Buying an Old House? Get the Plumbing Inspected First! | Cambridge Plumbers

January 22, 2019

Boston and Boston are full of old, vintage homes and some of them are so beautiful and unique, it’s no wonder why homebuyers are attracted to these historical treasures. But when you’re buying an old home, you want to think about two things: the electrical and the plumbing. How old are these systems and how long has it been since they were replaced or updated?

When a reasonable buyer seriously considers a house, they have several things inspected before they sign the mortgage papers. Sure, the first thing buyers notice are the superficial things like the flooring, the paint on the walls, the kitchen counters, the window treatments, and the appliances. But to really understand your future investment, you have to dig below the surface.

Things like the existence of dishwashers, gas pipes in the kitchen and laundry rooms, and HVAC systems are important, but they’re not as important as old, faulty electrical wiring and lead plumbing pipes that need to be replaced. Home inspections are the rule in purchase contracts these days, but unfortunately too many buyers don’t order a plumbing inspection until afterbuying a home. Until it’s too late to ask for a refund.

Buyers Can Be in for a Bad Surprise

We see it again and again: A buyer will purchase an old home that cosmetically, looks beautiful, but shortly after moving in they start to have major plumbing problems. And when they call us, we have to be the bearer of bad news and tell them their whole plumbing system needs to be replaced, or their pipes are being invaded by thirsty tree roots.

What to have a plumbing pro look at when buying a new home:

  • The main sewer line. If it’s deteriorating, it could lead to clogs are worse, a collapse, which could lead to costly repairs or a full replacement.
  • The water heater, which may be in need of a replacement.
  • Toilet leaks, which if left undetected, can lead to significant damage to the flooring.
  • Shower and bathtub leaks that can lead to water damage, especially on the floor below the bathroom.
  • Tree roots that are invading pipes.
  • Dirty drains full of sludge that are on the verge of clogging.
  • Old, rusty, or leaking pipes that are outdated and need to be replaced.

Even if a plumbing inspection does turn up issues, it doesn’t mean you won’t buy the home. However, the issues can be used as bargaining chips to negotiate a better deal, and they can give you peace of mind that you KNOW what you’re getting into.

Buying a home? Whether it’s 20, 50, or over 100 years old, it’s wise to have a detailed plumbing inspection. Contact Winters® Home Services today to schedule an appointment.

Suggested Reading: Why Do Water Pipes Burst in the Winter?