Buying a Home? A Sewer Inspection May Give You Negotiation Power

Buying a Home? A Sewer Inspection May Give You Negotiation Power

When you are buying a home, in addition to getting a regular home inspection, you should also make sure you get a sewer inspection. Doing so could possibly save you thousands of dollars in repairing or replacing a faulty sewer line.

Check Homes Older Than 20 Years

If you have a home that is older than 20 years, it might be subject to the following plumbing problems: 

  • Tree roots that enter through small seams or cracks. As these roots grow, they create a web that traps debris and stops the flow of water.
  • Tree roots that damage or break your pipes as they grow allowing sewer water to escape into the ground around the pipe.
  • Cast iron pipes that corrode and break. The minerals in the water can also calcify on the pipe narrowing and eventually plugging the opening.
  • Orangeburg pipes that disintegrate or collapse. These pipes are often found in homes older than 50 or 60 years.

Quick Inspection Suggestions

There are a few quick things you can do to inspect your home for signs of problems. Suggestions include the following:

  • Turn on all the faucets and flush all the toilets at the same time. As the high amount of water tries to flow through the drains, watch to see if it backs up anywhere or flows slowly.
  • Walk along the route where the sewer line is likely to be buried. Look for mushy or soft patches of ground that could be caused by water leaking from a pipe. Do this when it hasn't rained for a while.
  • Look for a puddle of water near the spot where the city's pipes and the home's pipe connect. Do this when it hasn't rained for awhile.
  • Walk around the yard and notice if there are any foul smells.

Benefits of Video Sewer Inspection

Your safest bet is to get a sewer inspection with a video camera if you discover any signs that there may be problems, if you have a house that is surrounded by trees, or if your house is more than 20 years old. With a camera inspection you can do the following:

  • View the inside of your pipes on a monitor as the camera works its way through the system
  • Identify problems, their exact nature, and their specific locations, including the depth
  • Determine for certain the condition of the pipes
  • Record the images and keep it for future reference
  • Use the information you gained to help negotiate a lower price, a sewer repair allowance, or the need for repairs before the sale is completed
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