Home Buying in 95130>Question Details

PokerPal, Home Buyer in Milpitas, CA

Making an offer without knowing the type of plumbing used

Asked by PokerPal, Milpitas, CA Mon Apr 5, 2010

My wife and I are about to make an offer on a property for which the type of plumbing is unknown to us. We are doing our best to find out this information before the offer, because we would like the house to have copper piping, and if it doesn't, we would definitely need to repipe it before we move in. My question is, if we end up having to make an offer without this information, how should we adjust our purchase price and/or contingencies? Does anyone have any idea on how much repiping would cost for a 1500 square feet, 1-story home with 2 bathrooms?

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Hello Poker and thanks for your post.

Depending on the age of the home, you may have copper or you may galvanized pipe. If there is a hose bib on the outside of the home, look at the pipe going into the house. If there is a dielectric sleeve near the front of the home, you may have copper behind the galvanized pipe and hose bib. If there is copper in the home, you may actually see the copper pipe sticking out of the walls at the hose bib, at the intake to the water heater, under the sinks at the gate valves, and in the garage going toward any fixtures there.

As for pricing to repipe a galvanized home with copper, a 1500 square foot home with two bathrooms, 1 kitchen faucet, 1 water heater, and 1 garage sink cost a client recently about $3500 to repipe, but this was for a home on a raised foundation. If the pipes in the home in which you are deciding to purchase are embedded in concrete in a concrete slab, I would wait until the pipes broke or began to leak since removing or repiping these will require cracking up the concrete slab to remove the pipes and then repouring a new slab floor.

Good luck!!

Grace Morioka, SRES
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, CA
Email: GraceAreaProRealty@att.net
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 5, 2010
Oh gosh, it depends on the the house, is it on slab? Are the pipes accessible? Your agent should have some plumber references for you. When we re piped our house it was about $4,000. But each house is different.

It's too bad that the seller didn't prepare an inspection to help you through this. Your agent should help you with your contingencies as well. That is their job.
Web Reference: http://www.terrivellios.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 5, 2010

Generally speaking if you have the inspection reports handy, it may mention the type of pipes in there.

How you adjust for it may depend on how much competition you are up against.

Kind regards,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 13, 2014
Similar properties resulted in paying around $3,000. The Cu piping material varies. Workmanship of brazing varies. Some work is so bad in about 5 years the joint shows signs of corrosion.

That needs a permit prepared by licensed plumbers,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 12, 2014
You have 17 days in the standard purchase contract to inspect the property to your liking. Why not get the offer accepted and then inspect the plumbing?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 9, 2014
Determining whether or not you have copper piping isn't "rocket science." Generally, it's a pretty good indication of what you can expect by looking at the exposed pipes in as many areas of the house as possible: under sinks, washing machine, hot water heater, attic, cellar, etc.

By knowing where and what to look for you should be able to enter a purchase offer with the comfort of knowing whether or not you have copper piping.

You could also consider asking the listing agent. They should be willing to take your request back to the owner for their input.

2010....Oh my!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 9, 2014
Normally, an offer is made based on the SOLD comps for your area. When an offer is presented to the seller from the buyer there is a contingency period.

Normally 17 days from the date of acceptance. (CA. Residential Purchase Agreement.)

During that time, the buyer has the right to investigate the property. A licensed plumber can determine the type of materials used for the pipes, he will also put a camera down the pipes and sewer to examine the condition of the existing lines and give an estimate to replace with copper piping at that time.

In addition,the plumbing inspector will prepare a plumbing report. That report may be submitted to the seller with a ''REQUEST TO REPAIR OR CREDIT" The seller can opt to remedy any leaks or clogs at that time.
OR the seller may opt to NOT repair.
The buyer can decide if they want to move forward based on the "Response" from the seller.
This is the time frame for all inspections, during an escrow or pending sale.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 9, 2014
Give me specifics.

How old is the home? Any home built after 1961 may already be copper tubing.

Is the house on a raised foundation (crawl space) or a concrete slab-on-grade? A raised foundation is usually less expensive. No one breaks concrete any more. Re-piping will be done overhead (in the attic).

Does it have to be copper? PEX is a great product and approved in California now.

Are the bathrooms back-to-back? That would mean less water piping.

How far away is the water heater from the kitchen and bathrooms?

Take a photo of the incoming water piping and an angle stop (shut-off valve) under a sink. Those photos will tell me what kind of pipes are in the walls.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
Either you or your Agent can request this information from the Seller before writing your offer. If no copper, just call any reputable plumber and give them the beds and baths configeration, plus square footage of the house and request verbal estimate for installing it.
If already installed, make sure your Home Inspector verifies it and ensure it is a complete instalation done to code.
Can you explain why this is such an important issue for you? This type of concern is just one of many similar situations that are very routine parts of the buying process and simply dealt with through the Seller disclosure, and Buyer inspection processes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 5, 2010
Dear Poker,
If the home is new, there might be copper plumbing, but for older homes it is unlikely that you will find anything other the galvanized. Your best bet would be to contact a plumber to get an estimate on a whole house repipe, but I can tell you...it will be expensive. The pipe itself is costly.Tearing out old pipes and installing copper plumbing in a 1,500-square-foot 2-bedroom 1-1/2-bath home could cost $10,000-$25,000 or more, depending on location and factors such as the size and condition of the crawl space under the home or the amount of wall to be torn out.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 5, 2010
Your Realtor should be able to call the listing agent and find out for you. A couple of phone calls is all it should take to get your answer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 5, 2010
Hi PokerPal,

You should just be able to ask. Call the listing agent if you are not represented to make an informed offer. The less confusing you can make your offer the more likely you will have for it being accepted with minimal counters. If you do not have an agent already, give me a call and I would be happy to assist you.

Cappy D. Myers
DRE: 01767062
Web Reference: http://www.TimelineRES.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 5, 2010
Poker -

Call Don with Giant Plumbing he can give you a ball park over the phone with knowing how many faucets/baths/etc and square footage. Great team, he has piped several homes for clients and they have all been very pleased.


0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 5, 2010
To make life easier, talk with the sellers of your concerns, then go get an estimate. It doesn't seem like you are willing to pass on the house if the copper plumbing is non-existent.

A contingency placed on the offer IRT copper will be somewhat confusing since you are still interested in purchasing the property. If you are not currently working with an agent, please feel free to contact me directly so I may assist you. If done correctly, you could possibly get a credit or price reduction, but I don't have enough information to make a call on it. Speak with you soon. (408) 863-3179

Carlos Rafael Cruz
REALTOR | DRE# 01865777

Intero Real Estate Services
12900 Saratoga Avenue
Saratoga, CA 95070

+1 (408) 242-4011 (Cell)
+1 (408) 863.3179 (Office)
+1 (408) 877.1595 (Fax)

eMail: realtor@carlosrafaelcruz.com
Site: http://www.CarlosRafaelCruz.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 5, 2010
The house is on a concrete slab with crawspace to reach all the pipe work.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 5, 2010
Ask your Realtor.

A number of options come to mind. The first is making your offer contingent on the existence of copper plumbing.

The second is making your offer on the assumption that it's not copper plumbing and lowering your offer sufficiently to compensate for the cost of replumbing. (No, I don't know how much it would cost. But a good plumbing company in your area should be able to tell you.)

Plus, can't you just go over and look? Is there any exposed piping? What type of pipe leads into or out of the hot water heater? Is there some sort of door that opens opposite the bathtub to provide access to plumbers? Your Realtor also might pull up other listings in the same development and see if there's any mention of type of plumbing. That won't be foolproof, but it'd be unlikely that 30 other homes would be built with copper pipe but that yours would be built with plastic.

So: Check with your Realtor.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 5, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
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