Hey all, hope the year is kicking off to a great start.
I’m a fellow licensed inspector and member of InterNACHI. I also flip homes as my side hustle building for retirement as we get a 401k match working for ourselves
I wanted to get your thoughts on an inspection response I got from my latest sale. This is a fellow InterNACHI member so I’ll leave names out. I’m struggling with this one in a big way…see the verbiage below regarding a sewer main line:
Some clients may choose to have a heightened
level of inspection completed on the main sewer line
of the building. That inspection uses a specialized
camera to ensure the integrity of the system from
the building to the street. That level of inspection is
beyond the scope of a typical building inspection,
but is highly recommended and can be ordered
through specialized plumbing providers. It is noted
that in buildings of this age the main sewer lines
often were constructed using clay or cast iron pipe
which can fail over time.
Now we all know conversations can sway things in a big way. But in this case the buyer asked that the sewer scope be performed by the seller and was not performed during the inspection. So speculation or predicting?
I would like everyone’s thoughts if you wouldn’t mind.
You can say no, that inspections are up to the buyer to perform. Does the sale contract say that the buyer has the right to demand the seller have inspections performed or that the buyer may have inspections performed? I would push such inspections back on the buyer if they want them.
As far as the item in the report, the wording is weird, but there is nothing wrong with advising a client to have a hydrostatic of sewer scope inspection performed on homes that have an increased potential for problems. In Houston, underslab repairs of failed cast iron or clay tile sewer lines can run 10s of thousands of dollars.
If the age of the home does intimate these types of pipe, or the conditions regardless of pipe type may warrant it, then I really see nothing wrong advising the client of such. I don’t see any “alarmist” language here and just advisement type language.
Who pays for it is a matter of negotiating. However if I was flipping homes I would have it done myself before listing to head off any of these type issues and provide the report to the buyer after an offer is made if they so desire to have it.
The only issue I see with this language is the Inspector is only targeting the main sewer drain and no main house drain or branch lines. The Inspector IMO has left themselves open for issues if a problem is found under the home.
I see absolutely nothing wrong with the inspector advising this be done. (a great knowledgeable and experienced inspector in my opinion) A very good idea to have it done on an older home and or a home (a flip) where the seller (you, most likely) have no idea of the history of the home, such as if once a year the line has had to be cleaned (roto-rooted). Flips lack any meaningful Disclosures. And the the wording leaving out the other lines might be taken as staying within (more or less) the scope of an non-intrusive inspection. This scoping of the main line, would most likely be from a cleanout outside the home a readily available cleanout and or through a roof vent. Many Inspectors, myself included are now offering this and limit it to the readily available portion of the Main Drain for a reason. (like all of our inspections, it is not an exhaustive inspection of all components) This Inspection is still a Visual Inspection of the line. Yes we use a tool to help us see, but it is just like using any other tool like a screw driver to help us see inside the panel or using an IR Camera There have been a few homes where I could not locate a cleanout to check the main line to the city hook-up and I let the client know they may need to hire a plumber to come in an remove a toilet and scope it from there.
I see no where in the inspector’s wording were he/she advises that the Seller pay for this service…The Buyer can ask, and the seller can say No.
This is going to be a lot like recommending a Radon Test, A Good Inspector is going to have clues through experience as to which homes may be more likely to need a radon test. Just as a 20 plus year old house is more likely to have main sewer line problems.
A main line repair can cost many thousands to repair like this one I “Observed” (30 year old home) the area affected is about 50 feet, 6-8 feet deep and for the most part is under the city street…and The homeowner is liable for the entire cost of the line to the city main (all 50 feet). (this is just a screenshot of the video…