Now, if a home is built with a crawl space, replacing this type of plumbing is not such a huge undertaking because a plumber can go right under the house and work from there. However, many homes that were built between 1950 and the mid-1970’s have a concrete slab foundation and these problematic pipes are encased within it. That means that their replacement requires floors to be torn up and the foundation opened to expose, remove, and re-plumb the house. Simply replacing the pipes is quite expensive, but when you add re-pouring the slab and redoing the floors to the mix, you are talking about totally remodeling a house! No wonder finding cast iron pipes spooks a buyer!
The tricky thing about cast iron pipes is that, if they are in decent shape, you can actually live with them and many providers will actually insure a house knowing that it has this type of plumbing. Therefore, many sellers are pushing back when buyers ask to have new plumbing lines installed or request a credit for those repairs. As a realtor, this presents a dilemma. Do I advise my buyer to take the risk and make an insurance claim when the time comes? When I have the listing, do I keep the price high and then negotiate the repair? This is the talk around the real estate water cooler these days! These pipes are really making our job tricky, and I get the sense that I am going to be seeing this issue come up more and more as older homes in Miami change hands.
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