Profile picture for mzheng

Inspectors at homes with water turned off

I am having an inspection done on an REO home sometimes next week. The home first came onto the market in May of this year and has been vacant since then. The water has been turned off for months to winterize the home. The home's interior has been completely repainted and brand new carpet has been installed on both the main and 2nd floor.

How will an inspector check for leaks in the plumbing when the water has been turned off for months? I don't want any surprises when it comes to the plumbing because a leak would result in not just plumbing repair costs, but could potentially cause tens of thousands in mold damage. 
  • October 31 2013 - US
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Answers (9)

Mzheng

DON'T have the water turned on unless an agent is there to make sure the main shut off valve is turned off. 

Then - let the inspector turn it on.  If there are leaks it can be shut off immediately.  Otherwise  you could wind up with a flood and be responsible for damage done to the home.
  • November 02 2013
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With and REO purchase, you should have the water company turn on the water a minimum of two days prior to your inspection.  This should be sufficient time to have noticeable leaks discovered.  After your inspection, the bank may require you to have the water turned off and the home re-wintereized until closing.
  • November 01 2013
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Your Realtor should make the arrangement for the water to be turned on through the listing agent.  A foreclosure may require you to be responsible for the fees to turn it on and then shut if off again.
  • November 01 2013
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If you are really interested in this house, have the water turned on.
No matter what you have to do...I had a bad experience by not doing it
on a home purchase and found out later that there was a major issue
with the septic in the house and under the concrete floor in the
basement and outside under the deck.
Waited until the day of inspection and only flushed the commode a few
times it wasn't until later ( after the empty lines were filled up) that the
major back up started and by that time it was my baby to fix it.
House had been vacant for a few months also.

So once the water is turned on flush the commode as much as
possible to assure (if there is a problem) that the septic lines have
had a chance to fill up and the problem shows.
Other wise you may just be filling a slightly draining drain tube that
can handle small amount of water at a time but not a 'live in' condition.
-Joseph-
  • November 01 2013
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Often times a the listing agent will help a buyer make arrangements to turn on the water for a 2-3 day window in order to perform an inspection on the plumbing.  In some cases, an inspector may be willing to come back for free or for a low fee to inspect the plumbing portion of the home.

This allows you the flexibility of inspection all but the plumbing and then making the decision if you want to go any further before going through the trouble of getting the water temporarily turned on.
  • October 31 2013
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Profile picture for mzheng
Thanks for all the replies. 

Just because a home is sold "as is" doesn't mean that I should just gamble on the fact that the house may have plumbing issues right? If I found out the house does have plumbing issues during my DD period, I could always walk away. It could end up being a really expensive gamble. 
  • October 31 2013
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Hello Mxheng

Find out from your Realtor who to contact pertaining to the purchase of this home. Someone should be in charge for making sure the home has utilities for this type of inspection.

There are times when the home is sold "As Is" which would mean that you do not have the freedom to check for leaks before you buy. It would totally be your responsibility after you buy for any repairs needed.

You need to check this out before you make the purchase.

Steve Miller - Ultima Real Estate
  • October 31 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Phone the inspector and discuss this issue with her/him before the inspection so there are no surprises for you,  your client or the inspector.
  • October 31 2013
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Unfortunately, the inspector will only be able to check what he/she can see, so in the case of the plumbing...the inspector will visually check  the plumbing that he/she can access.  Clearly, this will not reveal anything that is not major or obvious.  In an REO property that I was recently evaluating for purchase, there was no electricity, so there's no way to check the appliances, HVAC or electrical system.  Short of going to the expense of having service connected by the utility, there's a big degree of buying a "pig in a poke" in these cases.

Good luck!
  • October 31 2013
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