Cleanup in Mayflower, Arkansas on Saturday, March 30, 2013 after the ExxonMobil oil spill. (Photo: Daniel Wilkerson, THV 11)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - After the Mayflower oil spill spewed oil into the streets in March, many homeowners told THV 11 they never knew the pipeline was in their neighborhood. So, THV 11 dug into what sellers have to disclose about their property.
The short answer is anything on the actual property will be disclosed on a good survey and on title documents, but one issue we found with the system is if an underground line falls outside of your property, line sellers don't have to tell you.
"The house was mine, and there was no turning back as far as that went," said Jonathan Jameson, Mayflower homeowner.
Jameson closed on his new house in the Northwoods neighborhood just days before the spill. He knew nothing of the Pegasus Pipeline because ExxonMobil's easement doesn't fall directly on his property.
"Any of us that's bought a house, we have to sign our life away. Document after document," said Bob McArthur, CEO of Arkansas One Call.
McArthur said homeowners need to dig into the fine print of their closing documents. If an underground line is on your property, the easements will be listed in the exclusions section of the title insurance policy.
Before purchasing a home McArthur recommended looking for signs of easement like a cleared out path or physical markers.
"There's stakes that come up out of the ground that notify you that there is a pipeline. It's usually mowed, trees are down...sometimes it's very obvious there's an easement back there," said McArthur.
With spray paint and line detector in hand, Scott Bowman located underground utility lines for Arkups. Bowman typically detects for builders and contractors, but can help prospective buyers as well.
McArthur said the best motto in home buying is being inquisitive. He said don't stop with the real estate agent; talk with neighbors in the area to see about anything that pose potential risk for the entire neighborhood.