House & Home: When a meter isn’t enough
November 3, 2016
Things can change unexpectedly in a real estate transaction regardless of how much investigation gets done. In a recent gathering of agents we learned that many of us were experiencing some unusual goings on, and that we were all experiencing the same thing. The new twist was that a utility provider that requires water meters on the transfer of a property was giving partial information that was having an impact on buyers/sellers and agents.
What we were talking about was the fact that you can call and get confirmation that a property has a meter, but if the meter was installed more than about four years ago you will need to pay for an upgrade to the meter. They don't tell you the latter part so the agent or owner calls and confirms that there is a meter and subsequently there is a $210 upgrade bill. The meter was not a part of the negotiations since it was already installed. Puts everyone in a tight spot as it gets determined who is going to pay for it.
Another meter stick in our proverbial spokes is the potential for the next Nevada Legislature to pass a bill allowing the State Water Engineer to curtail water usage in some water basins. The proposal would require putting meters on all domestic wells in the state, allow the limitation of their use to 25 percent of current allowable use in a water shortage situation, and that use would only be inside the dwelling. Landscaping would die off. This is quite radical, not likely to pass, but it is something that has been sent up out of committee to be drafted into a bill. What does an agent tell a buyer about their domestic well now?
State law requires a seller to provide a seller's Real Property Disclosure indicating their knowledge of the condition of the home and neighborhood. The state provided form has two pages of detailed questions that must be answered. Sometimes offices take it on themselves to enhance the disclosure position. This appears to be good for everybody at first blush, but if not written correctly it can be dangerous for a seller to complete such a customized form. They can be left with unnecessary exposure regardless of how accurately they answer or complete it. If you have questions in such a situation, take the form to your attorney for guidance, or politely refuse to complete the form. It is not required by Nevada law.
Most residential real estate transactions are completed without a survey in Nevada. There are references in the title report to maps, surveys, boundary line adjustments, etc., but one must look closely to see if it covers the entire property. A new survey can take time and incur the cost of the professional services of a surveyor. It doesn't happen often, but once in awhile a property slips through that hasn't been completely surveyed. While it isn't required, if you want to be sure of where your corners are you will have a time delay and added cost.
Our advice: Be aware as you proceed in a real estate transaction. Things can change in a hurry, whether by governmental changes, inspection results, or otherwise. Most changes involve money, whether directly or incidentally. The loss of time costs somebody hard dollars. No matter how well you plan, surprises happen and you must be flexible to be able to proceed in a safe manner. Be sure to fully evaluate the situation as it applies to all parties and make your decisions accordingly. It is usually beneficial for the parties to work together for a resolution, but that must be determined on a case by case basis given all the details and circumstances of a specific situation.
When surprises occur in a transaction be sure to look at the facts. It is easy to give in to emotion, residential real estate is full of emotion, but to accomplish your goal you should work with your agent to determine your options. Choose those that help you achieve the goals and objectives of you and your family.