A new sewer line. That’s what 2020 gave my family as a parting gift before the year closed. Yep, just before Christmas we had to replace our entire line at a whopping $13,688. I know that sounds crazy expensive, but we had four separate bids and went with the most reasonable one. In part it was so pricey because we had one hundred feet of line under eighty feet of concrete.
The good news is my house is worth $13,688 more now, right?
THE SHORT ANSWER: No.
THE LONGER ANSWER: Buyers expect things like sewer lines to be in working order, so they aren’t prone to pay a premium for a new one. Would some buyers pay a little something extra? Maybe. But I’m not holding my breath for much of a value add because buyers get more excited and swayed by the bling in a house rather than boring adult stuff like sewer pipes. After all, we don’t hear buyers say stuff like, “I want an open concept kitchen, hardwood flooring throughout, but I’m walking if the sewer line isn’t new.”
IF IT’S BROKEN: But if a sewer line is broken, that’s where it becomes more of a value issue since a traditional loan shouldn’t be able to fund without a functioning sewer line. Moreover, in most markets buyers would likely deduct for the expense and inconvenience of having to replace a line.
CLOSING ADVICE: Sellers, don’t expect buyers to pay dollar for dollar for every repair you do. Seriously, buyers expect certain things to be present and working. This is why they’re not going to look at my house and say, “Whoa, there’s a new sewer line? Let’s offer $13,688 more.” This is just how it works. And frankly if we were the buyers there’s no way we’d be paying cost either, right?
Anyway, here’s to indoor plumbing in 2021.
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Market update at SAR: I’m doing a big market update at SAR on January 21st from 10-11:00am. Sign up here.
Questions: Have you done any similar repairs recently? Have you ever seen a sewer line increase value? I’d love to hear your take.
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