) about the right way to get my money back.

But I sure wouldn't be waiting for it to go to court while they get to hold your money.
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Common sense dictates that noone can make someone buy goods that he/she does not want.

True, but just like there are restocking fees, the price for this attitude is losing your deposit. Don't look to the courts for "common sense," or frankly even "justice." It all has to do with the words on the page in this case. This attitude is simply biting off your nose to spite your face.

Since you are apparently dealing with a builder, and possibly new construction, (???), look to the builder to stick to the letter of the law and skin you alive in court. They have a reputation to protect, and other future contracts to defend. You might somehow win your pi$$ing match with a resale individual seller, but not with a contractor. They have too much to lose by not holding you to the contract. Your individual deal is insignificant when held up to their future deals.

Don't be an idiot. Use the letter of the law to your advantage and use one of the built in ways to back out if that is what you insist on doing. If you chose to fight this in court you will be doing your family and your precious kindergartener a disservice.

IP
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...whose realtor did not disclose important details.

Sorry, but was the landfill hidden in some way, that the Realtor should have disclosed this? Because frankly the Realtor could have been sued for "steering" by saying just about anything that could be interpreted as deterring the OP from buying this house in this neighborhood.

It sounds to me as though the OP rushed the purchase and is now experiencing buyer's remorse. There is a lovely tool on the internet called satellite maps, where one can plug in the address in question and then get an aerial picture to see what is around them. Heck, some of the maps even will label businesses around the searched location and eliminate guess work, and one can zoom in quite close to see details. I have steered away from a number of properties in this way, and won't even go do an initial on site look until I do this minimal research on line.

IP
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So, if they want to go to court- a filthy rich builder vs. a young, innocent looking family from out of town who wanted the best for their kindergartner, whose realtor did not disclose important details. Jury, make up your mind!

It comes down to if the a landfill being <1 mile away is an important detail. I'm not convinced that it is. Can you show there are any impacts on the property at all? Are there known soil or groundwater impacts from the landfill that are impacting your site? Can you see the landfill from your site (you previously said no)? Can you smell it? That's unlikely unless it is fairly close.

From what you've said so far, the only problem with the landfill is that you don't want to live that close to a landfill (fair enough, as far as that goes). But you haven't done any type of due diligence at all other than finding out the existence of the landfill.

If I was the judge, I would conclude that if you had a problem living <1 mile from landfill, you should have been looking at houses >1 mile from a landfill. That sounds like your problem.
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deepa100: "Nope, did not do the inspection. Will not be doing it. Will not sign the closing papers. Common sense dictates that noone can make someone buy goods that he/she does not want."

Real estate contracts are one of the few contracts for which specific performance myay be available.

"Specific performance is an order of a court which requires a party to perform a specific act, usually what is stated in a contract. It is an alternative to awarding damages, and is classed as an equitable remedy commonly used . . . [for] real property. While specific performance can be in the form of any type of forced action, it is usually used to complete a previously established transaction, thus being the most effective remedy in protecting the expectation interest of the innocent party to a contract."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specific_performance


"In fact, on much smaller purchases than a house, returns are accepted even after buying."

So what? UCC covers sales of goods, but not the sale of real estate. See my prior comment about specific performance

"So, if they want to go to court- a filthy rich builder vs. a young, innocent looking family from out of town who wanted the best for their kindergartner, whose realtor did not disclose important details. Jury, make up your mind!"

I do not recall any of your earlier posts reciting that your contract was with a builder. And this statement makes me believe that you may be about to jump down the rabbit hole.

Did you engage the broker? IOW, who did the broker represent?

It is not clear to me that the location of the dump is material information about the property you were contracting to purchase.

Even if, arguendo, you have a claim against the broker for failure to disclose, that does not necesarily make it the Seller's problem.

The builders with which I am familiar generally have pretty tight contracts, that are builder/seller friendly and not to be signed lightly without review by your own lawyer.

It is not clear to me that you have followed the suggestions from the board to consult a lawyer, but not doing so is, IMO, pennywise and pound foolish in the context of your dispute.

Without the exact contract terms, I will not even hazard a guess about the outcome, but I will say that I am not nearly as confident as you that the result will be favorable to you.

Regards, JAFO
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Nope, did not do the inspection. Will not be doing it.
Is it a new house?
If so, then *maybe* an inspection won't give you an easy way to get out of the contract.
If it's an older house, it most likely would.

Jury, make up your mind!
I think you're letting your emotions get away with you.
You need to deal with the situation you have. You're more likely to get the result you want if you are as rational as you can be.

You need to spend $200, and have a RE lawyer from the area look at the contract you signed (you made an offer - that IS a contract.)
Usually there are ways out of the contract, but often some of them have to be exercised within a certain timeframe.
For example "financing contingency" - if there is such a clause in your contract that gets you out of it if you can't qualify for a mortgage, use that clause. I've been told by a mortgage broker that they'd have no problem writing a letter to a seller stating that I "do not qualify for the loan they were pre-approved for". But I needed to use that contingency to get out of the contract within the first 5 days (or was it 7? I don't remember what the contract said now)

If you really don't want to purchase the house, $200 for a RE lawyer to read the contract and send a letter to the builder telling them they need to release your funds is probably the cheapest way to get out of this.


Personally, since the houses are selling in the neighborhood, I wouldn't be so worried about the landfill a mile away.
But that's me.
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You need to spend $200, and have a RE lawyer from the area look at the contract you signed (you made an offer - that IS a contract.)

Only an accepted offer, with all contingencies fulfilled or waived, is considered a bona fide contract.
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Only an accepted offer, with all contingencies fulfilled or waived, is considered a bona fide contract.

I have been surprised at how much each state can vary in real estate law, but almost all contracts I have signed state that if you don't do what is needed for a contingency such as inspection within so many days, it is the same as waiving your right. If he does nothing, he is likely to lose the home inspection contingency. If this is a contractor/new construction, I would be stunned if that were not the case. In fact his inspection contingency could severely limit his options to getting things fixed by the builder rather than being able to back out.

IP,
preferring not to do new construction for so many reasons
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Only an accepted offer, with all contingencies fulfilled or waived, is considered a bona fide contract.

I strongly disagree. And I believe it's that kind of thinking that is part of the OP's problem.

An offer that has been accepted (obviously this one has been) is a contract.

The contingencies are part of the contract.
Exercising a contingency to exit the contract is still part of the contract.

In MLS database, they even categorize a property that has had an offer accepted as "under contract" - even though there may still be 2 weeks or more before the contingencies are waived/fulfilled.

An offer, once accepted, IS a contract.
There are usually exit clauses (contingencies) - but that doesn't mean it isn't a legally binding contract.
Many other contracts have exit clauses as well. (rental contracts, employment contracts, purchase contracts, etc)

I stand by my advice that the best path forward for the OP is to spend $200 to hire a RE lawyer from the area to review the contract and write a "give them the money back because of reasons A, B, C, D, and E" letter. And I would encourage a local RE lawyer because they'll probably be known by the builder and builder's lawyer. Possibly that will be enough - it'll make it clear to the builder (and the builder's lawyer) that the purchase isn't going to happen - that it isn't just a young family getting cold feet but then still following through 3 weeks later. (And if a letter isn't enough, at least you've got a good solid legal opinion on what your options are to get out of the contract)

almost all contracts I have signed state that if you don't do what is needed for a contingency such as inspection within so many days, it is the same as waiving your right.
-inparadise
I've seen it both ways... I think it depends on who writes the contract. I've seen ones where the contract is automatically exited if the contingency isn't waived. And I've seen ones like you've signed where the contingency is waived automatically unless notice is given.
I've also seen contingency extensions - where both buyer and seller sign an amendment to the contract that allows the contingency to go another X days so that something can be resolved. (ex. inspection service isn't able to get out there in the amount of time, and buyer really wants the inspection, and seller doesn't want to put it back on the market)
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CCinOC:

<<<You need to spend $200, and have a RE lawyer from the area look at the contract you signed (you made an offer - that IS a contract.)>>>

{{{{Only an accepted offer, with all contingencies fulfilled or waived, is considered a bona fide contract.}}}}

You started so well, if only you had not included the parenthetical clause . . . .

Offer, acceptance and consideration; ask any 1L.

Regards, JAFO
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foo1bar wrote: You need to spend $200, and have a RE lawyer from the area look at the contract you signed (you made an OFFER - that IS a contract.)

CC responded: Only an ACCEPTED offer, with all contingencies fulfilled or waived, is considered a bona fide contract. (Ignoring or otherwise doing nothing about a contingency is considered a waiver of that contingency.)

foo1bar then wrote: I strongly disagree. [...] An offer that has been accepted (obviously this one has been) is a contract.

I don't see where we disagee. I emphasized that one can make OFFERS all day long, but until said offer is ACCEPTED, it's merely an offer, not a contract. After all, many listings receive multiple OFFERS, none of which are a CONTRACT until one is ACCEPTED. I wasn't referring to the OP's situation, per se.

So much hand-waving to make someone (me) wrong. Tsk. Tsk.
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I don't see where we disagee.

Ok - let me bold it for you:

CCoy: Only an ACCEPTED offer, with all contingencies fulfilled or waived, is considered a bona fide contract
As soon as both parties sign the offer agreeing to it, it's a contract.
There can be 20 different contingencies that allow one or the other party to exit the contract - but it's still a valid contract.

I wasn't referring to the OP's situation, per se.
I thought it was quite clear that *I* was.

So - just to clarify for the OP - you DO have a contract - even CC agrees that it is a contract.
So talking to a lawyer is probably a good idea.

After all, many listings receive multiple OFFERS, none of which are a CONTRACT until one is ACCEPTED.
But all of them are potential contracts.
And as soon as someone signs it, accepting it (which was done in this case), it's a valid contract.
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As soon as both parties sign the offer agreeing to it, it's a contract.

I don't know what state you live in, but in CA, it's not a contract until all contingencies are signed off.
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I don't know what state you live in, but in CA, it's not a contract until all contingencies are signed off.

Then what is it?
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I don't know what state you live in, but in CA, it's not a contract until all contingencies are signed off.

You ask any lawyer if it's a contract once both parties have agreed to it.
They will *all* tell you that it is indeed a contract.
There may be numerous ways for the contract to end - but that doesn't mean it isn't a contract.

Perhaps a lender told you it's "not a contract" unless the contingencies are signed off, when what they really should have said is "It's not a contract that we can lend on".


Perhaps we have to start with "what is a contract" - and we'll see that the accepted offer (or accepted counteroffer) is indeed a legal contract.

A contract is:

1> An offer ("I'll buy the house for $100K - here's my signed offer to purchase it.")
2> An acceptance ("OK - here's my signature agreeing to it.")
3> Consideration (The earnest money deposit and the promise that the seller will sell the home to the buyer)

Once those 3 elements were met, it's a contract.

Once the offer is accepted, there are multiple ways that contract can end - including
1> exercising of a contingency clause in the contract
2> by mutual agreement of both parties (unlikely here IMO - unless the builder/seller has no inventory left and has another interested buyer waiting that will pay more)
3> with a completed sale
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CC: I don't know what state you live in, but in CA, it's not a contract until all contingencies are signed off.

FD: Then what is it?

CC: An offer.
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You win.
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We did hire an attorney. She wants to write another request for release. She probably will do that today. The buyer's (our ex-realtor) realtor is continuing to profess that it is a great house in spite of being 3/4 mile from the dump. We hired the seller's realty to look for another house for us. He wrote another offer for a different house for us contingent upon us being released from the first offer. We will see what happens.
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