Home Buying in 19027>Question Details

bella, Home Buyer in 04530

question about private roads

Asked by bella, 04530 Wed Mar 24, 2010

i am under contract on home that is located on a private road. everythings going fine until inspection with the lender. the sellers realtor tells us that i am responsible for 7% of the maintenance of the road, which is news to me because it was not part of the contract to begin with. is this really fair to me? or do you think i could fight it since no one told me before everything was signed.....just wondering.....thanks!

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Answers

7
Grace Morioka (408-426-1616)’s answer
Hello Bella and thanks for your question.

Perhaps your agent should have explained or perhaps it was assumed that you understood what it meant by "private road." If the words "private road" or "private access" appear in the sale documents, the Sellers are letting you know in advance that you and the other (in this case) 14 homes along the road have use of and own roadway leading to your home. If there is not a homeowners association managing or maintaining the roadway, then those homes that use the road exclusively are charged for all of the maintenance and replacement responsibilities. To prevent misunderstandings, the community's builder often has the maintenance requirements formalized in a document called a "Reciprocal Maintenance Agreement" or a "Roadway Maintenance Easement", which is an obligation to repair the roadway and to pay for the costs of maintenance. Often these restrictions are a part of the deed to the home, making the obligation to participate by paying fees a responsibility of anyone who owns the home or, in essence, a deed restriction.

At this time, you might ask to see a copy of the roadway maintenance easement or agreement and then determine if the added costs can be comfortably paid with the mortgage. Otherwise, please remember that anytime the word "private road" is included, assume that you will be responsible for maintaining the roads.

Good luck!!

Sincerely,
Grace Morioka, SRES
Area Pro Realty

Good luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 24, 2010
The seller had an obligation to disclose this prior to signing an agreement of sale. You should review the seller's disclosure and make sure you didn't miss something. If there was nothing disclosed, i believe you have reason to terminate the agreement and may have cause to have your expenses reimbursed and possible other resolutions. I would contact a real estate attorney if you wish to go that route. If you are being represented by a real estate agent, they should also be able to offer you some guidance.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 24, 2010
Hello, Bella,

It would appear that there is a written agreement somewhere, similar to homeowner association documents, etc. This should have been disclosed to you at the time you signed the contract. Further, it should have been described in the listing information. You should have had the opportunity to review document to decide if you wanted to or could abide by the terms or not. I think you have an excellent case, however, this is definitely a matter for a Real estate attorney. Good luck to you.

Carol Cei
ReMax Millennium
215-643-9661
215-649-1720
carolcei@remax.net
Web Reference: http://www.carolcei.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 24, 2010
If nothing was said about it being a private road that would be a material misrepresentation. A major fact that if known could have changed your buying decision.

Consider that many people like me will not want a house on an unmaintained road. It should sell both cheaper and take longer than a house on a real road would. Check to see if this affects insurance, it might.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 24, 2010
i wouldnt have a problem paying for the road if i had been told before hand. there was nothing in the disclosure or description of the home saying that it was a private road. but thank you for your answers!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 24, 2010
A private road means the town will not do anything to maintain it.

It means you will have to pay for it. Plowing, grading, bringing in gravel, repairing culverts, everything.

You pay the same taxes as a house on a town maintained road. This one thing is enough for me to go away and find something else. Often a private road is private because it was NOT built to a good enough standard for the town to take over.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 24, 2010
Hi Bella. Buying a home on a private road isn't a bad thing. It means that you and the other owners need to maintain it. It looks like this is a shared cost with quite a few other home owners. You can't really fight the private road issue. It's a private road versus a city road. However, you may be able to back out of the purchase agreement if you feel like this is not something you wanted or expected. I wouldn't recommend backing out of your purchase agreement, though. You obviously liked the home, or you would not have written an offer on the property. Plus, the lender has already done the appraisal. It sounds like your real estate transaction is well under way. Did you read the seller disclosure and the other materials that your agent and the listing agent provided you? Something should have indicated that the property was on a private road. At least in Minnesota, we disclose whether or not the road frontage is private owned or city owned. Now is the time to have your real estate agent work for you. You can ask him or her a lot of questions about private road ownership and particularly about this road. You need to know exactly what you are getting into. Your agent will relay these questions to the listing agent, if she/he can't answer them. You will want to know what the average cost per year is to maintain the road. Do the private owners have a contract with a snow removal company? Is it a gravel road or paved? When was it last repaired? Maybe if you have all your questions answered you won't feel so weird about buying a property with a private road. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 24, 2010
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