Real Estate Listing Error

Waste water from floor drain

When I arrived at the home for the inspection, I noticed a broken side sewer location stake lying near a large tree at the front yard. The house was built in the 1970’s. The street in front of this home had recently been paved and a new subdivision was built a few hundred feet away. It was fairly obvious that the sewer main was installed to serve the new subdivision. As with any sewer main extension, new side sewer stubs are installed for existing homes fronting the sewer main. The listing for this home stated “on sewer”.

It seemed odd that the stake would be lying in the yard and there was no evidence of trenching the side sewer to the house. The basement plumbing was well below grade and would likely require a lift “grinder” pump. There was no evidence of a pump inside or outside the house.

While inspecting the basement utility room, I found moisture stains on the walls and in a utility sink cabinet. The wet areas are shown in the image below as detected by thermal imagery.

After running the plumbing in the bathrooms above for about 30 minutes, I found the source of the moisture stains.

Waste water began to flow out of the floor drain into the utility room !

The Selling agent and Buyer contacted the local utility department and found that the home was still on septic. It was never determined if the cause of the waste water flowing from the floor drain was a clog in the house or related to the septic system. The buyer withdrew their offer. I was told that my client was reimbursed by the seller and/or listing agent for the cost of the inspection due to the listing error.

The connection of this home to the sewer system could easily exceed $20,000, not including the connection/latecomers fees.