As you may have read about in our previous article, there is now a sewer lateral inspection requirement in unincorporated Santa Cruz County and Santa Cruz City before the close of escrow (in other words, before you sell your home).

If your home passes the inspection, that’s great news!

What if it does not pass? What about repairs?

In the County, any issues found in your sewer lateral during the inspection must be repaired before the close of escrow. You are free to negotiate with another party (i.e. the buyer) to cover the cost-to-repair, but in the County’s eyes, it is the seller’s responsibility and it must be done before the property is transferred to the new owner.

In the City, the responsibility to repair can be transferred to the buyer, but all repairs must be completed within 90 days after the close of escrow.

So what can go wrong with a Sewer Lateral, and how much will this cost you to fix?

The truth is, there are many issues that may come up during a sewer lateral inspection, and we cannot fit them all in this post. However, there are some issues that are common to this area, and we will cover those. For a more accurate estimate of the cost to repair your home’s sewer lateral, you may want to consider getting an inspection done before putting your home on the market. With some companies offering free inspections, you have nothing to lose!


Common Issues That Can Occur With Sewer Laterals


Common Issues that can arise with sewer lines include:

  • Broken or damaged pipes
  • Tree root infiltration
  • Sagging Pipes
  • Pipes that are clogged due to grease or other debris being put down the drain or flushed.

You can find explanations of these common issues in this article.

To give you an idea of what plumbers have been seeing locally in the Santa Cruz real estate market, we talked to a local plumber. He indicated that many of the properties that he’s seen so far require a couple of “spot” repairs – repairs to a section of the line. Typically, he sees sewer laterals that require 3 – 5 repairs, with the total cost coming out to $2,200 – $4,500. If a home needs a full line replacement, which is more common in older homes, the cost can range from around $10,000 – $37,000, with the average being around $14,000.

These numbers are just meant to serve as examples of the types of expenses you can expect if your sewer lateral does not pass the inspection. As mentioned above, we suggest getting an inspection done as soon as possible to find out how much these repairs will cost. This will empower you with information when you are ready to put your home on the market.

Contact us to find out how you can get a FREE sewer lateral inspection today: (831) 600-6550.



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