The Importance of a Sewer Inspection Before Buying a Home

Buying a home can be one of the most challenging things you do in life. It’s often a stressful process with so many things you need to discover, learn, and understand. The laundry list of items to be considered seems never ending, and well-intended custodians can sometimes forget to disclose costly details in the race to win you the home and get you moved in.

Home Inspections May Not Be Enough

As a homebuyer, you wouldn’t complete your purchase of a home without seriously contemplating the results of a proper home inspection. It is one of the key elements to provide buyers with confidence in their purchase. However, home inspection services don’t always include what we might assume they do.

Home inspectors are trained to notice details in a building’s interior as well as the exterior. Checking the house from top to bottom, both inside and out, is the first order of business. Inspectors estimate the life expectancy of the roof, the structure and framing, electrical functions, and basic parts of the interior plumbing systems.

Reports from your inspector may identify problems that can establish the need for a price adjustment during purchase negotiations. While these adjustments can mean a lower price point, you may want to be cautious because deeper investigation could reveal issues below ground that you wouldn’t necessarily anticipate.

Home inspectors typically don’t have the special equipment or knowledge required to diagnose a sewer problem. They have limited time onsite and have to be efficient, so their checklist of items may not include looking for deep-rooted issues in underground infrastructure. Inspectors may be able to tell you if you have a leaky faucet but may not be able to tell you that the sewer is made of soggy paper Orangeburg pipe, has broken terracotta, or eroded cast iron pipes. You don’t often think about what you can’t see: out of sight is out of mind.

Additionally, your inspector could be from outside of the area and not familiar with your city’s sewer and sanitation ordinances for required compliance; and you don’t want non-refundable processes like a sewer compliance to be a surprise after you close on your dream house.

The Importance of a Home Sewer Inspection

We get so many calls from customers who are frustrated because the sewer inspection was forgotten (and they now have an additional cost they didn’t plan for in their closing costs); or they get moved into their home and find out after a terrible sewer backup that the sewer lateral is offset, has been damaged by tree roots, or worse: the line is broken and eroded. Fortunately, we’re here to share our expertise and serve as a resource for you.

CCTV Sewer Video Inspection

So what can you do to avoid a potential sewer problem? After a home inspection is completed, buyers should ask their agent or seller if they can hire their own sewer contractor to perform a video camera inspection of the sewer lateral. A thorough inspection performed by an estimator with a trained eye can save homebuyers significant time and money.

A professional sewer inspection can tell you a lot about your home’s sanitary plumbing. Sure, it can identify dilemmas like sewer breaks, tree roots, and rusted out holes in your pipes – but it can also give you important information like how long or deep your lateral runs, where it connects with the city sewer, whether you’re sharing a connection with your neighbor, or if you’re connected to unauthorized feed-in lines from nearby commercial sites.

If there is a problem, a sewer inspection will detect it; and once you know the condition of your sewer line and whether or not it needs repair, you can make an informed decision about purchasing the home.

A Better Solution: Trenchless Sewer Line Replacement

If you decide to buy a home that needs a sewer repair, we suggest going with a trenchless method to replace the line. It’s more efficient than traditional methods and won’t disrupt your property’s landscape. Trenchless sewer lines can also be replaced faster than a traditional trenched solution. Our pipe bursting method often takes only a day to complete.

EBMUD Sewer Compliance_ Replacement_05-27-20

Every property is unique and has it’s own quirks and arrangements underground, so getting an estimate for the work can vary from home to home. The important thing is to choose a professional team that will give you an honest diagnosis of your sewer, fair pricing for repair, and will see it through to completion: finishing all disturbed surfaces to a high standard.

Pipe Spy, Inc. has been serving homeowners for over 20 years. With our high level workmanship and expert skills, we’re able to give new homeowners the best service for their dollars. If you’re looking to diagnose your sewer line, contact us at (510) 465-3000 or through our online contact form.  We’ll be happy to help!