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12/17/2012 6:00:00 AM
Foreclosure deal sours for Golden Valley man

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

When it comes to buying a house there are no guarantees, especially when it comes to purchasing a foreclosure.

Frank Micomonaco found that out the hard way when he purchased a property in Golden Valley in 2009 and found that one of the two homes on the property was not hooked up to a septic system.

Now, he's facing a court date, a $1,300 bill for a permit, and fines that could reach $10,000, for an illegal septic system if he doesn't get a septic permit by Friday.

"All he needs to do is come in and get the permit. We would love to see him walk in the door," said Rachel Patterson, the director of Mohave County's Environmental Health Division. "Then he would have two years to install the system and get it inspected."

He would still have to appear in court and show the judge that he had gotten a permit, she said.

"But what about the fines?" Micomonaco asked, "I don't have $1,300. I've lost a lot of money trying to fix this place up. My whole life savings is in it and I can't sell my home in Pennsylvania because of the market."

Micomonaco bought the 2.35-acre, bank foreclosed property on Amethyst Road in 2009. The property came with a mobile home, a carport and a 1,200 square foot, owner-built house.

He says the county approved the septic system at least three times without adequately inspecting it and making sure it was connected to the 1,200 square-foot home. He's just trying to move the septic tank to correct their error.

Patterson counters that moving an existing permitted septic system makes it a new system, which requires a new permit. She also pointed out that the septic system on the property was only permitted for the old mobile home. The department has no record of a request for a septic permit for the 1,200 square-foot house.

Unfortunately, Micomonaco's situation is not all that uncommon, said Lori Chambers, a Realtor for Remax Prestige Properties. Chambers and her office were not involved in the sale of the property to Micomonaco.

"I've heard some horror stories," she said. "It's rare, but it does happen.

"When you purchase a foreclosed home from a bank you sign all sorts of paperwork saying you won't hold the bank accountable for any problems the home might have.

"The banks have no way of knowing what may be wrong with a foreclosed property. They haven't lived there. It's up to the buyer to make sure they know what they're getting."

Even a home bought directly from a private seller can have unforeseen problems, Chambers said. A home could be thoroughly inspected and given the green light, but a new homeowner could knock down a wall and find mold. The new homeowner is responsible for cleaning it up, she said.

Chambers recommends hiring a good Realtor and a good housing inspector for the purchase of any home, especially when you're dealing with anything that involves owner-built additions.

"The only way to protect yourself is know what you're getting into," she said.

Micomonaco found out that his 1,200 square-foot home was not connected to the septic system in April 2011 when the plumber remodeling his bathroom notified him the drain for the toilet didn't connect with anything.

He tried to correct the situation by hiring a neighbor's son in October 2011 to move the septic system and have it connected to the home. The man stopped work on the project when he fell off a backhoe and was injured.

When the county notified him that the incomplete septic system was illegal, shortly after the neighbor stopped working on it, he applied to the county's housing rehabilitation program for help.

The program helps low-income residents make repairs to their homes to make sure they are living a safe environment. Micomonaco lives off of a fixed income and is confined to a wheelchair because of health problems.

Micomonaco was removed from the program's waiting list in June after the county determined that he did not meet income eligibility requirements.

He immediately contacted Martin and Barbara Blythe at the county's housing rehab program to fix the situation, but before he could, he was served with the summons to appear in court.

"Once it reaches the courts, it's out of our hands," Patterson said. "He may have to pay some fines, that would be up to the judge."

ICT - Re/Max - cdavidcooley (rentals/sales) 233x388

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012
Article comment by: vock canyon

Real Estate Spectulators beware! The flip it TV show always make it sound so easy. Buy it, paint it, and resell it and make $50k! LISTEN, READ THIS: there is a reason the property is so cheap! The folks that are selling it know about the problems or it would not be a foreclosure!!!!! They let if go back to the bank because they didn't want to spend the $30k to make the repairs or tear down the house! DUH!!! Why do you think there are so many cheap properties out here?

Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Mohave county has a system for allowing RVs on property, you have to dump your tanks at approved locations such as RV parks, dump stations, a septic tank is not impossible to buy, around $4000, the permit to use a RV on private property is last time I checked $100 annual fee, RV must be road worthy, tagged, licensed, do some in dire financial straights skirt these laws, am sure they do, but I think I will with hold my judgment on them, since I live by one rule, keep that timber plucked out of my eye and let the splinter be the worry of my brothers eye his problem! Mohave county has a truly nice bunch of people in general but some whom post here almost 24/7 seem to be unable to find any happiness in life, and seem to constantly seek someone to look down their snobbish noses at to make themselves feel superior, they have a not so nice term for that!

Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Lived here long enough! Curious comment, yes some folks live in old, not servicable RV's, or as you like to refer to as travel trailes, when I retired I bought a $40,000 RV, new, keep my truck new, never let it hit 100,000 miles before buy a new one get rid of the old one, your blanket comment on vagabonds is amusing, your mortgage is concrete, wonder if your just angry its upside down and no one will buy it! Some RV's the bus types can run well over $500,000 in cost, beauty of being a vagabond as you like to denigrate us RV folks is when we get tired of your nasty attitudes we simply hook up, or in the bus category they start the old engine and move leaving the angry, miserable to stew in their misery! You obviously watch to much Jerry Springer show and view anyone in a trailer as trailer trash! I find it amusing that many who are arrogant, snobish likely are in much worse financial shape than those they denigrate!

Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Article comment by: Lived Here Long Enough

Buyers beware. Years ago, the county had a "building overlay" area. Most folks thought that if you were outside of that area, you didn't need any permits. FAR from the truth. Haphazard residences, barns, and garages that were suppose to be built to code were not. Say nothing of the mobile homes that were toted in, lived in, abandoned and left to rot.
Now the county is faced with hundreds of "travel trailer" residents flocking to this area NOT knowing you need a SEPTIC system and PERMIT for their "home on wheels". The county needs to take a look at just how many of these vagabonds are sprinkled throughout the county, camping out gypsy style and dumping gray AND black water holding tanks into the ground. If you thought the problem with run-down mobile homes was bad, wait a few years when these are abandoned and left to rot too!

Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Article comment by: Nick Schmidt

The law industry has a very old term in Latin: "Caveat Emptor". Meaning:
Buyer beware, know what you buy.
Banks ignored it when they bought
Heinz mixtures of subprime mort-
gage. Difference: our GV man is not a bank and not too big to fail.

Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Article comment by: FRANK MICOMONACO

Dear Dave and Frank Lee I am again working with the county comunity development department and after this story today it looks like they will be paying for all of my repairs in the near future thanks to all of you tax payers

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: Joe Blow

Well, he's in a wheelchair and on a fixed income ... I think he deserves a little sympathy ... come on folks, it's the Christmas season ... time for a little compassion ...

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: Dave In Golden Valley

He bought a mess without checking, for a cheap deal, now everyone else is supposed to help him pay for it. It's no ones fault but his. The county tries to give him time to fix it, but someone else should pay. Too bad.

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

"Dannies Joy" got it right. And if you buy a home without a full inspection before doing so, it is your fault and no one else's.

By the way, if tossing in the wheelchair and fixed income line was meant to garner didn't work

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

As a life long real estate investor who has bought land all my adult life, never did go into the stock market thing always felt paper was worthless always believed what a old man whom I bought 4.5 acres from when I bought my first piece of property told me, he was 70 dying of cancer and he told me land is only worth what someone is willing to give for it, its never worthless but one can buy a sours ear and think one has bought a silk purse! I was looking at a piece nice land with a metal building, solar panels, 500 gallon septic system unpremitted and the absentee owners are trying to sell it as is, leaving any potential buyer with a permit headache, septic violation, needless to say I did not buy it would not buy that sows ear! Its near Chlorite, and buyer beware!

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: What's Right Is Right

It's not right that this man should be faced with Court action when it is clear from this story that he 1) inherited this problem unbeknownst to him when he purchased the property, and 2) he has actively been trying to correct the problem within his means. He should be given no less than a year to correct the problem before the Court or anyone tries to assess him fines or otherwise enforce compliance.

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: az mac

All the regulations and taxes make it very hard for people to buy property and start a business. First of all what right does the city, county, state or federal government have the right to tell you what to do with your property or business. I can see a few rules for the city.
This country became the greatest country in the world with very little regulations on private property. Now that we have all these regulations we are number 18 on the world free country list and going down hill every day
The state now owns the land and you have to pay rent on it. Look up allodial and see what you have lost. You work all your life and now the government can take your property for any reason because you do not own it the government does.

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: Dannies Joy

Two years ago, we bought a foreclosed home in Kingman. BEFORE we closed, we had a PROPERTY INSPECTION done on the home. This is a MUST for anyone buying a home. With a foreclosure you are usually buying "as is", so get the inspection first and you can decide if you can or want to deal with any problems. You can back out at this point in time if you decide the repairs are too much.

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