House-hunting is a stressful process and in a seller’s market, there’s even more pressure. When homes are going fast, you may not have time to see a house a second time before you have to put in an offer. That makes it easy to overlook some big problems that can haunt you later.
But, for homebuyers in South Jersey, we’re here to help! Broadley’s plumbing team put together a list of five plumbing problem signs that you should watch for when looking at homes to buy.
We’ll go through each one and explain the problems that cause them. Meanwhile, if you have any questions about the plumbing in your South Jersey home, especially if you’re about to put it up on the market, call or email us at Broadley’s today.
Five Signs Of Plumbing Problems Homebuyers Should Watch For
- Water Stains
- Rusted Water Heater
- Soft, Spongy Grass
- Low Water Pressure
- Strange Smells
Watch for those telltale brown rings on walls and ceilings. There was once a leak behind there — and it may still be something going on now.
Make sure to check the ceilings below a bathroom on the next floor. These could mean anything from a one-time pipe problem to a slow leak or faulty toilet.
Of course, that only covers multiple-story homes. But, you can still notice those rings, or warped drywall or bubbling paint, in cape cods, ranches, and one-story houses. There’s a good chance you’d find leaks or broken or corroded pipes behind the walls.
Soft, Spongy Grass
As you walk around the house, take if the grass as if it recently rained, but everything else is dry. If you noticed soft, spongy ground when everything else is dry, you might have uncovered a serious problem with the septic system or main sewer line.
These components are buried deep underground, so there’s no way to check on them. You can look for telltale signs of a problem. But, once the issue is bad enough that you can notice from where you’re standing (literally), it’s probably pretty bad.
In the case of that soft, spongy ground: Water or sewage has been leaking from the tank or lines for quite some time — long enough that the moisture has permeated enough of the soil that you’re noticing it from the surface.
It’s tough to tell what the exact problem is here, but whatever it is, it’s going to be an expensive fix. There’s a lot of digging to be done before anyone even starts addressing the actual break.
Low Water Pressure
If you have the opportunity, flush a toilet, or run a sink for a little while during a showing. In the most extreme cases, you might notice a small leak right away. But, more likely, you’ll have enough time to notice low water pressure.
If the water doesn’t come out of the faucet as fast or forcefully as it should, you know something’s wrong with the system somewhere in the house.
Again, there are a lot of possibilities: A leak somewhere in the house. Problems with the water main or mainline coming into the house. Sediment buildup in the pipes. The list goes on.
Now, this could be a very small problem, especially if the home is unoccupied. The owner may have turned off the water or lowered the pressure for safety reasons. But it’s something worth following up on if you’re thinking about making an offer.
Sulfur, sewage, and egg-like scents are common signs of a problem with the plumbing. They’re certainly worth noting when you’re looking at a house, but they may not indicate anything severe enough to deter you from making an offer.
There’s plenty to say about each of these, but we’ll give a quick rundown: Eggy smells, especially from a kitchen sink, often means there’s a backup somewhere. If the hot water gives a slight sulfur smell, it could be a problem with the water heater. And, sewage could be a vent stack problem.
But, any of these could turn out to be mild. That’s especially so if the water’s been turned off or barely used for a while. Remember: sinks have U-traps underneath. They’re designed to always have water in them to block the sewer smells from the other side of the line.
If not one’s used a sink for months, that water can evaporate and let those pungent odors through. If that’s the case, the fix is as easy as running the water again to fill the trap.
What To Do About Plumbing Problems In A Home You Want To Buy
When the real estate market’s in a slump, you have the advantage as the prospective buyer. You can take your time looking at a house and see it more than once before making an offer. And, if there’s even a small problem, you can pass — it’s more likely you’ll find something better soon enough.
But, in a seller’s market, you have to act fast. But, that doesn’t mean rushing into a bad investment.
First, mention any concerns like this to your realtor as you’re seeing the house. If you’re interested in it, they’ll pull the seller’s disclosure, and you can see if there are any notes about prior problems.
In some cases, your realtor can ask the seller’s agent about the problem. In other cases, they may be able to provide an explanation.
And, keep in mind how serious a sign can be. For instance, water stains can often indicate an old problem that’s been fixed — you may see that on the disclosure. A foul smell may (or may not) be a simple fix. Or, the spongy ground outside usually indicates a much bigger problem.
Plumbing Services In Margate, NJ
If you suspect a problem in a property you own in Margate, NJ, or anywhere in South Jersey, don’t wait until it becomes worse — or makes it harder for you to sell your home! Call Broadley’s today for a consultation or service.