Very recently, while doing viewings with a buyer client, we walked into a property and within minutes, they turn to me and say "this is the house for us”! While the client and her family were happily looking through the property, they continued to get more excited as they saw more of the home.
As part of a home viewing I always find a place where the plumbing is accessible, to give it a visual inspection to determine its type and condition. In this particular house I found the plumbing exposed in the laundry room area of the basement. I walked into the room and looked up to see the plumbing… then my heart sank a little!
Sure enough, I could see the telltale orange and blue pipes of a Kitec plumbing system. Kitec plumbing consists of a flexible aluminum pipe between an inner and outer layer of plastic pipe (PEX pipe) with brass fittings. It was sold between 1995 and 2007 for potable water, in-floor, and hot-water baseboard heating systems.
I knew I now had interrupt the excited conversation over how great the house is to break some bad news to the clients. At first they had no idea what Kitec was or what any of the issues surrounding it were. They were understandably disappointed when they were told that Kitec Plumbing was found and that it has a high failure rate creating problems with leaks and is the subject of a class action lawsuit.
They were still interested in the property, but worried about the lack of peace of mind that this plumbing would bring. Visions of arriving home to a flood is more than most people can be expected to endure. Not to mention, there is generally an issue with finding an insurance company that will even insure a property with this type of plumbing as well.
In this situation the home seller was not even aware of the issues with their plumbing system and their inexperienced Realtor did not pick up on the issue at the time of listing. Once we made the seller aware of the problem, they researched the issues with Kitec, had the plumbing evaluated by a qualified plumber, and finally agreed to totally replace the plumbing and repair any wall damage. Basically, fix the potential problem as if it never even existed. Once we had this commitment from the home seller, we were able to negotiate the purchase of the property and the clients were very happy.
There are two lessons to be learned here:
First, It is vital that you have an experienced Realtor view and inspect the home with you. In this case, we quickly identified a significant problem that was missed by the homeowner, the listing agent, and the homebuyers. Once identified, we quickly negotiated a resolution to the problem that was in our clients’ best interest.
The other lesson: don't give up on a property you love because of an apparent defect. Let your Realtor know how much you like the property. By communicating with the seller, and utilizing strong negotiating tactics, your Realtor can work to help to make your housing dreams come true.
For more information on Kitec plumbing: Click Here