This is What Happens When You “Save”Money on Oil Tank Inspections

Oil tank inspections are an important part of purchasing real estate. Your choice to "save" money by foregoing an inspection can result in unnecessary expenditures. Read why you should include this step in every real property purchase.

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It is an exciting experience to buy your first piece of real estate.  And, you may be concerned about all the cash you are laying out.  Beware.  It is rarely a good idea to save money on oil tank inspections.  You are just setting yourself up for even larger expenses down the real estate road.

Indeed, we have heard the phrase “A penny wise and a pound foolish.”  Ever wonder what that saying really means?  It generally comes down to acting frugal about things that do not seem so important. And, actually are.  Oil tank inspections definitely fall into this category.

The Value of Oil Tank Inspections

The house of your dreams could quickly turn into your nightmare on Elm St. You might not even realize why oil tanks make such a difference.  And, after all, maybe the sellers certified there are no oil tanks on the property.  The home is heated with gas.  So, what is the big issue?

First, and for the most part, you do not necessarily need to question the integrity of the people who are selling the property.  There is the possibility they have no idea that there is an abandoned oil tank in their backyard.  However, their word will not mean much if the buried tank is later discovered and you paying several thousand dollars in clean up and litigation expenses.

There is also the possibility the house you are buying does use oil heat.  You still want to protect your investment and have the tank checked.  Keep in mind that in either case, it is important to evaluate the condition of the tank and the soil on the premises.

The cost for an oil tank sweep in New Jersey is generally low.  If your home inspector does not include them as part of their services, ask for a referral.  A quick internet search for local vendors shows you can find a certified inspector for under $300, and as low as $199.  Again, money well spent.

Why Oil Tanks are an Issue

So, what is the giant deal about abandoned oil tanks anyway?  If they are not in use, why are they a problem?  And, what can possibly go wrong if the house is already using oil to heat it?

Underground tanks are a grave concern.  So much so, that many homeowner’s insurance companies will deny coverage if they exist.  You could even have problems obtaining a mortgage.  The reason is that oil tanks can leak and this is a huge issue with the State of New Jersey.  And, the price of clean-up will assuredly be astronomical.

If you discover there is a tank on the property, an experienced real estate attorney will negotiate on your behalf with the seller’s attorney.  More than likely, tank removal will become one of the conditions of the sale.  Also, soil remediation may be necessary.

The cost of the oil sweep will seem small when faced with the prospective consequences.  Leaking oil tanks are an environmental hazard.  The soil becomes contaminated. Even the water table can show oil traces.  As a result, there is a potential for health issues.

 You might receive assurances the tank was “abandoned properly.” Nonetheless, you should still be concerned.   You may be informed that the tank was filled with sand.  However, there is still the potential for corrosion as the metal tank rusts.  It is not an acceptable scenario for any prospective homebuyer.

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