Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dirt Road Blues

Have you ever thought it would be nice to live way out in the desert on a dirt road? If you are contemplating such a move, be sure to find out who is responsible for maintaining the road. When a summer monsoon turns the only route to your house into quick sand, who will put it right? Do you think it's 1) Pima County, 2) A helpful neighbor who likes to play with his Bobcat 3) A contractor hired by the people who live on the road or 4) Nobody?

If you assumed it wasn't number 4, you may have a hard time getting home. I just got this from loan officer extraordinaire Catherine Ellinwood with Fairway Independent Mortgage:

If a property is on a dirt road, you’ll want to know whether the road is county-maintained or has a private road maintenance agreement. Recent lesson learned: it’s not enough for the seller to say the county goes by once in awhile and grades the road, as the road in question turned out NOT to be county-maintained. Conventional, VA, FHA, and USDA loans will require some type of road agreement. So if you’re buying a property on a dirt road, you’ll want to know in advance if the road is not maintained. This was not really an issue before 2011, but now all dirt roads must be county-maintained or have a maintenance agreement on the preliminary title report if it’s a private road.

Pima County has a website that shows all the roads they maintain. Determining the maintenance status of a particular road seems like a pretty byzantine process, so call Catherine (520-954-1907) if you want her to walk you through it.

Why do I say Catherine is a loan officer extraordinaire? In order for one of her customers to buy a house on a dirt road, all the homeowners on the road had to sign a road maintenance agreement. Catherine and the buyer's agent went door to door to get the signatures and saved the deal.

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