Caved in septic tank reminds home buyers of foreclosed issues - WSMV Channel 4

3 ON YOUR SIDE: Caved in septic tank reminds home buyers of foreclosed issues

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Emily Tudor and her family have lived in their home off of Bonny Oaks Drive for years.

There's never been a major issue until recent rain exposed a deteriorating problem, a massive hole about three feet wide and five feet deep. It's where an old septic tank sits.

"I had no idea it even existed," Tudor says. "At the bottom of that thing is a little pink tricycle. That could've been my daughter."

The home was built in the 1960's. Tudor's family bought it as a foreclosed property.

"We asked all the questions when the home was being purchased," explains Tudor.

However, she didn't know to ask about history of a buried septic tank. "Inspectors came, nobody ever said anything about it," Tudor says.

Experts say there's a gray area when it comes to foreclosed homes.

"You're buying it under a 'buyer beware' environment," says realtor, Mark Hite.

Hite is the former president of The Chattanooga Association of Realtors.

"In Tennessee and Georgia when we sell a property you've lived in, the state requires you to disclose the age of the systems and any defects with the property. Well, a foreclosure is exempt from that notification," explains Hite.

He says the county's sanitation department keeps records for a septic tank but the age of the home makes all the difference.

"The year 1984 is kind of a threshold that you'll see where we have complete records maintained," Hite says.

He says buyers looking to purchase a foreclosed home must know these facts; know the history of the home and property you're buying, hire a licensed home inspector and investigate every element of the property.

"I honestly wouldn't have ever thought about asking about a septic tank," Tudor admits.

Now she has to fork over $1,200 to fill the hole with gravel and dirt.

"I feel like people really need to be aware where the septic tank is and if it has been properly closed off and filled because this could happen very easily at their home too," Tudor says.

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