Tag Archive for construction

What is a Sewer Scope, Anyways?

A sewer scope is potentially dollar-for-dollar one of the best insurance policies you can buy, when purchasing a home.  By “insurance policy”, I don’t mean that it actually reimburses you in the case of necessary repairs, but I do mean that it may help you save tens of thousands of dollars in the long run.  During a sewer scope, a specialist runs a camera through the sewer line from the house hook up, to the city hook up.  The specialist is basically looking for plant or tree roots that have grown into the sewer line; or cracks, breaks, or detoriation to the pipe itself.  Some minor roots can often be remedied by a roto-rooter company, snaking a cutting blade down the pipe to cut away any existing roots.  However, if the line is completely broken or cracked; depending on where the break is, it could cost upwards of $10,000-12,000 to repair.  This stems from how far underneath the ground the pipe is burried, as well as if it is burried underneath a driveway, sidewalk or city street.  Cutting through concrete can become pretty costly.   The specialist only goes as far as the city hook up, because anything after that point is the city’s responsibility to repair.  However, any issues with the sewer pipe between your house and the city hook up is your responsibility to repair.  Hence, the importance of doing a sewer scope BEFORE you purchase a house.

If you do a sewer scope before buying a house and something major does come up, you may either ask the seller to repair the issue, or simply choose to not buy the house at all.  But if you for go conducting a sewer scope upfront and buy the house anyways, any problems you find with the sewer line after the fact, are your sole responsibility.  That being said, many buyers don’t want to spend the money to conduct a sewer scope before the seller actually agrees to sell them the house.  Because of this it is generally recommended to conduct a sewer scope during the inspection period alloted by the inspection contingency usually included with the purchase and sale real estate contract.  The inspection contingency allows you a certain amount of time to conduct inspections, and exit the contract if the buyer deems the condition of the property insufficient.  However, it is not required by Washington State law to include this clause in a real estate contract.  So if you want this protection, you have to confirm that it is part of your contract.  If you would like to learn more about the inspection contingency, real estaste contracts, or buying your first home in general, go to our Calendar page and register for one of our First Time Home Buyer seminars.