There is a new wrinkle in home inspections in the Twin Cities, and it’s in your sewer.

This past month, three buyers requested to scope the sewer line in addition to a whole house inspection. It was news to me, not a common practice in Minneapolis.

The first encounter was with an inexperienced inspector who told the buyers that the line was clogged, it should be cleaned and scoped because it could cost them $35K-$45K if it has cracks. The buyers panicked, and after hyperventilating for a few minutes, I researched what the numbers would be in a worst case scenario. Then I asked the inspector where he got those numbers.

“A plumber told me,” he responded. Did you get an estimate in writing? No. Did you have work done? Do you know anyone who did? No. He quoted almost 10x what it could be and terrified the buyers.

A 2nd encounter happened after the seller accepted an offer. The selling agent called me to say that they hired a sewer company and asked if my seller wants to go ahead and have them clean the line since they were already there.

NO. The inspection contingency was NONINVASIVE. We have no idea who that company is, that they were hired for an invasive inspection, if the drain needs to be routed, or what the cost might be.

In another instance, the buyer requested permission. We agreed. After the inspection, I received a lengthy email stating that they were only able to inspect 15 feet. They requested that the seller provides a 2nd inspection out to 45 feet with video on CD sent to the buyers to assure them that there would be no repairs required in the future. He included a Wikipedia description of Orangeburg even though it wasn’t cited as a problem, and a phot of the drain marked at 28’5″.

Contracts are time sensitive. To request that the seller hire an inspection for what was already inspected and send them a CD seemed unreasonable since the photo sent was marked at 28’5″. It would extend the inspection timeline beyond agreed upon dates.

All of this was news to me. While you’d think that in Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes and 4 gazillion trees that it would be more common. Most of us don’t want to know what’s in our sewer. Surprise is never a good word in real estate. Going forward, I’ll suggest that sellers pre-inspect and include the report along with a seller disclosure to preempt further discussion of what’s in their sewer.