There's A Pipe Protruding from the Ground. What Could It Be?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with RE/MAX Home Experts

When buying  house, it is very easy to miss potential hazards or concerns. This is why every home buyer should have an inspection of the property structure, systems and grounds. Agents do their best to alert buyers or sellers of any potential issues that could affect the sale or value, but we are not perfect and we can too miss things. A trained professional inspector is not only a separate set of eyes, but impartial to the sale and should be focused solely on the property to inspect.

So it comes as no surprise that something mysterious is discovered at a home inspection. On a recent inspection a thin vent pipe was discovered about a foot next to the property. The inspector in his report noted the presence of an underground oil tank (now, I don't understand the verbiage as he only observed a pipe, unless he purchased those new CIA branded x-ray goggles). The seller did not know anything of this as they purchased the property a few years back and it has always been gas heat. Tall grass and shrubbery made it easy to miss seeing that pipe. Nonetheless a plan of action was required.

Since locating a pipe, we figured to have an oil tank removal company come out and determine if a tank was present. I was not at this appointment, and the company said it appears there is (really? you think so). I spoke with the owner and stated we should have the grounds scanned to determine if the tank is there ( a. there is a slight chance the tank was in the basement and the vent pipe went through the structure to the outside ground and up, though this is a very unlikely scenario; b. I'd rather have more certainty of where the tank is before land is excavated ; c. who knows, maybe they will find some treasure). Once it is determined it is present, arrange for a company to come and remove the tank (click link for a local company's explanation of the process).

This really is one of those things we as agents need to look out for. As much as I try to survey the grounds, ask questions, etc... we need to have inspectors do a very detailed inspection of the property. If a tank is found, don't panic. Call the pros, have them assess it, and work at having it removed. Usually there is a solution to any problem, you just have to remain focused to do so. 

 

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John Benson

Broker/Owner - Philadelphia Real Estate
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