Author Topic: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)  (Read 6242 times)

HappierAtHome

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Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« on: September 28, 2015, 06:23:49 PM »
We've spent the last month fixing up a flat to sell. My partner has owned it for eight years. Our city is HCOL, but it's currently a buyers' market with 'days on market' rising steadily and a serious oversupply of apartments in the same suburb as ours. We've done a lot to fix it up (mostly sweat equity, but also a new oven, vanity etc) so that it will be at the higher end of the quality spectrum for its price range. This is not so we can expect it to sell for significantly more than comparable properties (it's not that kind of market right now, sadly) but instead so that it will sell relatively quickly. Another flat in the same building as ours has sat on the market for the last few months with no real interest; however it has the original twenty-year-old kitchen, bathroom etc compared to our place which has been renovated, so our real estate agent doesn't think they're directly comparable.

After having done all the grunt work to get it ready, we noticed that the tap in the kitchen has started dripping. Not just an occasional drip: it's a fast drip which I think is pretty obvious. The problem I'm seeing (and the reason why we've put in such an effort to fix up the property) is that in such an oversupplied market, buyers can be extremely picky if they want to and even a minor issue like a dripping tap could be enough for them to pick another apartment over ours.

My concern is not price but simply getting offers in at this stage. I believe it would be fairly easy for us to fix or replace the tap but my partner has DIY-fatigue and isn't sure whether fixing it would be worth the effort.

If a property was otherwise fine / slightly better than standard in the market, and priced appropriately, but had a dripping tap, would you even bother putting in an offer? (Bearing in mind that there's an oversupply of this property type in this location, so you're spoilt for choice!).

Brilliantine

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2015, 06:39:24 PM »
Even if I made an offer, I'd ask for the tap to be fixed before closing the sale.

realityinabox

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2015, 06:42:22 PM »
I would still buy it, but I would probably devalue it somewhat, even if only subconsciously.  I see a leaky faucet and think "what else might be leaking?", then make a slightly lower offer.  The fear of the unknown may make me bid $5k less, because what if there are major plumbing issues?  What if other pipes are leaking and there are mold issues?  What if ...

This would be a very interesting social experiment.  One that would be very hard to control all the variables of, but I'd love to know the real dollar value effect of a single leaky faucet on selling prices.  I'd imagine that it is a 10x multiplier on actual cost/effect to fix (unless you happen to sell to a handy diy-er) due to the irrational ways humans determine value.

« Last Edit: September 28, 2015, 06:44:02 PM by realityinabox »

Telecaster

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2015, 06:47:32 PM »
Why not just replace the washer?   

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2015, 06:58:41 PM »
Not fixing this creates doubt in a buyer's mind about other defects.  It's a cheap and relatively easy fix.  Do it ASAP.

Argyle

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2015, 07:00:14 PM »
You do not have to replace the tap just replace the washer.  It will take 10 minutes.  No reason not to do it.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2015, 07:12:30 PM »
You do not have to replace the tap just replace the washer.  It will take 10 minutes.  No reason not to do it.

Everyone is making this sound very easy - is it something we can do ourselves after watching a few youtube videos?

It's a mixer tap (turn one way for hot and one for cold, kinda like this: http://www.bunnings.com.au/caroma-wels-4-star-midas-sink-mixer_p5001222 if that changes anything).

Even if we DID have to get a plumber in, I suspect that would still be cheap and easy enough to be worth it. I don't want something minor to put people off.

Le Poisson

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2015, 07:54:55 PM »
Yeah - fix the tap. Seriously it s 30 minute job max. Will cost about $15-$30 if its a cartridge type or $0.25 if its a washer.

If you want to go really spendy/upscale replace the whole faucet.  Still under an hour to swap one out, but you'll be spending $50 - $300 depending on what style you buy. Check your Habitat for Humanity store and see if they have any for cheaper than just the cartridge.

Don't point your finger at your partner too quick - as you pointed out these simple things are all over Youtube, and either one of you could do it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7e2bIfP8Us

« Last Edit: September 28, 2015, 07:58:39 PM by Prospector »

HappierAtHome

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2015, 08:00:52 PM »
Don't point your finger at your partner too quick - as you pointed out these simple things are all over Youtube, and either one of you could do it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7e2bIfP8Us

He's definitely on the hook for this one, he works a ten minute walk from the flat whereas I'm an hour's journey away :-) so it's definitely going to be him who does this particular job. But I appreciate the vote for gender equality there.

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2015, 10:55:46 AM »
This is an easy fix, and even non-handy people could probably handle it.  I've done at least 10 over the years - different taps, different companies, but never took more than about 20 minutes.  For context, I'm a 60-something woman, with basic DIY skills.

As a buyer, if I saw something that could be fixed so easily not fixed, it would definitely make me wonder what else has not been attended to that I don't see.

index

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2015, 11:28:13 AM »
You could just turn off the water to the faucet before a showing...

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2015, 11:51:06 AM »
You could just turn off the water to the faucet before a showing...

I always turn on the taps when I'm seriously looking at a house.

zephyr911

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2015, 08:01:37 PM »
Do not under any circumstances show this property with a dripping faucet.

Even if you had to pay retail, this would be worth fixing. Picky buyers will turn away. Smart ones will ask for far more of a discount than the cost of fixing it. You said it yourself, buyers' market. Don't hand them even more advantages.

K-ice

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2015, 10:07:17 PM »
Yes I would buy a house with a dripping tap. I bought one with a plunger in the tub. Really!? Do the realtors not do a walk thru & at least clean up that crap.

But I would not sell a house with a dripping tap for all the reasons mentioned above.


Shane

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2015, 12:51:49 PM »
Just fix it. It's not hard.

YouTube has videos on how to fix everything. Just type in the brand of faucet, and you'll find a video that shows you how to troubleshoot the problem, what parts you need to buy and how to fix it.

Recently one of our bathroom faucets was leaking pretty badly. I procrastinated for a long time, but when I finally took it apart and looked at it, it turned out all it needed was for the nut to be tightened. It took me <2 minutes, and the problem was fixed.

Seriously, in less time than it's taken you to post this on MMM, you could've fixed the problem with your sink, even counting your one hour "journey" back and forth to the apartment. :)

Good luck!

Cpa Cat

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2015, 12:58:06 PM »
Just fix it. Watch a youtube video or Google some instructions.

I have zero plumbing experience. But my confidence was bolstered after teaching myself how to fix the innards of a toilet tank, so I decided to tackle a dipping faucet.

It took me maybe an hour start to finish. And only that long because I had to go to the hardware store to buy a kit. We're talking an hour from looking at the faucet and wondering if it was something I could fix, to done with no drip.

It's not that a dripping faucet is the one defect that would turn me away from a house - it's that when you spot one thing wrong that would be easy to fix and the owner hasn't bothered to fix it, you wonder what else they haven't fixed.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2015, 01:00:31 PM by Cpa Cat »

GuitarStv

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2015, 01:12:19 PM »
Super easy, and very cheap thing to fix.  If you're paying more than a thousand dollars for a house, a leaky tap shouldn't even register as something to worry about.

Le Poisson

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2015, 01:19:26 PM »
Super easy, and very cheap thing to fix.  If you're paying more than a thousand dollars for a house, a leaky tap shouldn't even register as something to worry about.

Except that in a HCOL area, that tap will cost her $10K easy. It just reflects poorly. If I come into a place and little things like that are out of place, I'm hunting for what big things they are hiding. The house is devalued not because of the tap, but because of the impression it leaves.

zoltani

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2015, 02:12:17 PM »
I have no experience with this type of thing but fixed my leaky tap in about 15 minutes. Very easy!

HappierAtHome

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2015, 07:46:07 PM »
Thanks to everyone who posted, especially Prospector for the very helpful link. We watched that video several times while attempting to fix the tap.

So we did attempt to fix it ourselves. Unfortunately it appears that the entire internal workings of the tap have seized up and can't be taken apart, and it will require special tools to remove the entire tap from the sink so it can be replaced (without damaging the sink, surrounds etc). Bit of a toss-up between buying the tools and enjoying the sharp learning curve / gaining the skills, and just hiring a plumber, but in the end we've decided that given all the variables including timeframe before we expect potential buyers to be coming through, this is one issue where we're happy to buy in some outside expertise.

On the plus side, at least we tried to fix it ourselves first and only called a plumber after learning that it was a bigger issue than we were prepared for, AND the BF did fix the tap at our new house this week. So over all we've gained some skills and experience.

Do not under any circumstances show this property with a dripping faucet.

No stress to everyone who was worried about this. We don't have any showings for the property until Sunday, by which time it will be well and truly fixed/replaced.

We did *know* we should just fix the damn tap... but DIY fatigue was getting the better of us and it was just one more thing after completely redoing almost every other part of this flat over the last month with minimal assistance/purchased services. We've learned a lot through this process.

zephyr911

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2015, 08:41:07 PM »
In retrospect, my phrasing was probably a bit dramatic, even comical.

If it were my deal, and I were short on time, I'm pretty sure I could have a pro do it for about $90 while I was working on other stuff.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2015, 03:50:19 AM »
The plumber had to CUT COPPER PIPES to get the old tap out.

Feeling okay about our failure at doing this ourselves!! No way we knew how to do that.

Le Poisson

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2015, 05:09:03 AM »
The plumber had to CUT COPPER PIPES to get the old tap out.

Feeling okay about our failure at doing this ourselves!! No way we knew how to do that.

Good job knowing when you were in too deep. Next time you have plumbing issues, pay my airfare and I'll come fix it for you. :)

Anatidae V

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2015, 06:48:26 AM »
As a buyer in this market, although not of your place... Glad you got the tap fixed. The one we're renting recently was fixed by the plumber and they had to actually replace the whole mixer as well (though no cutting of pipes).

babysteps

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2015, 08:24:55 AM »
The plumber had to CUT COPPER PIPES to get the old tap out.

Feeling okay about our failure at doing this ourselves!! No way we knew how to do that.

Yay, done is priceless even with a plumber's bill!  Best wishes on  your showings.

Next time, if you aren't in quite such a time crunch, and the faucet isn't fused to the sink.... Cutting copper pipes is actually not so bad (the simplest tool costs about US$5), and if local code allows you can use compression fittings (US$4-15 per, depending on what you need for the ones that don't require tools) and pex - it isn't really too bad!  But this job definitely has a "3 trips to the hardware store" potential for a DIYer without experience and/or tools.

Of course if you can practice on pipes in a basement with a dirt floor so you have little risk of hurting anything, that helps.  Maybe someone could open a "plumber practice zone" business with lots of random old plumbing installs and charge people to practice plumbing ;)

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2015, 11:23:18 AM »
The plumber had to CUT COPPER PIPES to get the old tap out.

Feeling okay about our failure at doing this ourselves!! No way we knew how to do that.

Holy crap, how old was that faucet?

I had a 1950's era wash basin faucet that needed new washers every couple of months. The seat was rough and destroying the washers. I tried resurfacing the the seat and made it worse. Eventually replaced the ugly green washbasin with modern and clean white wash basin. But even then, I didn't have to cut any copper.

I agree with the other posters, replacing the washer, o-ring,  or cartridge in a modern faucet is almost always a no brainer 15 minute job. Usually the hardest part is making the sure you get the correct washer or cartridge at the home improvement store.

The typical complication are shut off valves that are frozen open. Ending up cutting copper is extra special unlucky.

Maybe now you've used up your bad luck and are due for some great luck selling the house quickly and at a great price.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #26 on: October 05, 2015, 05:20:02 AM »
The plumber had to CUT COPPER PIPES to get the old tap out.

Feeling okay about our failure at doing this ourselves!! No way we knew how to do that.

Holy crap, how old was that faucet?

...

Maybe now you've used up your bad luck and are due for some great luck selling the house quickly and at a great price.

Can't have been more than 23 years old, which was the age of the building! Is copper piping unusual in a building that age?

Hope you're right with the quick sale. We had the first home open yesterday and have one couple "seriously considering" putting in an offer, so my fingers are crossed.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Would you buy a house with a dripping tap? (HCOL, buyers' market)
« Reply #27 on: October 05, 2015, 05:23:15 AM »
The plumber had to CUT COPPER PIPES to get the old tap out.

Feeling okay about our failure at doing this ourselves!! No way we knew how to do that.

Yay, done is priceless even with a plumber's bill!  Best wishes on  your showings.

Next time, if you aren't in quite such a time crunch, and the faucet isn't fused to the sink.... Cutting copper pipes is actually not so bad (the simplest tool costs about US$5), and if local code allows you can use compression fittings (US$4-15 per, depending on what you need for the ones that don't require tools) and pex - it isn't really too bad!  But this job definitely has a "3 trips to the hardware store" potential for a DIYer without experience and/or tools.

I'm in Australia but I'm sure it can't be TOO different from the US, so I'll look into local regulations and the appropriate tools in case we come across it again.

The plumber had to CUT COPPER PIPES to get the old tap out.

Feeling okay about our failure at doing this ourselves!! No way we knew how to do that.

Good job knowing when you were in too deep. Next time you have plumbing issues, pay my airfare and I'll come fix it for you. :)

That could get expensive for me quickly!!
« Last Edit: October 05, 2015, 05:24:55 AM by HappierAtHome »