Hi Bigger Pockets Community!
So, I'm under contract on my second SFH and I got the sewer lines scoped (like a good BP member). They found something! There's a belly in the cast iron sewage line that's about 10' long and about 40' from the house causing the sewage to settle and "back fall" a bit. They also found a lip on the pipe that shouldn't be there. I watched the video so there's no foul play here. The seller (a real estate agent) has never had any problems reported, and thus won't pay for any "preventative maintenance".
The estimated repair is $10,500. SO, This is a major Cap Ex! The property cash-flows $170 after Maintenance and cap-ex reserves are taken out, so this repair kills my cash on cash for 5 years...
What do you think folks? IS it something that I can ignore for a while? Why would a cast-iron pipe have sagged so much (assuming they put it in right)? Murphy's law too right?
I super welcome all your feedback and love what BP does . Thanks in advance.
@Joseph Schommer pipes can sag over time for sure, and this may or may not be a big deal. If everything is draining, I can totally understand why the seller doesn't want to pony up for you to replace the sewer line. Also, there may be other options as opposed to replacement. In some areas you can do sewer liners, and you may also be able to dig up and just put a patch in.
Sewers are tough.... in my area most of them are clay pipe, and it is one of those ongoing issues when you buy older buildings. I have a building here locally in Berwyn where I had to replace all the 90 degree angles on the down spouts (they go to a catch basin which goes to the sewer) because they had all broken. I had one of my handy guys do this, and it saved me a small fortune I am sure.
@John Warren Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. It does make sense that he doesn't want to fix this..the question I have to settle in myself is whether or not I close on this anyway knowing that there will be a repair somewhere down the line. Even though I'm pretty new to this space, I feel like there's probably always going to be something right? Is there always something? Is there a 'perfect' property out there? Perhaps this is the White Whale of REI.
Thanks again :-)
The line is back pitched. If it isn't causing water to back up into the property, just have it rodded one a year and move on.
@Joseph Schommer there is most definitely no perfect property, and all properties are constantly deteriorating. This is why we budget for CapEx and Maintenance. If the deal makes sense, why don't you get opinions from two or three local plumbers. Tell them you are very inexperienced and you want to know how many years you would have before you have to do anything. Once you have done that, add five to ten years as every plumber I have ever met thinks you should replace everything NOW (so that they make money...).
@Steven Lowe Thanks for that input. Makes it seem like not such a big deal if it can get snaked right?
Is this something that was caught on a sewer lateral inspection?
@Mel Anic yes. I had a sewer scope done as part of due diligence property inspection.
How old is the property? And what does the lip look like? If it's symmetrical, I'm guessing it's just a hub connection which is how older sewer lines went together. If it's not then it sounds like a pipe might have settled. Additionally a belly might not be referring to the pipe settling. Microbial influenced corrosion (in addition to others) often manifests with creating blisters on the outside of a pipe as the interior of the pipe develops a depression. Did your pipe inspector tell you the pipe settled? It would have targeted this area if the sewer pipe had minimal slope and water pooled at the hub. That being said $10,500 is way too much money if you just need to replace 10' of cast iron pipe. This should be a one day job for two guys, with about $30 in material.
@Joseph Schommer I just had this come up on a property I am selling. Buyer’s inspector said there was a sag in the sewer line about half way to the street and implied that it needed to be replaced. He gave the buyer the name of a sewer repair company that he highly recommended take a look at it. I had that company come out, scope and clean it. They said virtually every line over 30 years old has a sag or belly. Completely a non- issue as long as it drains fine.
@Joseph Schommer you are running into one of the toughest issues in this business. We all need to be able to trust licensed professionals, but it is not always in the best interest of the same licensed professionals to give us cost effective advice. I have a buddy who is a plumber, and he literally won't do a repair. He only likes to do new install because.... he makes more money for less work!
As an investor, when you find the trades people who are honest and are looking out for you make sure to treat them like gold. I am very, very loyal to the plumber, electrician and hvac trades people who are my go to folks because they are ok with repairing older items if it can be done. This can save you a small fortune, especially in the plumbing/sewer world!
Thank you all for the encouragement and knowledge. SO, the pipe does have a sag (@Todd Rasmussen ) and it's only going to be $5000 to dig up the 10' of pipe and fix the lip on the clean-out. That being said, all the things everyone posted here, and rewatching the video makes me think it's not that big a deal...yet. SO I'm moving forward and will save up the cap-ex- fund until I can use that to fix the dip.
Thanks all for the supportive and wise words of advice :-)
I,m Curious how far down is the pipe?
@Ryan McKinney the lip is at 3' 6", and the pipe to be fixed is approx 5'-7' deep.
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