Kansas City Sewerline Access Issue

3 Replies

I am currently under contract for a property in Kansas City built in 1957, recently rehabbed which I have had undergo a home inspection, inspection by Structural engineer and most recently a plumber inspector as the home inspector was originally unable to access the sewerline from outside of the house and was not licensed to remove the toilet so he suggested having a plumber inspect the sewer line. The plumber went to the property and encountered an issue where he too couldn’t access the stack line and found no outside clean out and said to gain access to vent he would likely have to make cutouts in the wall between the bathroom and the adjacent bedroom. He said for the extent that his camera could go he could see there was a lot of cast iron debri

He suggested that I shouldn’t proceed unless the seller of the property can create access to the stack line (clean out in the bathroom wall) or install a clean out outside for external access rather than having to rip out the toilet each time there’s an issue. At this time because there’s no access I don’t know the full condition of the line. As it starts out as cast iron (then likely clay line outside) I’ve been researching that eventually these will have to get replaced at some point to PVC if cleaning maintenance hasn’t been done or if some other damage to the Line occurs, I wasn’t provided a quote as he again couldn’t get outside access to view. This is making me apprehensive to buy but wanted to know what negotiating points I can make with the seller to resolve this issue before it becomes a bigger one down the line. Any insight would be greatly appreciated !

@Elizabeth Njuguna everything in KC built before 80s and 90s was either cast iron, clay, some combination of those, or on a rare occasion Orangeburg, which they stopped using in the 40s. Cast and clay are very normal. That line could last 100 more years or could go in the next year.  Even plastic breaks, it is rare but it happens. 

1. Don't be scared or apprehensive because the line is cast and clay. That is very normal. My house has clay. Most of the houses we flip are cast and clay. My personal house has to augered once every couple of years because roots grow into the line where the gaskets connect, that is normal. 

2. The seller needs to install a clean-out on the main stack. They don't need to do an outside clean-out.  Be very careful what plumber you use. Many big companies will come in and say you need to do a ton of extra work that isn't needed but the seller does need to install a cleanout on the main stack and then have the line cleaned out. Then allow you to inspect. If they don't want to do that you need to either cancel or accept the house as-is and ask for a price reduction or the seller to pay a portion of your closing cost. 

3. Are you using an agent? If yes, hopefully, they are good and an investor also. If they are - they should easily be able to handle this for you and protect you.

Hope that helps. Feel free to DM me if you need anything else.

@Elizabeth Njuguna Hey Elizabeth I agree with Dan, I also would look into having your home insurance covering this, I am not 100% sure on how much that will reduce your out of pocket for any potential problems, so look into it, but it can help a lot :) Also lets connect I'm in KC and had a similar experience on a home I am closing on this week

@Elizabeth Njuguna to @Jacob Trogan point - you can buy sewer main insurance through KCMO. It is relatively inexpensive. That said, they will not cover you for pre-existing conditions. It is best to get the sewer main inspected, know what you are buying, and then purchase the insurance if a future break is your concern. 

For everyone else out there considering purchasing in KC from OOS - good, investor-focused, rock star agents can help you sort through all this stuff.