Granite countertops, hardwood floors, and open-concept living may be on your new home wish list, but is “perfect plumbing” on there as well? If it’s not, it should be. While many cosmetic issues like stained carpet and cracked tiles are easily spotted, the more important and expensive problems are often lurking in the pipes. A standard home inspection will cover the basics, like water damage and water heater safety, but other issues often go unreported. So, how do you know if you’re getting perfect or problematic plumbing? Keep these four factors in mind when shopping for your home.
1. Ask the right questions
Knowing what plumbing issues you could be inheriting is half the battle. Ask what work has been done on the plumbing, what issues have been fixed in the past, and what re-occurring problems keep sprouting up. If it’s happened once, there is a high probability it will happen again. Any re-occurring problems should be negotiated to be resolved before completing the sale of the home.
2. Sump pump problems
Does this home have a sump pump? Despite being standard in new construction homes with basements, not all pre-owned homes have sump pumps to prevent flooding. If it hasn’t rained recently, it can be difficult for a home inspection to turn up any sump pump issues. Request a thorough examination of the sump system during the home inspection - it could save you from getting stuck with thousands of dollars in repairs or replacement costs down the road.
3. Sewer line issues
Many home inspections do not include sewer lines. Often, inspectors will charge and additional costs ranging from $250 to $550 to look at the sewer lines. Many potential homebuyers don’t opt for this additional service because they assume that a municipality is responsible for maintaining the lateral sewer line leading from the street to the home, which is incorrect. Whatever the reason for skipping a sewer line inspection, buyers should weigh the potential costs and headaches a sewer line issue could cause if they forego this important step when making a deal.
4. Plumbing issues don’t need to be disclosed
Buyer beware! Because are no requirements for a seller to disclose plumbing problems, the burden to uncover any falls on the homebuyer. The age of a home often foreshadows future issues. For example, a home that is 25 years or older is more likely to have non-plastic pipes that may be deteriorating. Be on the lookout for potentially problematic mature trees around the home, visible root growth, and cracked concrete and ask if there are any known related pipe problems.