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8 Plumbing Questions You Should Ask Before Buying an Older Home

The other day I was having coffee with my best friend, who was telling me all about the home her family put an offer on.

"The home is older, but we absolutely love it," she said. "It has 3 bedrooms, but there is a bathroom and second living room in the basement."

"That sounds wonderful," I said. "Did you ask if they have flooding issues in their basement?"

"Well, no," she said. "I didn't think to ask about flooding."

Often times, when we are buying a new home we get caught up in the bigger details of the home. We focus on the number of bedrooms, the number of bathrooms, the kitchen layout, and the backyard details.

However, plumbing facts about the home often get overlooked, especially if the home has the perfect patio or largest walk-in closet.

"I would ask about the flooding," I said. "See if they have a sump pump and ask how old it is too. It'd be great if they had a newer sump pump and a battery-powered back-up sump pump!"

"I didn't even think about these type of plumbing questions," she said. "Maybe I should bring you along at the next showing."

That's when this blog post came to life in my head. I realized there are many first-time home buyers out there who need some guidance around the type of plumbing questions to ask when they buying a new home.

Below is a list of 8 plumbing questions you should ask your realtor when purchasing a new home:

1. Has the sewer line been replaced? If not, ask for a camera inspection. You're looking for any root clogs, leaks in the pipe, and other types of clogs from products (tampons, wipes, etc.) that should not be flushed down the toilet.

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2. Has the original exterior water line been replaced? If so, when?

3. Have the interior water lines been replaced? If so, when?

4. Do the pipes tend to freeze in the winter? If so, which pipes and how did the homeowners thaw them?

5. Does the home have a sump pump? If not, you may want to consider adding in the cost of installing a new sump pump for the home. If the home is on a crawl space or basement, ask about flooding issues.

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6. How old is the water heater? If the water heater is older than 7 years, you may want to include the cost of installing a new water heater. If it's less than 6 years old, check on the warranty to see when it expires. Don't forget water heater regulations recently changed, so installing a new water heater could get very pricey if the space isn't big enough.

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7. Does the home have a water softener? If a water softener is important to you, ask your local plumbing company for an estimate to install one.

8. Is there anything else you should know about the overall plumbing inside and outside of the home? Don't leave any questions or issues left on the table.

Hopefully these plumbing questions give you some inspiration about what to ask when touring a home you'd love to purchase.

Have you purchased a new home lately? What plumbing questions do you wish you would have asked the homeowner or realtor?

Share your comments on this blog post or on Twitter @hopeplumbing. Happy home buying!

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