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Plumbing Inspections to Perform Before Buying a Home


Person receiving the keys to a home, in front of a SOLD real estate signBuying a home is one of the most exciting, yet nerve-wracking purchases you will ever make. Not only do you want something that fits perfectly for your family’s specific needs, but you also need something that functions well and fits within your budget. Hence, the home inspection. Included in this thorough examination is basically a professional review of the overall structure; the exterior of the house, roofing and yard; and the interior including electrical, heating and air conditioning, fireplaces, ventilation and insulation, and the home’s plumbing. These inspections help uncover existing damage and minimize financial risk for the buyer. While the inspection should be done by a licensed professional, there are also questions you as the prospective home buyer can ask to uncover possible problems.

Start by checking your main sewer line.

A home’s sanitary sewer plumbing operates in one of two ways: by a municipal sewer system or a septic tank. To find out the condition of the municipal sewer system, a plumbing contractor can come in and set up a camera line inspection to quickly tell you the overall condition of the plumbing. If the house runs on a septic tank, find out where its located, the capacity of the tank, and the location of the drain field. Consider having it inspected as well by a plumber or septic company.

Inspect the water heater.

Find out where the water heater is in the home, its capacity and how old it is. Water heaters typically last anywhere from 8 to 12 years. If you see visible signs of corrosion, you can ask for a new one to be installed before closing. Websites like help you verify the age of a water heater by entering the make, model, and serial number into their database.

Find leaks in the system

Part of the inspection process should be to spend time in the home and locate smaller potential problems. As you make your way from room to room, do you notice any drips of water coming from the fixtures? Do you see small wet spots where they shouldn’t be? What you may have missed in the few minutes you spent in the home while deciding whether to put in an offer, can easily come to light when you spend more time in a room.

Flush every toilet

Flush every toilet in the home and make sure it works properly, filling back up with water in a timely manner. Do you hear small leaks? Also, check around the base for evidence of prior leaks.

Look for adequate protection on risky pipes

If you’ve ever dealt with a frozen pipe, you know how devastating it can be. As you are making your way through your home inspection, look for visible signs of previous pipe problems, and also look for potential problems in the future. Pipes on outside walls without adequate insulation are signs you may have a future problem if nothing is done to fix it now.

Basically, if something needs updating, or looks like it will soon, negotiate it into your contract. Sellers usually aren’t willing to let a serious buyer walk over small to medium inspection concerns.

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