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January 2012, Newsletter

To all our Real Estate Agent friends;

If you are active in real estate, you will potentially run into a heating oil tank situation.  A large percentage of older homes were at one time heated with fuel oil.  Heating oil tanks bring many questions and uncertainties, which can deter buyers from purchasing a property.  However, proper education will enable buyers to better understand the potential liabilities and how they can be safely addressed.  Hiding or downplaying the potential liabilities of tanks will only increase your potential liabilities as an agent.

Let Cohesion, Inc. help you educate your clients of these potential liabilities and how to minimize these liabilities without having to look for another property.  An informed client is a happy client; they can make decisions that best suit them.

When buyers realize it is much better buying a home with a disclosed heating oil tank than buying a home with no disclosure or limited information of its past heating sources, they are more willing to follow through with purchasing a property of their choice, particularly if the tank is removed and cleaned by a licensed professional.  It is a legal requirement for leaking tanks to be reported to the State and cleaned up under the supervision of a licensed Geologist or Engineer; and it is highly recommended that all tank removals and inspections to be conducted by or under the supervision of a licensed Geologist or Engineer.  Recommending these services to be conducted by any other person or entity is potentially negligent.

And remember, removing a tank or filling a tank in place without knowing if the tank leaked will not free an owner and possibly their agent of the liabilities associated with heating oil tanks.  While the law requires disclosure of any knowledge of past or present heating oil tanks, not all owners and representatives are aware of the law and might forgo disclosure of past or present tanks.  Buyers and representatives must be diligent in their approach; if you are buying a house built in the 1980’s or older, be aware.  There is a greater potential of the property having a tank (past or present) than not.  Ask the owners specific questions in writing regarding potential heating oil tanks; and request all answers in writing.  Attached is a Heating Oil Tank Inquiry Form you may request for the owner to complete or you may opt to ask these questions yourself.  By law the owner is obligated to disclose any material facts; and declining to answer specific questions pertaining to material facts while knowing the answer, could be seen as willfully withholding knowledge of material facts.  Having these questions answered will act to protect you and your client.

Note, not all sellers have full knowledge of properties being sold and might not be able to accurately identify the existence of heating oil tanks; and additional due diligence may be necessary by a buyer beyond the completion of the Heating Oil Tank Inquiry Form.  Feel free to call us if you need additional guidance or visit our website at Cohesion-inc.com.  Do not forget that we are still running our tank removal special of $600 for the Triangle area.

We wish you a prosperous 2012.

Thanks,

Christoph Boshoff
Cohesion, Inc.
919-233-8626
cboshoff@cohesion-inc.com

 

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