Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Buyer Beware

One of our most important jobs in the home buying process is guiding the buyer through the inspection portion of the escrow. This is a predetermined amount of time that the buyer has to satisfy themselves in terms of the condition of the property. The two most common inspections that are done in San Francisco are the Home Inspection which covers the systems (roof, electrical, plumbing, foundation, structure) and the Structural Pest Inspection which covers things such as infestations and dry rot. If a buyer does not already have an inspector they like, we will recommend someone we trust, we will be there for the inspection, we will review the inspection report with our clients, and depending on the findings we will advise a course of action. My partner Anja and I have discovered this past year that these two inspections are not always enough. The last thing we want is for our clients to move into their new home only to discover six months, a year, two years later that there was an unseen problem with the house! We started to hear stories of just that happening; buyers move in and some time later their sewer backs up and their homes are flooded! Of course not every disaster can be foreseen, but our goal is be as diligent as possible during the escrow period so that there are as few surprises later as possible.

The third inspection we have advised our clients to have is the video inspection performed by plumbing companies. The plumbing company comes out with a video camera that they snake down into the pipes; they can see things like tree roots growing into the pipes that may not be a problem now but surely will be a problem sometime in the future. They can also see if there are cracks in the old clay pipes, which many homes have. Replacing sewer lines can be expensive so if it is caught during the escrow period you may be able to get some help from the seller. Anja and I have run into this problem twice in the past few months; the first time the seller actually had the sewer line fixed during the escrow period, and the second time the sellers agreed to leave money behind for the problem to be fixed after the sale. There are a couple of clear indicators that will let you know if you need this inspection. One is that it may be recommended in your home inspection; do take those recommendations for further inspections seriously. Another indicator is if there is a large tree growing right outside your house close to the sewer line. There is a wonderful plumbing company in San Francisco; do contact them if you need an inspection or a quote.
San Francisco Plumbing Company is one of those rare companies where the best may also be the least expensive!

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