In escrow on a house and need advice!

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Monique Rivera, May 20, 2020 at 4:35 PM.

  1. Monique Rivera

    Monique Rivera New Member

    Joined:
    Wednesday
    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    So, we are first time homebuyers and admittedly, I am a bit clueless about plumbing in general haha. However, let me explain to you my concern. The house we are in escrow on is a home built in 1900 that has had significant remodeling etc. The house had already fallen out of escrow before because the inspection had some scary but fixable things in it which the seller is mostly dealing with and we have receipts. However, one of my main concerns in the plumbing. I have hired a plumber to come out and inspect this further but would like your advice here-- what do you think this is and what do you think the worst case and best case scenario would be here. Thank you sooo much. The previous inspection report says this.

    A video scan and analysis of the main building drain and sewer system to the municipal connection
    by a licensed plumber before the end of the contingency period is highly recommended, confirming
    that a blockage or deterioration of the non-visible portions of the plumbing system is not present.
    During the inspection of the visible portions of the building drain and waste system, it was observed
    that older cast iron drains were installed. This is a visual inspection of the drainage piping and our
    inspection is limited to running water into sinks, bathtubs, etc. a downstream blockage or
    deterioration may be present in the building sewer system. The remaining cast iron waste piping is
    beyond its expected lifespan and upgrades are recommended.

    Pools of waste water were found in the crawl space. The source appears to be from the hallway bathroom. We recommend further evaluation and correction. A substandard waste pipe connection was found on the left side of the house. We recommend further evaluation and correction. Suggest complete review/correction including cost estimate (bids) by a qualified licensed plumbing contractor before the end of the contingency period.
     
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Well, since my experience with "home inspectors" has left me with a less than stellar appreciation of them, I would NOT believe anything they write, unless there is some confirmation of it. They often are impressed with their "verbosity" and get bogged down in making up details.
     
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  4. Monique Rivera

    Monique Rivera New Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    Do you think this means that they could be over exaggerating?
     
  5. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2020
    Location:
    92346
    Home inspectors reputations are that the walk a tight rope if they tell the truth how bad some thing is the realtor wont rehire them . they often dont lookat things and say unable to acsees. most tradesman dont care for inspectors . so what to do? In your case, Id say absoulutly get a plumber out to look at it . I hate to say it but the plumbing trade isnt exactly without there fair of smooth talking salesman . The service and repair industry has thier share of bad apples . The truth is seeing is beliving if you or someone in your best interest brother husband will actualy get under the house and look all the better. you could have pricey repair ahead or simple problem.
    also its kind of hard to tell someone that 50 or 70 year old pipes are fine just because of age the y are presumed on their last leg but might have 20 years left
     
  6. Sam M

    Sam M New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2020
    Location:
    PA
    Not quite sure how escrow plays a role here, maybe someone could educate me. I would personally get a reputable plumber to do a thorough inspection. Home inspectors can only report on what they see. They basically check common items such as visible leaks, GFI outlet function, visible structure issue, and so forth. Our inspector missed a few items that we've had to correct ourselves and it's on a 20 year old home.

    A reputable plumber will have far greater knowledge with plumbing and have a more accurate estimate on what it will cost. If you find an honest plumber, they'll tell you what should be done now versus later.

    Unless you truly love this house, it may be worth it to walk away. Being a first time home buyer has it's own challenges and you should be prepared for unexpected costs especially with a very old home.
     
  7. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Occupation:
    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
    Location:
    New York
    After years of going to court against home inspectors for insurance companies and law firms I finally realized it is no use going after them even though the did not notice the friable asbestos , missing flu pipe galvanized and copper T& discharge piped into a drain or missing

    The most these incompetent people can be sued for is they have to return the fee they charged

    Most of their reported I did find were great for bird cage liners
    f
    Their reports are vague ,worded with lots of ways to keep them from being sued

    My advice s call a locally licensed plumber, a locally licensed electrician a and a roofer possibly a termite inspector

    Although I did roof installation long before I ever thought about plumbing as my Grand father owned a roofing company , my father owned his own roofing company and I worked for roofing companies and the post office not only hired me as a boiler inspector but also as a roofing inspector

    The roofing apprenticeship was 4 years the plumbing was 5 years my stint as a stationary engineer was also 5 years of training

    So I am very comfortable giving reports on the heating , plumbing and roofing and it took decades to learn just these three things

    So I wonder how a home inspector can gain all this knowledge without hands on experience, no formal education and gain all this in just 140 hours ...They must be truly gifted
    https://www.nachi.org/licensing-and-certification/us/new-york
     
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  8. Monique Rivera

    Monique Rivera New Member

    Joined:
    Wednesday
    Location:
    Riverside, CA

    This is fascinating. The home report I have in hand is pretty harsh, all things considered--it made the other potential buyers walk away immediately. We made a list and prioritized repairs as critical, worth negotiating for, and would like to have. When it comes to inspection reports, I have a copy of the previous one but am also ordering my own since the owner has done significant repairs since the first. The hired inspector is a general contractor who has dealt extensively with older homes. So, I'm thinking this is a worthwhile investment to get a second opinion and maybe be able to pick up some of the stuff that was missed. Additionally, I have also hired an actual plumber to camera the sewage lines. People were telling me you can get plumbers to do this for free as part of an estimate--what are your thoughts on that? I assumed this was unlikely because time is money, etc.


    We are seriously considering this home because 1. we really like the home (we've looked at 25 homes-- three were worth offering on and this was our favorite [we were outbid on the others!! it's super competitive market even during COVID BS] and think it is in a prime location that is about to grow extensively and 2. we are in Southern California...housing is incredibly expensive (even in Riverside which is cheaper). You could say, you should move...but unfortunately, I am an academic LOL---we can choose the job but not the location...at all...whatsoever as maybe 2-3 jobs are posted a quarter on average, nationally. I am an entomologist though, so the termite stuff I understand well and have direct access to experts. :)

    Super thankful for your responses!!!
     
  9. Monique Rivera

    Monique Rivera New Member

    Joined:
    Wednesday
    Location:
    Riverside, CA

    Being in ESCROW with CA Law means that we have submitted our in-kind $ and we are given 21 days to investigate the home before removing the contingencies. That's why it's urgent that we try to figure out what is wrong and root issues so that we can either ask for the repair or negotiate the hell out of the price.
     
  10. JerryR

    JerryR Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Location:
    Florida
    It sounds like you really want this house and the market is a sellers market.

    i would pay a plumber with good reputation to do a thorough inspection and not try to find a free inspection plumber.

    2 years ago I walked away from 3 homes I had contracts on after inspections and one we closed on.

    One had a FPE circuit breaker panel that was charred inside. FPE panels have a history of starting fires. It also had multiple armature installed illegal electrical modifications. It also had a questionably illegal septic system. The seller wasn’t interested in spending any money on repairs. After the seller rejected doing the repairs and I walked away from the contract, someone else bought it the next day.

    Another had dry wood termites throughout the house and sub-terrarium termites in the barn. Plus they had the dryer venting into a wall cavity with lint piled on top of an electrical outlet box. It was used as a rental property and it was owned by a general contractor/house builder.

    The third concerned me about how the property was graded. A few days before the inspection period was up it rained really hard. I went to the house with the real estate agent and there was literally 6” of water all around the foundation. The crawl space also had 6-8” of water in it. This was a home that was less than 1 year old.

    We ended up buying a 20 year old modular country cabin. It needed a roof and we negotiated the cost of the roof in the price. This was a private cash sale and it went very well. A few months after moving in we put on a new roof on it and a new well installed. After 18 months of ownership we love it.

    So don’t be afraid of walking away or if the location and price meets your needs, negotiate best you can, buy it and fix it up.
     
  11. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2020
    Location:
    92346


    Hope you work something out . What are your thoughts ? are you willing to buy the house as is without further inspection ? Some plumbers waive the camera fee if you hire them for repair. My Brother has a realter that has him give estimates of course its all free a realpain in the ass a lot of times the buyer dosent even hire him in fact frequently. Then again some of them are 200,000 dollar jobs . thats the way it is though
    I know Riverside I live close by I like the older areas there really pretty I think its nice and with a job like your with no control on where you go I think you landed in a Great place. and way cheaper than other places and a lot to do closeby
     
  12. DIYorBust

    DIYorBust Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2019
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    There's plenty to criticize about home inspectors, but in this case, the inspector appears to have identified some legitimate concerns. Now a plumber may try to sell you more work than you need, or you may be able to get away with putting off this work a while, but at this stage you may as well get some bids and use that to negotiate something with the seller if you can.
     
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  13. Sam M

    Sam M New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2020
    Location:
    PA
    Some plumbers offer free estimates and will use a camera, some won't. It is hard to say and your best bet is to call around. Getting a second opinion will not hurt. You may have to pay for an estimate do to the nature of the repairs, but take into consideration that the cost of an estimate from a plumber versus potential future cost of repair is far less.
     
  14. fitter30

    fitter30 Active Member

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    Feb 2, 2020
    Occupation:
    Retired service tech
    Location:
    Peace valley missouri
    Agree with getting a plumber that deals with old properties and have them access all the piping. At least your inspector wrote that you should have a plumber come out. Also have concerns with the other systems electrical, structure and roof. If one system has been neglected others might have been to..
     
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  15. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2020
    Location:
    92346
    pretty much self explanatory at this point get another look by qualified people. Agree w those that dont like inspectors but like them or not they are here to stay and an inspection does have value by the right people another thing the old saying you get what you pay for , Well sometimes you do get what you pay for and sometimes you pay for it and dont get anything. But one thing that is no argument buyer beware!
     
  16. dj2

    dj2 In the Trades

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2013
    Location:
    California
    "Some buyers will do everything they can to buy a house, and some buyers will do everything they can NOT to buy a house".
    Let's say the sewer is shot.
    Being a first time buyer, can you handle that?
    If you think so, get 3 estimates, then if you really want this house, take them to the seller and negotiate.
    Don't get what you want? - walk away.
     
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  17. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2020
    Location:
    92346
    yep its that simple. but check out everything else too
     
  18. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    That pooling stuff and linking the location to below the hall bathroom seems pretty specific and useful.

    You could post a photo of the mentioned waste pipe connection.


    How much did this house inspection cost? It seems like it was probably a worthwhile thing.
     
  19. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Occupation:
    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
    Location:
    New York
    Sam I cannot understand why a licensed plumber would give a "free" video inspection

    Does a doctor give a FREE colonoscopy and then say we found something ?

    Normally I charge $350 per half hr for a video inspection and this will include a report on my findings

    The reason being

    1- The Camera cost a lot money so I need to figure in wear and tear and its life expediency

    2- My time is worth something

    3- My insurance company does not give me free insurance

    4- I have a office and an office manager and she wants to be paid even if I did want to work for free

    This is considered overhead so someone has to pay for it

    Ideally

    I run a snake first $225.00 to make sure there are no roots

    Then a water Jetter $325

    Then the video as now the lines are clean and I can see if there are defects
     
  20. Sam M

    Sam M New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2020
    Location:
    PA
    This is why I said some will and some won't. One would need to call around and find out. If I were a plumber, I would charge based on the points you mentioned above but people run there business's differently.
     
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  21. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Occupation:
    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
    Location:
    New York
    When I took my NYC master plumbers exams there were several questions relating to overhead , profit, loss and fixed expenses etc

    I was was wondering why they asked these kind of questions

    The answer was explained some really talented plumbers start a company and with in a year or so go under

    Many when starting a company have their wives call the local plumbers asking how much for certain jobs to get an idea what the so called going rate is.

    This is their biggest mistake as the other guy may have did the same thing also asking someone how much per hour or job

    Everyone must crunch their own numbers to know what their turn key cost is

    Yesterday I decided to go out in the field and get some hands on time and I did two jobs both were 4" cast iron lines and I used a small water Jetter and each job was $750 plus tax

    The second job the lady said how come the other plumber snaked the line and 2 weeks later there was toilet paper all over the basement

    I spend 20 minutes explaining the difference of cables and water jettng and how build up grease and soap film cause pipe reduction and Jetters remove the grease etc. Cables are for hard stoppages rags ,roots etc

    She asked should she do it twice a year I said absolutely not .
    Do only snaking once a year $325 would be fine and then every other year snaking and water Jetting .

    The picture below 3 so called "plumbers" were called in to find out why a home attendant was severely scalded

    They all gave different answers one saying the the brass piping was old and this is why another blamed the Gerber 3 valve shower body

    The other guy said possibly the lady opened the H/W first

    This is how I not only picked up new accounts I still have accounts from 1982

    What the "free inspection" shows is the tech places no value on their time which unfortunately lowers the bar for the other contractors who know what it cost them to operate a successful business

    I was told by the law firm that hired me that I was the only one who requested pictures to the boiler room .

    After seeing the pictures of the installation of the tempering valve

    I sent in my report and the case was settled out of court

    The lawyer asked me how long did it take for my report as I charged the firm $5,500

    I told him it took me over 40 years. He said what!!!!

    I said from 1965 -1968 I was in the navy as a boiler tender then I was in a 5 year apprenticeship 10,000 hours and 744 hours of class room studies codes, theory .welding , brazing ,lead wiping and other practical applications

    I also had to attend classes for 2 more years to prepare for my 4 part masters exams after I had 10 years of documented (W -2 forms) that I was working in the profession and I still continue taking 8 hours of CEO's to maintain my licenses

    He said But you were were never in the boiler room how do you justify it

    I said THREE other people came and gave you erroneous reports and YOU paid them for nothing.

    You settled the case for several million dollars and you did nothing but use my report and the medical expects put it together and made money

    My fee is taken off the top as the doctors and the engineers report I was told by your office was discarded as he was guessing what may or may not have caused the sudden increase in temperature to spike to over 140 DEF F

    Your paying for the knowledge just as one would pay a heart Dr that installs a heart valve

    Thee master plumber and an engineer never mentioned the installation of this valve and never saw anything wrong with this installation
     

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    Last edited: May 23, 2020 at 4:42 AM
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