You successfully have an offer accepted (congratulations!!) and the next steps start happening fast. The inspection contingency is generally around 7 days right now due to the speed of the market and the competitiveness of offers. We always recommend a home inspection, but we are seeing offers with no inspection and contingencies just to give buyers the competitive edge…. It is crazy!

The home inspector will run through all the ‘normal’ items, but you can have additional services (Radon test, mold tests, chimney scopes) – today I will talk about the exciting Sewer Scope, and why? Because shit happens!

Is A Sewer Scope Necessary?

Our team transact a lot of older homes in Minneapolis and St Paul so we use sewer scope services often as many of the homes are over 50 years old. Older homes have clay pipes, and these don’t last forever. The sewer lines which go from your home to the main line city sewer system are as old as the home. Sometimes the city will replace the main lines but the pipes from the main line to your home are the
homeowner’s responsibility (and cost to repair or replace).

First let’s cover what goes wrong. Lines can slowly build up deposits, or have tree roots penetrate the seams, this generally can be cleaned with blades to remove the blockages. Ground movement/settling can cause offsets or cracks leading to bigger collapses. If things go wrong the build up can push the issues into your basement, but that is minor… if you start leaking poopy water into your soil and surrounding area then things can get very costly to clean up.

Cost of Replacing a Sewer Line

If you need to replace a sewer line there are some options, none of which are cheap. Generally, my clients have replaced entire lines due to the cost/risk. The contractor will have to dig up your yard pull out the old pipe and put in the new one, replace the soil, etc. – the landscaping is down to you!

It is possible to replace just the broken sections or even inject linings into certain areas. The cost varies based on depth of line and the ease of the fix and type of fix but typically I see numbers ranging from $8,000 to $12,000 to replace lines.

The video scope is kind of interesting as you can see, make sure you have not eaten or get too grossed out as you see what you should expect to see in the sewer line… The video will generally start at the main line sewer in the street and indicate how many feet out this is.

The technician will then pull the camera back slowly stopping at issue areas all the way back to the home. The guys I work with mostly video the camera coming out of the drain and a quick view of the basement in order to show that this is the sewer line for the house/basement identified in the video.

A summary report is provided and link to video which your Realtor will review with you and then negotiate the cost and/or responsibility of any repairs with the seller’s agent if needed.

In Conclusion

A sewer scope costs around $200 and in my opinion is worth every penny (with older homes). It truly identifies issues that no one is normally aware of and can prevent costly surprises when you buy a home.

Written by: Francesco Marraffa