Home Improvement

Plumbing Inspection Tips for Homebuyers


Buying a new property is an exciting time but it can certainly be stressful. There are a lot of moving parts to any home move and it’s easy to miss something in the process only to regret it later.

You see a potential home you like and it’s only natural that your mind jumps ahead, picturing yourself living there and neglecting the practicalities. One such practicality that you really don’t want to miss out is a proper plumbing inspection before you seal the deal.

The Importance of Plumbing Inspections

Your home is almost certainly going to be the most expensive thing you every buy and it’s important to know exactly what you’re spending money on before you sign the deal. You don’t want to go through all the hassle of moving your stuff in just to have to move it out again while your new house is replumbed.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of a viewing and miss the little details and thanks to the fact that most of your home’s plumbing is hidden away in the walls and under floors, it can be easy to miss problems during a viewing and even easier to miss a problem that is currently developing.

Getting an experienced inspector to cast their eyes over any potential purchase minimises the risk of missing something that you’ll later regret and ensures that you’re making an informed decision when you sign the mortgage papers.

If nothing else, an inspector’s report will put you in a better negotiating position when it comes time to make your offer.

Preparing for the Inspection

Getting an inspector in to check your potential new property can involve a little logistical juggling but the effort will pay dividends if and when you move in. Here are a few things to consider while you prepare.

You’ll need the help of the vendor for the following

Arrange Timings

It goes without saying that an inspector can’t inspect without getting access. That means you’ll have to find a time that works for both them, the vendor and any agents or realtors involved in the sale.

Arrange Access

It will save a lot of time and effort (and money) if there is someone who knows the property on site to guide the inspector around the fixtures and fittings. They will know where stop-valves and heaters are located etc.


The vendor should have a record of any repairs or inspections which have already been carried out on the property. Your inspector’s job will be much easier if they can cast an eye over the paperwork.

You should also take some time to consider exactly what you’re asking the inspector to do before you hire them. Are you happy with a quick glance at the fixtures and fittings or do you want a detailed report?

It goes without saying that you should insure that you’re hiring a fully qualified inspector for this job- homes are expensive and you don’t want any nasty surprises after the deeds have changed hands!

What To Expect During The Inspection

Exactly how the inspection goes depends on how thorough an inspection you’ve requested. We’d suggest that the plumber casts an eye over:

  • Plumbing fixtures: Sinks, toilets, showers, baths, faucets- these are the easiest to access and can give a good idea of the general health of a plumbing system.
  • Supply Lines and Pipes: These can be tricky to access, but a qualified plumber will have their ways.
  • Drainage and Sewer systems: making sure that things drain away properly will ensure that there are no nasty surprises waiting for you after you move in.
  • Water Heaters and Boilers: Hot water is one of those luxuries that we really can’t do without. Knowing the health status of a system before you take responsibility for it will put your mind at rest.

As the inspection is on-going, the plumber will be looking for the tell-tale signs of issues- evidence of leaks, corrosion, water pressure problems and general wear and tear on the plumbing.

While they’re there, it’s a good idea to ask questions. This is a great opportunity to get to grips with your potential new home’s foibles.

Ask the inspector to explain what they’re doing as they do it and you might get some valuable insights. In particular, if something seems odd, don’t be embarrassed to ask about it- your inspector will be able to put your mind at rest.

Key Signs of Potential Problems

During the inspection, both you and the inspector should be keeping an eye of for a few red flags in particular:

  • Visible signs of leaks or water stains – it’s possible that these have already been dealt with, but keep an eye on them anyway
  • Strange noises- if anything is bubbling, gurgling, groaning or otherwise sounds odd, that’s a sign that something is going wrong.
  • Slow drainage – if sinks, showers and baths don’t drain quickly, that’s often a symptom of a clog forming. This can be a serious issue if it’s recurring and begs questioning.

Getting these signs properly investigated and any issue dealt with can save you thousands in repairs down the line. Your inspector will be able to offer advice about what your priorities should be here.

Post Inspection Steps

Once the inspection is complete, the plumber should furnish you with a full report. It’s worth going through it with them and asking questions about anything which catches your eye. They’ll also be able to guide you towards anything that may cause issues down the line and offer advice for pre-emptive works.

Now that you’re fully armed with all the details, it’s time to speak to the vendor. If the report has highlighted any issues, you’re in a good position to negotiate on price or have them undertake the necessary repairs before the sale is final.

Assuming you do opt to go ahead with the purchase, a full report will stand you in good stead for planning out repairs and maintenance, ensuring that your plumbing does its job for many years to come.