Categorized | Buyer Education

Save Yourself From the Stink of a Bad Sewer Line!

Posted on 07 November 2009 by vvandervort

In Burlingame and Hillsborough, it is mandatory at the time that a property is put on the market to complete a “sewer lateral” inspection, but in other cities along the peninsula this is not a requirement.  After having a couple of bad experiences in San Carlos and Belmont, I have come to recommend this inexpensive and extremely informative inspection to my buyers on most properties.  Lately, it has been a key part of negotiations in transactions on properties that were foreclosed upon and are bank owned. 

A sewer lateral inspection involves the inspector finding the sewer line cleanout location, opening it up, and running a camera through it to discover the condition of the line.  If there is a clean out on the perimeter of the property, it costs $150.  If the inspector has to get the camera equipment into the crawl space to a clean out, then it is another $75.  A few weeks ago, I ran into an instance where the inspector had to go up on the roof to access the line and that too resulted in the additional $75 fee (this was a house that had a slab foundation).  Relative to a home inspection, which runs about $450 and a pest inspection at about $250, this is a cheap inspection.  Also, it can cost about $4000 to $7000 to replace a sewer line and I have had great success in getting sellers to pay for at least 50% of the repair of the line.  With homes of about 50 to 60 years of age in many locations in San Carlos, the sewer lines are definitely getting old and this inspection could save you thousands of dollars, not to mention having the ability to flush your toilet and see the stuff go away once you move in.  To me, that’s worth A LOT!

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