Unsure if it is necessary to remove your property’s underground oil tank before selling your home? Read on…
Here’s a scenario: You are a homeowner ready to sell. Your home is listed and within a matter of days a potential buyer offers to meet or even exceed your asking price in today’s hot housing market. The one sticking point? The oil tank buried underneath your property listed on the seller’s disclosure form.
In the state of New Jersey, real estate laws do not stipulate that a seller must remove residential underground storage tanks (UST). However, attorneys and insurance companies agree that it is in the seller’s best interest to do so. Buyers are often hesitant to take on the burden of removal and potential remediation to address damaged soil. UST removal in the middle of the selling process can delay the closing transaction by months and potentially ‘kill’ the deal. Here’s why:
Leaking and Environmental Damage Risk
UST’s that were manufactured before 1988 were made of the same low-grade, bare steel as basement tanks, and are not conducive to underground burial or the outdoor elements. When buried in the soil unprotected, that steel corrodes over time, causing oil leaks and potential contamination to ground water or soil.
A majority of insurance companies do not offer coverage for inactive USTs or their removal.
Expensive Leakage Remediation Costs
Leakage from rusted oil tanks can harm the environment and cost you money to clean up. Many times, UST removal and remediation efforts to test or replace ground soil is not covered under homeowner’s insurance. The longer you wait to address a leakage, the more costly your costs may become. If removal of the UST will affect the foundation and structure of your home, your municipal fire department may allow you to keep it in place and have it emptied and then re-filled with sand or concrete. But if not, the buried oil tank should be removed prior to selling.
Long Hill Contracting, LLC can help. We are a licensed contracting specialist that can tackle your oil tank removal needs from start to finish, adhering to OSHA and NJDEP safety guidelines. Contact us today for a free estimate click below.