Did you forget to sewer scope? That could be a problem...

Written by Posted On Sunday, 29 December 2019 09:35

A sewer scope... now that just sounds disgusting. Well, it is. Basically a sewer scope is when a camera is sent all the way through the main drain line, also known as a sewer line. You, (well hopefully really someone you hired) are sending a camera down into it and viewing everything in that main drain line. This is something EVERYONE should do before buying a house or rental property. A main sewer line repair can be extremely costly where as a sewer scope is $75-$200.

Let me tell you about my own recent experience. I have a 4-plex that I purchase and did a general inspection on. This did not include a sewer scope and yes I did NOT follow my own advise here. Stupid me, and here's why. A year after buying this building, I got a letter from the city stating that I needed to repair my sewer line. I had no idea, nor did any of the occupants say, that there had been any indication of plumbing issues. I figured, if everything was draining out, it must be fine right? WRONG! So very very wrong. 

Yes, everything was draining out, and there was no visual of any issues until the city sent a letter. This letter told me about a 3' SINK HOLE in the street that a break in my line had caused. WHAT?!?!  Now normally this would have been covered by the city, if I owned a 1 or 2 unit building, but since this a 4-unit building, I was NOT covered. In this city, they deemed this as a commercial building and would not make any repairs. 


I started like anyone else might. I got a few bids for repairs. The numbers started coming back to me and they blew my mind! The LOWEST of these bids was $34,800! This was insane to me. I've also, fortunately, done enough work with contractors to know that this number cannot be realistic. They also knew that I was an out of state owner for this building and I'm sure that accounted for some of their justification on these numbers. That being said, I called my realtor, and he too was blown away. He told me not to use anyone but the call the number of the guy he was going to send. So I did and I am extremely glad I did. This other contractor had been working with my realtor for a while and he came out to give a bid as well. I had low expectations, but was assured by my agent that this was the guy for the job.

The next day he came back with his bid. $13,100. Now, I look at that number and it still is a huge sticker shock, but it's way less than the other companies. He started rtight away and was done with everything, including all city permits and inspectin passed off within two weeks. I cound't believe it. The other crews said it would be a month or two and this guy did it in less than two weeks! Indeed, he really was the guy for the job.

I tell you this story not to make you scared, but to make you aware of the potential costs of neglecting a sewer scope. If you know what's a potential problem, then you'll be in a better position to make decisions or negotiate repairs BEFORE you buy the property. The sewer scope technician will also likely be able to give you a ball park repair amount or in the very elast tell you if the pipe will need significant repairs or not. 

Take this story and use it to keep yourself from ending up in a "crappy" situation. 

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Seth Rouch

Hello! I’m Seth, of SethBuysHouses, which is a Local Colorado Home Buying Company. I’ve found a passion of helping people in Colorado with a houseing solution for them. My wife, Stephanie, and I have a combined experience of almost 20 years in Real Estate and have found that if you’re not happy… well then what’s the point? Coming from being a 9-year public servant-teaching middle school, you know that I’m here to help IMPROVE your housing situation. Additionally, I am a Colorado 5th generation native. I’ve been pouring into the communities of Colorado and strive to preserve the Colorado I know and grew up in for not only myself, but my two children and future generations.

With all that to say, I am definitely not your typical “I buy houses” or “We buy houses” buyer. I have been involved in Real Estate for almost a decade and am here to help people. I truly also enjoy being a landlord in multiple states, house flipping and the process and excitement of making something come back to life. I renovate and rent every house so that I would be excited and proud to live there with my wife and kids!  – Seth Rouch


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