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.
Grace Morioka, SRES
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, CA
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.
That needs a permit prepared by licensed plumbers,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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)
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.