One of the biggest problems facing real estate professionals is what to do about homes with polybutylene. Some agents will not show a buyer a home with poly. If you're representing a buyer, you wouldn't want to sell your client a home with poly without them being made aware of the problems with poly.
Here are some facts you should note: (1) a broker was sued in Virginia for not disclosing the fact that a home had polybutylene plumbing, (2) a property management firm is being sued for non-disclosure in the condo resale certificates, and (3) an inspection company was sued for failing to disclose poly in a hotel property.
We've tried to outline some of the issues you are facing--or will be facing. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to call us. We also offer FREE presentations to real estate professionals, either in your office or at association meetings. Please call us for more details on presentations in your area.
What's going on? The bottom line is...Courts continue to move away from "Buyer Beware" defenses. Different jurisdictions have different statutory requirements regarding disclosure, but the general atmosphere in the legal system is away from Caveat Emptor. Judges are looking at "what is the right thing to do."
Stay ahead of the pack on this problem. As homes with poly age, the rate of poly leaks will increase dramatically. This is a multi-billion dollar problem in homes throughout the United States. Here are some tips to consider...
1. Representing a Buyer:
A. Ask the Listing agent if the home has poly. If it does, ask if they are going to replace it with copper or reduce the price of the home so your Buyer can replace the poly before they move in.
B. Conduct a visual inspection for gray poly pipes. Look under the sinks, around the hot water heater and in exposed basements. If you see gray pipes, you have a poly problem. As for the underground main, please reference our web page "How Do I Get Rid Of Polybutylene".
C. If you're not sure if the home has poly, order a home inspection or call Plumbing Express - 800-501-7702.
D. If the home has poly, be sure to disclose this material fact, in writing, to your client. If you fail to disclose this problem, and they buy the home with poly, when it leaks, they will most likely want to know why you didn't warn them.
E. Disclosure Issues -
(1) Hundreds of Thousands of Poly Leaks,
(2) Potential for Catastrophic Damage from a Single Leak,
(3) Real Estate Professionals should have a waiver agreement for their Buyers to sign.
F. There are a lot of homes on the market with copper plumbing. Either sell them a home with copper or make sure the poly is replaced with copper.
G. Be sure to give every potential Buyer a Poly Information Kit. They are available FREE from Plumbing Express.
2. Representing a Seller:
A. Homes with copper sell faster and with less headaches!
B. Sellers and sellers' agents may be at risk for selling homes with poly pipes when the pipes leak. We have seen homes with more than $100,000 in damages from a single leak.
C. Provide your Seller with a Poly Information Kit. Explain the issues, and let them know that an average replumbing takes about a week. Most important, they will now be able to feature a home with copper and a 40 year warranty. That's a powerful selling point.
D. If the Seller wants to ignore the poly issue, ask them to sign a Release Agreement, indemnifying you of all potential liability.
3. The Solution:
A. Not sure a home has poly? Check for a gray plastic pipe under sinks or in exposed areas in the basement or attic. If you're still not sure, call us.
B. The cost of a replumb is about the same as a recarpet.
C. An average job takes less than a week. And your client can remain in the home with water service restored each evening after the technicians finish the day's work.