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Step 13: Schedule the Side Sewer Inspection

If you plan on buying a home in the Tacoma area of Puget Sound a side sewer inspection is vital for you to schedule during the inspection period. To start, what is a side sewer? A side sewer is the private connection or lateral sewer that carries waste water from residences and businesses to the city’s main sewer line where it then goes to a wastewater treatment plant. Side sewers almost always extend into the street.

Buildings constructed prior to 1980 most likely have side sewer pipes that are constructed of clay or concrete and over time these pipes can shift or crack, causing a blockage or leak in the pipe. The next thing you know, your sewage is backing up into your sinks, toilets, and sometimes even the bathtub! This isn’t only a health hazard but a highly expensive mess as well. A simple inspection of this will save you a lot of time and money in the long run, especially if you plan on investing in a new home.

A side sewer repair or replacement can range anywhere from $5000-$15,000. This is something you definitely do not want to deal with after just purchasing your new home. Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of the side sewer from the home to the main sewer line. This is why you as the potential buyer need to get a side sewer inspection before you purchase the home because it will still be the seller’s responsibility to repair the side sewer.

You as the potential buyer can do some preliminary research about the side sewer on the property you are interested in. You can ask the current owner if they have had any problems with slow draining plumbing fixtures or if they have noticed any back ups. You can also ask them if they have had any repairs or inspections on the side sewer recently. The city of Tacoma will have some permits, but not for all of the properties in Tacoma. This may be a good place to start as well.

However, it is highly recommended that you as the buyer have a side sewer inspection completed on the property that you are under contract with if it is in the Tacoma area. If a problem with it does come up, you will be happy you caught the issue now instead of after you purchased your new home and you have to spend thousands of more dollars on it then you intended to do.

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