If you are buying a home in the city over about 40 years old you should be having a sewer line inspection.
Many homes built from the early 1940's to the mid 1960's used a material called Orangeburg for the sewer lines. Unfortunately Orangeburg has a limited life. (Do a search for Orangeburg on my blog for much more information and videos.)
Many of the homes of this generation have had the sewer lines repaird already, but there is a special issue on these homes you need to be aware of. There are typically three different parts of the sewer line that might be replaced. An they are not always all done.
1. House to sidewalk.
2. Sidwalk to curb.
3. Curb to main line in the street.
A listing may say "sewer replaced" when only the section from the house to the sidewalk has actually been replaced. The other two sections are generally more expensive and if they aren't failing at the moment a home owner may not have the whole job done.
As an example, about nine years ago we helped a home buyer buy in the Dicken school area. Our inspection showed the sewerline was starting to colapse. We negotiated to have the seller replace the sewer line to the main in the street prior to closing.
When I stopped by to check on the work the workmen were only replacing to the sidewalk.
I had to call the listing agent and specifically point out to her that the contract called for replacement to the main. She argued but eventually gave in.
To this day I don't know if she was just careless or if she was trying to cheat the purchaser. But the point is... you need to pay attention to the sewer line, even if the seller says it has been replaced.
Jon Boyd, Broker/Manager
The Home Buyer's Agent of Ann Arbor, Inc.
member office of http://naeba.org
1908 W. Stadium Blvd. Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Ann Arbor's Most experienced Exclusive Buyer's Brokerage!