A Costly Lesson for REALTORS® and Sellers
Less than 20 years old, at first glance, all the sewer systems seemed to function properly in this well kept home.
Year Built: 1998
Square Footage: 1,662 with 866 finished basement; 3 bedroom; 4 bath (2-full, 1-half, 1-3/4)
Location: Near Quebec & Iliff Ave, Denver, CO
Pipe Spies was called to complete an inspection of the underground sewer pipeline for the buyers and this is what unfolded.
At 14 feet into the inspection, there was a severe and impassable offset joint and the pipe appeared to be slightly leaking. As compared to a properly installed connection, this offset reduced the passageway to nearly half and was catching toilet paper.
Fortunately for the sellers, water was still passing through this point and a blockage surprisingly had not yet occurred. Nonetheless, Pipe Spies’ recommendation to the buyers was that this be repaired.
The initial repair estimates from the seller’s chosen excavation/repair company was $2,250. Because of the type of soil discovered upon excavation, it was necessary for a larger and deeper hole to be dug, which led to the front porch being temporarily removed and the sidewalk torn out resulting in additional costs.
In addition to repairing the offset, the buyers requested that the remaining line to the city main connection be inspected once the pipe was exposed and opened. A severe low area was discovered in the street also in need of repair that led to more tear out and additional costs.
By thinking that the sewer line would be the last thing to not pass inspection, the sellers were in a costly situation and a negotiating disadvantage.
When it was all said and done, the sellers went from an initial repair estimate of $2,250 to a final repair cost of $15,475!
Not only was this an unfortunate situation for the sellers, their listing agent, REALTOR®, forfeited all their commission, having been the same agent that helped the sellers buy the house less than two years prior without recommending a sewer pipeline inspection.
The moral of the story:
Before selling or purchasing a residential, commercial or investment property, ensure the integrity of the sewer pipe work with an independent, reputable and unbiased sewer pipeline inspection and avoid costly surprises.
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