Here’s a recent example from the real estate trenches: a widowed woman in her 70s decid- ed to sell her house in Mid County

Tom Brezsny
- Tom Brezsny

Here’s a recent example from the real estate trenches: a widowed woman in her 70s decid- ed to sell her house in Mid County

After some recent lofty columns on the exis- tential nature of downsizing, it probably feels like I took a U turn a few weeks back when I descended into the bowels of the County’s new sewer lateral regulations…but this is my last column on that subject, I promise.

If you’re coming into the sewer conversation late, email [email protected] to get the backstory and an outline of the new rules SC County is playing by. For now, let’s look at some ways the new regs could morph into a law of unintended consequences for homeowners.

Here’s a recent example from the real estate trenches: a widowed woman in her 70s decid- ed to sell her house in Mid County. She was contemplating a move to another part of the state where her daughter lives.

The house she owns is worth $1.1m and she wants to buy another smaller, single-level house for $650,000. After paying off a $300,000 mortgage and costs of sale, the rest is her nest egg for the remainder of her life. She doesn’t have other resources.

Advised by her Realtor, she had a sewer lateral inspection two months ago. That video was rejected by the County, so she had another one done. That one got lost in the County process. There was a third one done. Several weeks later, she received notice that her lateral did not pass scrutiny, two months after her original inspection.

Even though there were no breaks, roots, snags, offsets or holes in the line, and even though the system is working well, she has to repair two small sags before she can close escrow. The repair will necessitate digging up her stamped concrete driveway. After four bids, it appears the work will cost $12,000, not including the re-coloring and re-texturing of the concrete driveway.

Per the County Regs, she isn’t allowed to transfer responsibility for the repair to the next owner. The cost of the work cannot be paid out of escrow, and escrow can’t close until the work is done. Which leaves her in something of a quandary. She doesn’t have $12,000 and she doesn’t make enough money to borrow against the house.

The buyer she’s in escrow with has a loan lock at a low rate that expires soon. She has no way of knowing when or if she’ll sell her house. Or when or if she’ll be able to move to be closer to her daughter. Unfortunately, the new County process doesn’t offer any solutions. For the time being she’s in sewer lateral limbo. Caught between a sag and a hard place.

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