Author Topic: Please stop DIYing the shit out of the home you want to sell - and a plumbing Q  (Read 18632 times)

Rural

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I would calm down and relax.  Even if plumbing turns out to be expensive to fix, it likely won't even cost 1% of your purchase price.  If you can afford the house, 1% of purchase price is not a calamity in any way...

Good advice.  I had a $20k (on a 100k house) plumbing issue where DIY wasn't even involved...

That's insane. I completely replaced the waste and supply lines on a small 2 bathroom house for under a grand. What happened that cost you 20K?

I had to replace a large run of the waste lines on a concrete slab house.  Bonus: the leaky waste lines were in expansive clay soil, causing the foundation to heave.  I had to have 30-something piers added to stabilize the foundation. 

That cost didn't include the repairs FROM the repairs.... i.e. replacing/repairing interior flooring and exterior patio.


So what caused the waste lines to leak? Because me, my slab, and my clay want to Not Do that, whatever it was.

Any combo of:
* it was 30 years old.  Cast iron. The bottom rusted out of it.
* probably had a low spot in it
* this house was somewhat poorly built in a housing boom by a GC that was funded by "daddy" building his first house
* it had previous foundation work that might have shifted the plumbing to no longer drain correctly
* this was the drain line from the kitchen.  Dish washer soap is extremely caustic... especially if it is sitting in a puddle in cast iron for 30 years

all of this... not DIY work, I might add.

The "leak" was 15 feet long.  Imagine an upside down U made of iron.  That was my drain line.

if you're so inclined:
entire project: http://picasaweb.google.com/101796115660518474565/Foundation?authuser=0&feat=directlink
or just jump to the drain pipe:  http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/1hKZ45JJjAkVyLijs8DHI9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink


Geeze Louise. You got off easy for $20k there. Looks like you did it right and left the place far better for it.


None of the relevant issues apply here, I'm happy to say.

fh2000

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I am not very handy myself, but I was forced to fix a lot of stuff around my house.

When we bought our house 24 years ago, the roof started to leak, dishwater stopped working, hot water tank leaked and back yard sprinkler broke, bathroom flooded, etc., all within 2-3 years.

I did not know how to fix any of these or prevent bad things from happening, so I always called someone from YellowBook, of hire someone knocking on our doors.   I got scammed or cheated out few times.  Due to frustration and being fed-up, I started to do work on my own.

Fast forward 20+ years, I can fix simple plumbing issues.  I redid the whole kitchen using IKEA material myself.  I face-lifted my 2 bathrooms.   Painted my house inside-out a couple of times, every 10 years or so.

I figure, any new homeowners buying old houses like mine should prepare themselves for some steep learning curve, and learn to do the work themselves.
 

alberteh

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To all out there regarding plumbing (and electrical, roofing and all other trades). It's fine if you do the repairs yourself on your own home. Please make sure what you are doing is correct and up to your local codes! A lot of times things are done a certain way for very good reasons which may not be immediately obvious.

It also does not hurt to call a local professional and ask him/her a few questions regarding your particular situation and even have them stop by to give you a general overview as long as they are paid for their time (they gotta eat too!). I am a plumber/gasfitter and probably twice a month a customer calls me over just to show them the proper way of doing something and then do it themselves. Since it's your house go ahead and work on it as long as it is a proper repair.

As to the OP i would not have given a quote to replace the problems i would have given an hourly rate and an estimate on time and materials. How can the plumber know what's in the pipes or the walls? can he see through walls? In that case the only recourse i have used before (when the customer demands a quote) is to price it as a worst case scenario to CYA for anything unforseen. unfortunately this usually ends up costing the customer more. Your best defense is usually to get a few quotes or hourly rates and ask around to see who has done a good job in the past. NOT a job done last month but one done a year or so ago to give time for any problems to crop up.

Dan_at_Home

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But please, pay kindness forward to anyone forking over half a million for your home that needs work in obvious ways. We have just discovered the not-so-obvious ways... and yes, I had a home inspection prior.

If you have Netflix watch "Holmes inspection".  Your house is not half as bad as what some people buy. 

One of the biggest problems I remember is from an episode where the previous owner of the house wanted an "open floor layout" for the ground floor.  They did a DIY project by taking out a wall by the kitchen to open up the downstairs.  The only problem is that the wall was load bearing.  Thus, the new owners (who just bought the house), started noticing over time that their second floor was bending inward and slowly sinking in the middle. 


AlanStache

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But please, pay kindness forward to anyone forking over half a million for your home that needs work in obvious ways. We have just discovered the not-so-obvious ways... and yes, I had a home inspection prior.

If you have Netflix watch "Holmes inspection".  Your house is not half as bad as what some people buy. 

One of the biggest problems I remember is from an episode where the previous owner of the house wanted an "open floor layout" for the ground floor.  They did a DIY project by taking out a wall by the kitchen to open up the downstairs.  The only problem is that the wall was load bearing.  Thus, the new owners (who just bought the house), started noticing over time that their second floor was bending inward and slowly sinking in the middle.

Would a potential buyer be able to request copies of city construction inspections of a property before buying?  I assume the above DIY was not inspected.  If the seller said the Open Concept was added in '08 but the city never heard of it = buyer running like the wind.  Could a potential buyer go to the city and get a copy of all inspections for the last 20 years? 



Dan_at_Home

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I have no idea, that might be something to ask your real estate agent or home inspector if you are considering buying a property right now.

tweezers

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Your title insurance might cover un-permitted remodels.  My mother was able to get money back on repairs she had to make to house she purchased where the issue was due to un-permitted work.  She's in Canada so I'm not sure if the same coverage exists in the US.  Good luck.

Elisabeth

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I humbly hang my head now and admit, in this update, that rather than spend $3200 on the recommendations from the insurance-provided plumber, we spent about $250 and DIY'd the DIY disaster. We figured we will address the sump issue later, as it is functional now and if/when we sell we can bring it up to code. It doesn't appear to be costing us the "80 to 90 bucks a month" that the plumber who wanted job [not covered by insurance] swore we were paying.

We bought a new wash tub pump which was about $200 or $250. I know $50 is no small matter to Mustachians, but compared to $3200 it seems like pennies.
We bought some PVC joints and pipes, and that glue stuff that holds it together.
We dismantled the pipes coming from the washer and actually salvaged a huge piece to reuse in the project, so we returned some stuff to home depot later.

By "we" I mean my husband.

The washer now empties into the utility sink, which has a new pump beneath it, and goes to the main line. Everything worked through the 19 loads of laundry that had piled up and I did consecutively. I was so happy everything seemed to be working, that I spent an hour cleaning the fancy HE front load washer we got with the house. It was stinky and dirty, but I gave it a whole new life of shiny happiness by running vinegar, then bleach through it, peeling back the rubber seal and cleaning out ALL the grime, and removing the soap tray and cleaning out all the stuff growing in there.

Thanks to the people who offered good advice, and especially to those who said the washer and sump weren't actually costing money so no reason to send to ground outside. You saved us almost 3 grand! Next project is upgrading from R -10 insulation in the attic.

Le Barbu

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Congratulation and thanks for he follow up. Everything turned exactly like I tought and you did the wright (Mustachian style) changes.

Good luck with the attic project, it worth every penny!

bacchi

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Any combo of:
* it was 30 years old.  Cast iron. The bottom rusted out of it.

Eeek. I fear when the cast iron pipes in my house go. Thankfully, it's a pier & beam so with luck it'll just be a lot of digging and only 1-2 piers that need replacing.