The Importance of Chimney and Sewer Inspections

Tuesday, June 9, 2015 | 7:32 pm

Over the past couple of years we in the Pasadena real estate community have seen chimney and sewer inspections become less of an exception and more of the rule. So much so that I think that “chimney and sewer” are the new “mold and asbestos” as far as real estate inspections go.

So how does it affect the sale of a home?

Typically when a chimney inspection is requested, there is almost always some sort of damage discovered. Some of the issues include mortar tuck pointing, cracks in the firebox, buildup of debris on the chimney shelf, improperly installed flues and more, all which could result in a fire in the chimney if not remedied.

The same goes for sewer line damage. While it is not as much of a safety issue, the majority of the time that a sewer line (the line that goes from the house out to the street) is inspected, some kind of damage is found. Both chimney and sewer inspections use a scope (camera) to run the length of either the chimney or the sewer lined and more often than not there is a problem.

These discoveries are usually hot button issues for buyers. They are typically reticent to buy a home where they could be facing major issues like these, unless the damages are repaired or credited for a repair. This situation could drastically affect a previously agreed upon sales price.

A few years ago, my partners and I represented a 4000-plus square foot home with five chimneys and the buyer requested that they all be inspected. The sellers had been using all of the fireplaces for years and to their complete surprise, the total estimate to repair damage was upwards of $50,000. As you can imagine this put a huge monkey wrench into the negotiations for the property condition contingency removal, and also put the buyer on edge.

For sellers, if there is any question as to the integrity of the chimney and/or sewer line, it is helpful to investigate these issues before listing the home. This allows sellers to head off any trouble down the road during the inspection contingency period. As a buyer, it may be a good idea to ask for these additional inspections if they are not already provided for you. These can be major ticket items that are not obvious to the naked eye and can often be overlooked.

In the end, as expensive and time consuming as it can be, all sellers and buyers should be aware of exactly what they are dealing with in terms of the condition of the home. This allows for a smoother transaction hence the Buyer Inspection Advisory that is included in every standard real estate contract. We as Pasadena real estate professionals are there to guide and advise, and we like to err on the side of caution, safety and the protection of our clients no matter which side of the transaction we are on.

Do you have any questions about what inspections should be performed when purchasing a home? Would you like to know anything about Pasadena and surrounding are real estate?

Partners Trust is located at 594 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. For more information, call (626) 696-4800 or visit or call Aason directly at (626) 399-4696.


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