Polybutylene Piping can be a major pain

Polybutylene Piping can be a major pain
Polybutylene Piping can be a major pain

Used from mid-78’ to mid-95’ as a low cost alternative to copper piping, Polybutylene piping is causing problems in Real Estate every day.  To sum it up as simply as possible these pipes would have a higher failure rate than other options.  Long boring story short a class action lawsuit was filed and was won against the manufactures’ totaling almost $1 Billion.  You are not even allowed to build with it anymore.  Unfortunately the deadline to file a claim ended in 2007. So that means it becomes a big problem if it shows up in a properties inspection today.

Usually one of 3 things happen when Poly (cool Realtor slang) shows up unexpectedly at an inspection.  First, and what has just happened to me this week, the buyers can decide not to buy due to this.  Next, a financial compromise between the buyer and seller could be struck to adjust for the expense and time to replumb the house.  And lastly, a buyer could be fine with it and agree to move forward accepting this issue.  For the last example, the buyer will need to be prepared to spend some time finding an insurance company that will cover this issue and be prepared to pay a higher premium.  I have experienced all of these scenarios.  Ideally the seller is aware of the presence of Poly and identifies it in the seller’s disclosure however that doesn’t seem to happen very often for whatever reason.  If we know about this issue prior to going into contract we could account for it in the offer price.

I personally would seek a financial compromise with the seller that would allow me to take care of the issue prior to move in.  The typical cost to replumb a house ranges from $3k to $6k depending on the size and complexity.  Where it can be a particularly big issue is when a kitchen island has to be done and it requires the flooring to be ripped up.  Then you could see the cost skyrocket if a perfectly finished floor is desired. 

While Poly certainly isn’t the biggest issue in the world it can cause


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