Appraisal Misinformation

Question: Before I bought my home, the appraiser told me the house was on a public sewer, but I’ve come to find that this isn’t the case and am now having problems.

I bought a house 2 1/2 years ago in New Buffalo, Michigan. I qualified for a government loan due to my income. Two months ago I began having problems with the sewer, so I called the Township and was told I have a septic system, not public sewer. I thought he had to be wrong, as my appraisal said it was public sewer. So this whole time I have not been taking the precautions one must when having a septic and last week after consulting a septic person I was told I have to put in a new drain field. I know nothing about septic systems, but from what this person told me I am in for a really expensive job due to the old, neglected system. Had I known this is what I was buying into, I’m not sure I would have bought the house, and I certainly would have had the system inspected (and I’m thinking due to the guidelines within government loans, a “passing” inspection would more than likely have been a pre-requisite to my purchase.)

My question is; are there any laws that protect me from the false information such as what was documented on my appraisal? Does my appraiser have any responsibility in his failure to accurately appraise my home? Can I sue him for some of this work needing to be done?

Answer: At the time you signed the Purchase Agreement, the Seller was supposed to provide you with a "Seller’s Disclosure Statement". This is required by Michigan Law. On the first page of the disclosure there is a section entitled: "Appliances/Systems/Services" The Seller must confirm that the listed items are either in working order or not, or else not applicable (if the item is not on the property. Under this heading it lists "Septic tank & drain field". If in this section you were told there was no Septic Tank & drain field, then you have a case against the Seller. Check this out and get back to me for further guidance.

Attorney: Mark Miller

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