Home Selling in Oakland>Question Details

judy.riccio, Home Seller in Oakland, CA

Do I need to get my sewer inspected when selling my house in the Oakland Hills? I there any other special things I need to do to sell it?

Asked by judy.riccio, Oakland, CA Fri Mar 8, 2013

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Hi Judy,

Well, you sure picked the best time in years, to consider selling your home! As you probably know, inventory is extremely low, buyers are highly motivated and qualified, and prices are rapidly rising. We don't know how long this trend will continue, but this is certainly a fantastic time to sell!

As my colleagues have pointed out, all real estate transactions in Oakland now require the sewer lateral compliance certificate to be issued by EBMUD: http://www.eastbaypsl.com. Generally, the seller will get the work done, if necessary, however, it is perfectly legal to allow the buyer to take this on as well. I would discuss the options with your realtor. If the buyer takes on the responsibility, they will have up to four months to get this done, if an extension is granted, with their deposit of $4,500. The Title Company will not allow the sale to close escrow without either the certificate or extension from EBMUD.

I would not get any inspections/pre inspections on your property without first consulting with your realtor. While inspections are advisable, it is important to make sure you are getting quality, respected inspectors, that the buyers and buyer's realtors will respect. For instance, a Home Inspection is a great thing to have, as it covers all house systems: however, while there are some outstanding inspectors, there are some who are not good at all, and realtors representing buyers will likely advise their clients that the lesser quality ones are useless.. and they will get their own inspections. Also, it is important to know that Home Inspectors are not licensed in California. There is minimal regulation, all the more reason to be sure to get an experienced, quality inspector known and respected by the real estate community. That person should at least have the ASHI membership, American Society of Home Inspectors.

A structural Pest report would be important to have, and many realtors would say this is the one report worth spending money on. Again, you want to be sure to hire a respected company, so realtors showing your property to prospective buyers will have the confidence to say, you, the seller, got a very good, dependable company.

Those are the two basic inspections, and then if a home inspector recommends further inspection by a specialist, for particular system problems, that might be advisable.

I am more than happy to speak with you about all of this, and also provide a list of experienced, great inspectors and vendors.

Good luck, and best wishes,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 8, 2013
I ran into this selling my property last year in Oakland. It's a nice way the city does not have to pay to get it done. Upon leaving 5 homes on my block had previously sold . If I buy again most defenately not in Oakland, I'm sure not in California. Regulations are getting more and more not on the side of home ownership
Flag Mon Jul 6, 2015
Great info Ellen!
Flag Fri Mar 8, 2013
It would be a good idea to have it inspected. If I were you I'd talk to my realtor, but most buyers what to know the condition of all those different aspects of the house. A house is a big investment after all. http://www.waltersenviro.com/drain-sewer-line-cleaning.html
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 30, 2015
Testing/inspection/repair/replacement of sewer lateral is negotiable between the buyer and the seller.

The bottom line is that it must be done...and if not done by close of escrow, it can be done within 180 days after close of escrow. But someone must apply for the extension. I have a triplex in escrow, and the buyers have agreed to take responsibility for the sewer lateral. So the sellers didn't have to do it.

See provisions of the program -- see http://www.eastbaypsl.com/eastbaypsl/extension.html

T2. Complete and sign Time Extension Certificate
The Time Extension Certificate must be completed and signed by the applicant prior to title transfer. Either party in the transaction or their representatives can apply. The Time Extension Certificate must state who will receive the funds when compliance is achieved and include a mailing address for the refund recipient.

T3. Mail Time Extension Certificate and $4,500 to EBMUD
Upon title transfer, the applicant must mail the completed Time Extension Certificate and a check for $4,500 made payable to EBMUD-PSL. The check must include the parcel number. The $4,500 will be released to the designated party when compliance is achieved.

Mail to: EBMUD-PSL Remittance Center
PO Box 24055
Oakland, CA 94623
T4. Get the $4,500 Refund
EBMUD automatically mails the refund to the party stated on the Time Extension Ceritificate if compliance is met within 180 days.

The other mandates are for water heaters to be secured/strapped, and for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to be installed.

In some areas, such as Alameda, we also require installation of automatic gas cut off valve.

If you are working with a realtor, she may have some recommendations regarding whom you can use to take care of these. If not, let me know and I'll be happy to recommend some resources.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 8, 2013
Great answers below.

You can do research here at the source: the East Bay Regional Private Sewer Lateral Program
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 8, 2013
Hi Judy:
The short answer is Yes. The long answer is that you should ask your real estate agent of all other "legal requirements" when selling a house in Oakland, and all the not necessary legal, but for sure good things to do before selling the house. Specifically the things that would improve value,
Let me know if you need help with that.
Antoine, Broker Associate and investment adviser.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 8, 2013
Hi Judy,

Yes unfortunately. If you're putting your home on the market you need to be aware of the new sewer lateral inspection ordinance that went into effect January of 2012. I've actually written a blog that might be helpful for you & address what this sewer lateral ordinance means as a buyer or seller...


In regards to getting an inspection completed most agents in Oakland will refer you to Plumbing Ministry as they tend to do the inspection for free, at least they will through a referral or coordination with an agent.

As far as whether it makes sense to replace the sewer lateral or pass it on to the buyer, it really depends upon your personal financial situation. It's certainly not uncommon to have the buyer take on the sewer lateral extension/bond/replacement. Generally, sellers receive the highest price & best terms though when there is little for any buyer to do thus widening the pool of buyers who could possibly purchase the property. But this doesn't always translate to the highest net amount for you as a seller.

I can walk you through the process & fill any gaps that may not make sense to you. Feel free to call me to discuss. Hope to hear from you.


Michael Braillard
Caldecott Properties | REALTOR
925.570.7099 Cell
510.594.2400 Office
510.594.2424 Fax
Dre Lic. 01369899
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 8, 2013
Hi Judy,

Yes, if you are selling a home in Oakland the sewer lateral needs to obtain a Compliance Certificate before transferring title by either passing a water/ air pressure test or fixing the sewer line, if necessary, and then having an EBMUD inspector witness the PSL verification test (an air or water pressure test of the PSL). The buyer and or you may negotiate who will obtain the Compliance Certificate. Alternatively, you may request a Time Extension Certificate which provides an additional six months for obtaining a Compliance Certificate. If the work is to be completed after the close of escrow either you or the buyer will need to put up a deposit of $4500 to EBMUD which will be refunded after the work is complete and certified.

I would recommend you have it tested and then fixed if needed prior to putting it on the market; if you are capable of coming up with the money and you are not doing a short sale.

You can get more details from the link below:


I would also recommend that you complete a pest report prior to putting it on the market. A Natural Hazard Report and Preliminary Title Report will also be needed; but your Realtor should be able to help you out with all these items when preparing your house for sale.

Best of Luck!

Simone Hoover
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 8, 2013
My best answer is to find a good Realtor who will guide you through the process. There is a lot to think about. The sewer lateral is but one small piece.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 8, 2013
You might consider a home inspection, termite inspection, sewer inspection, and roof inspection.
The home inspector might advise other tradespeople if he sees a problem. If you have a Realtor, he will provide a list of inspectors, etc. The inspections are helpful to the Seller as well as the Buyer in
determining value. Good luck.
Victor Fierro
Alain Pinel Realtors
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 8, 2013
I work with a company that provides free sewer inspection and provides a DVD of the inspection as well. It's always good to do inspections on your house. The buyer will - so you dot want surprises. I live in Montclair - so very familiar with your area. Please contact me.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 8, 2013
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