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7400 Coldwater Canyon Rd, Austin
  • Farms & Acreage
  • 2 Beds
  • 1 Baths
  • 1,000 SqFt

7400 Coldwater Canyon Rd, Austin

$35,000,000 ↓ $2,500,000
7400 Coldwater Canyon Rd, Austin
  • Residential
  • 2 Beds
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  • 1,000 SqFt

7400 Coldwater Canyon Rd, Austin

$35,000,000 ↓ $2,500,000
3511 Westlake Dr, Austin
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3511 Westlake Dr, Austin

$14,700,000
4433 River Garden Trl, Austin
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4433 River Garden Trl, Austin

$12,900,000
2401 Portofino Ridge Dr, Austin
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2401 Portofino Ridge Dr, Austin

$12,900,000 ↓ $2,000,000
3800 N Interstate 35, Austin
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3800 N Interstate 35, Austin

$11,900,000
000 Decker Ln, Austin
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000 Decker Ln, Austin

$11,497,662 ↑ $1,149,767
000 Decker Ln, Austin
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000 Decker Ln, Austin

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4200 Waters Edge Cv, Austin
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4200 Waters Edge Cv, Austin

$9,950,000

 

Top 5 Red Flags in a Home Inspection

All right, welcome to the broadcast. If you are wondering what are the top 5 red flags in an inspection on an Austin home, we’re going to cover that and more today in today’s broadcast.

 

INTRO: Welcome to Behind the Scenes with Spyglass Realty, with Ryan Rodenbeck and Matt Edwards.

 

RYAN: All right, let’s join – we’ve got Chris here. Come on in.

 

CHRIS: Can we all fit? There we go.

 

RYAN: Nice to meet you.

 

CHRIS: Good to meet you. Thank y’all for having me.

 

RYAN: I have a list that I put together. I’ve seen your list, you may have seen mine. They’re probably the same thing, right?

 

CHRIS: Pretty close, pretty close.

 

MATT: Before we get started, how many inspections have you completed, around about, over the 29 years?

 

CHRIS: Somewhere in the range of about 12,000.

 

MATT: 12,000. So you might know what you’re talking about.

 

CHRIS: I’m hoping I’m figuring it out. I can tell people I appreciate the opportunity to practice again every day. I’m going to get good eventually.

 

MATT: There you go, 12,000 home inspections.

 

RYAN: Wow.

 

MATT: That’s a lot. You might want to listen to what he has to say.

 

RYAN: Before we get into this, I want to ask you what is the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen? What’s the craziest story you’ve ever seen on an inspection? That could be anything.

 

CHRIS: That’s such a challenge. The things that I see out there… [laughs] Gosh, I really don’t have a good one for you right off the top of my head.

 

MATT: What’s a good recent one, in the last 2-3 years?

 

CHRIS: I’ve had so many nightmare homes lately, it’s hard to say. One of the good things is getting on the roofs to find people using things like coffee cans for flashing, for plumbing vents.

 

RYAN: I had an inspector tell me that he went into an attic one time and found a whole heap of weed in the attic. It was a rental property. [laughs] And this is 10 years ago, enough to where the owner could’ve been freaked out about repossessing the property.

 

CHRIS: Since you bring that up, I actually did have one experience in one we went to where it was fairly obviously by the time we were done that they had had a grow room in the entire attic of a 3800 sq. ft. house that they had disassembled.

 

RYAN: I’ve actually seen that too.

 

MATT: What’s the legality on that for you?

 

RYAN: That’s a disassembled one, right?

 

CHRIS: Yeah –

 

MATT: You came across one or a couple pounds, do you just keep on moving?

 

CHRIS: That’s not why I’m there.

 

RYAN: Tell the owner and leave it alone, right?

 

CHRIS: I’m not going there.

 

RYAN: [laughs] There you go. Do you agree with these as the top 5 red flags?

 

CHRIS: Those are definitely some great ones. When you talk about red flags, we can make a really long list. But absolutely, that’s a pretty common one. If we’re going to talk about things that homeowners can see or potential buyers can see when they’re looking, this is a pretty good list of what we can see visually.

 

RYAN: You’re right. We can go through a whole bunch of them, but when I’m thinking of red flags, I’m thinking of your immediate potential deal killers and the most common ones.

 

NUMBER ONE IS STRESS CRACKS IN THE FOUNDATION. I’M GOING TO LET YOU TAKE THIS FROM HERE AND TELL ME YOUR TAKE ON THIS. WHAT DO PEOPLE NEED TO LOOK FOR?

 

CHRIS: There are a lot of causes for cracks in sheetrock inside a home. They can be from foundation movement and activity, which is problematic. Others can be from simple shrinkage, or they could be from a moisture condition that developed in the house at some point in time that may have gone away.

 

RYAN: Or normal settlement, too.

 

CHRIS: Or normal settlement. That’s always a term that the engineers steer far away from because there’s not a real definition for “normal” to call that.

 

What people need to understand when they’re looking at cracks and drywall in homes – completely vertical or horizontal cracks that are straight lines, those are more likely to be from shrinkage of the materials, minor activity, not much to speak of. It’s the diagonal cracks that you’re looking for. When you see the diagonal cracks, then you’re breaking sheetrock.

 

MATT: Coming off the door hinges?

 

CHRIS: Coming off the doors, coming off the windows, either above or below. Then you know you’re breaking sheetrock. That’s more of a significant activity because it took some force to crack and damage the sheetrock.

 

MATT: What’s a typical age of home, whether it’s 10 years old, 15? I know that varies.

 

CHRIS: It does vary. It varies dramatically. People are quite confused about how long it takes for a home to not be active or inactive. We have a lot of expansive soils here in Austin, so it’s something that you’ve got to focus on.

 

You may see activity as early as a year in. Those are going to be some of the worst. But some of the ones that we’re really starting to see show up now are in some of the areas with the expansive soils, where over time, maintenance has not been maintained. One of the most critical things in these high movement soils is drainage.

 

MATT: You bring that up. Say I purchased a home that was 10 years old; what should I not do, whether it’s a flowerbed or anything like that on the side of the house, to try to keep the drainage flow as natural as possible and not cause the foundation to crack or have issues ahead of time?

 

CHRIS: If you’re in one of the expansive solid areas, you want to pay attention to that drainage period. You want to know that the water has an opportunity to move reasonably rapidly away from the house in all directions, not just in one side.

 

One of the problems we have with homeowners is periodically they’ll do things like build raised flowerbeds up against a house, not understanding that what they just created was a pond next to the house when the rains come. The rest of the house doesn’t have that. After a long dry period, the soil is dried out over weeks and months.

 

Now they have an area where when the rains come, the soil gets re-saturated rapidly. In this particular case, I have a pond in the front, so in that area, the soil is swelling at a faster rate than other areas around the house – what we call uneven watering. That’s what provides opportunity for stress on the foundation that can actually turn into damage.

 

RYAN: Yeah, I have one particular duplex that this would be the top of the foundation, and we’ve got dirt like this, so that when the water comes, it goes down. But the way the flow of the water would go, every 2 years we have to bring dirt and put it back up. Otherwise it’ll pool in that little area there.

 

When Chris was talking about the diagonal stress cracks, this is a pretty big telltale sign. It doesn’t mean necessarily you’re going to have foundation problems or you do have foundation problems. It means you need to look into it further.

 

What he’s talking about, this is a window. You’ll see a lot of the stress cracks go straight up. Those are the ones that aren’t that alarming. The ones that are more alarming are the ones that go like this. It could be on a window or a door. Am I explaining that right?

 

CHRIS: Absolutely.

 

RYAN: NUMBER TWO, CHECK THE AGE OF THE AIR CONDITIONER AND FURNACE. THESE ARE BIG TICKET ITEMS THAT CAN COST MONEY.

 

CHRIS: And they’re going to be replaced. From the day they go in service, deterioration starts. The day will come. So yes, it is important to know the age. A lot of manufacturers have gotten pretty friendly, where you can look at the equipment and look at the plate and actually get a year date.

 

However, that’s not true for everybody. A lot of them conceal it within their serial number – which, good news, with technology as such that it is, you can usually go online and look it up.

 

MATT: Plug it in online.

 

CHRIS: You’ll get the age and the sizing of the equipment out of it.

 

MATT: With a lot of the newer furnaces that are getting put into new construction homes, what’s the anticipated lifespan of those?

 

CHRIS: They’re going to vary on type. What that means is in your homes where we have natural gas, you’re typically going to have a gas furnace and a standard air conditioning system. In that scenario, the air conditioner, the industry average life is 15 years, whereas the gas furnace is going to be 20-25.

 

But one of the more common ones we see in this region, because they’re more energy efficient, are heat pumps, which is all electric. We have no gas available. The heat pumps have a bit of a shorter life expectancy because the equipment runs year-round.

 

With your other system, in the winter your air conditioner is doing nothing, but with a heat pump that equipment runs year-round, so the likelihood of failure or breakdown is higher. Their average life expectancy is about 10-12 years in our region.

 

RYAN: Let me ask you this. I’ve seen people take these old gas furnaces and try to breathe new life into them. What are they doing? They’re taking the guts out and replacing the evaporator coil? Is that in the furnace?

 

CHRIS: That’s the air conditioner.

 

RYAN: Yeah. So you’re just breathing a couple more years into it, right?

 

CHRIS: You are. The city actually tried to clean up a little bit of that. What they’re referring to is where the system would break down. You have two primary components. We have split systems in this region. The outdoor unit is called the condensing unit. The inside that you’re referring to is the evaporator coil.

 

The evaporator coil has no moving parts. It is literally just a coil that refrigerants push through. It typically lasts much longer than the outdoor unit. What we would experience is people would have a breakdown and they would simply come and replace the outdoor condensing unit because then it all worked.

 

The downside to that was you didn’t pick up the energy efficiency rating that you were hoping when you replaced your unit, because you now don’t have a matched system.

 

RYAN: I want to ask you about that too, because we get a lot of those inspection reports. There was a time where they changed the Freon. Is that right?

 

CHRIS: Yeah, we would change the refrigerant from R-22 to R-410.

 

RYAN: So you cannot get 410 anymore?

 

CHRIS: No, it’s the 22 that they’ve tried to get rid of. They can still get it. They can absolutely still get it. They’re going to charge you an absolute premium for it, but you can still get it. The premium price is to try to encourage you to quit using it and move on.

 

RYAN: When did they switch it over, like 2010?

 

CHRIS: Actually, the R-410 has been out since probably around 2000-2001. It’s been quite a while. It became more of an issue around 2006 when the city really pushed to say we need to stop doing this mismatching of equipment. We want them matched up. We want this R-22 gone.

 

RYAN: I think the issue at the time was that they thought that the R-22 – that’s the old one – that that was no longer ever going to be – there was a lot of scare tactics. I remember buyer’s agents would send me stuff at the time, 2006 up to like 2012. I had a 6-year-old air conditioning system and they’re like “well, they’re not going to sell that next year, so you’ve got to have your seller replace this.”

 

When in reality, it’s probably starting to happen at some point, but I think that was one of these little scare tactics that buyer’s agents use to try to get money off the sales price. That’s why we’re covering these things.

 

By the way, just a little pause here, if you’re just joining in and you want to subscribe for future broadcasts, type the word “AGENT.” If you’re watching on YouTube, hit the Subscribe button. If you have any questions, put it in there and we will get right to them.

 

LET’S GO TO NUMBER THREE. THAT IS THE ELECTRICAL PANEL. FPE, FEDERAL PACIFIC ELECTRIC.

 

CHRIS: That happens to be a manufacturer that was around for many decades. They changed over time. Specifically we’re talking about the Federal Pacific Electrical Panel, the Stab-Lok version. That’s not all of their panels. Previous to the Stab-Lok version they had older units. Generally you’re going to see them from the ’60s all the way up to the end of the 1980s.

 

The issue they’ve had with them is that the breakers weren’t tripping when they were supposed to. Of course, the purpose of a breaker in an electrical system is to protect the system from a fire. To keep the wire from overheating, it’s going to shut down before it can overheat. If you’ve got breakers that aren’t tripping, that’s a huge problem.

 

The downside was that while they have flagged Federal Pacific with this issue, it’s not exclusive to them.

 

RYAN: There’s a couple others, right?

 

CHRIS: Yeah. They’ve actually been in litigation over their products since the early 1980s, and the last I heard, they still are. they’ve tried to remanufacture their breakers to put them in and they keep failing. The downside is that when you talk to the engineers and say “how do I know when I have a bad breaker?”, they say “well, if the house burns, you’ll know.”

 

Otherwise you have to take them to be tested. Once they’ve been tested you can’t put them back in, which means then you have to put a new one back in that hasn’t been tested. It’s just a circle that never ends. The simple solution is replace the panel. Move on.

 

RYAN: I have a position on this. It’s funny, I’ve been in real estate for 14 years now, and I find things that my position has changed on. The reason my position on it has changed is I had a house in Travis Country that I sold in 2011.

 

I owned that home for 8 years, and it had an FPE panel. A lot of homes in this area have FPE panels. My inspector at the time did not think it was that big of a deal.

 

CHRIS: That’s part of the challenge. I’ve got good friends who are master electricians – more problems with this than other manufacturers? Anecdotally, they’re not seeing it. But here’s where we are.

 

RYAN: Here’s why my position has changed on it: when I bought that house in 2003, beside my nightstand I plugged in one thing. Now I have like seven things plugged in. We’re using more devices, so it stands to reason that the more electricity we consume, the more devices we charge, the more this could be more of an issue.

 

CHRIS: Oh yeah, it provides more opportunity.

 

RYAN: From my experience, it’s about $2,500 to replace one of these. You can get it done for less, you can get it done for more, but that’s what we’ve done. And then aluminum wiring. My house in Barton Hills has aluminum wiring.

 

CHRIS: Right, aluminum wiring. A common beast is I tell people think of Vietnam War era. It was primarily used from ’67 to ’76. You’ll find it as far back as ’65. At that point, copper was expensive. It was being used for other things, so they went to using quite a bit of aluminum at the time.

 

Aluminum is a fabulous conductor of electricity. It has no problem conducting electricity, but they were used to using stranded aluminum. Now we’re looking for branch circuits with single-strand wires.

 

The aluminum experience is a much greater expansion and contraction component when it functions, as it goes through service. That process can result in loose connections. If it was overtightened originally, it can end up in broken wires. End of the day, there’ll be overheating on the wiring, which again, now we’re concerned with a fire.

 

And then you have an FPE panel, now you’re really concerned. [laughs]

 

RYAN: Here’s the issue. In my opinion – unqualified, admittedly, and from everything I’ve heard – it’s an easy fix. It’s crimping or pigtailing.

 

CHRIS: If you actually look at the Consumer Protection Commissions study on that and what their recommendations are, there really aren’t very many options that they consider proper and satisfactory. Primarily it’s the crimping. Pigtailing, no one is a fan of as far as the engineers.

 

RYAN: Oh, I thought they were the same thing.

 

CHRIS: They’re not the same thing. Crimping, it’s a crimp device. A COPALUM connector is what they call it. I know that’s kind of a long word to put out there for it, but basically it is a device. It’s a connector that takes the two wires, and they go in separate from each other, and then they use a crimping tool to secure them. The copper and the aluminum are never in contact.

 

RYAN: Right, so they’re not heated right there.

 

CHRIS: Right. When you talk about pigtailing, pigtailing is a term where the guys would use wire nuts to add a piece of copper onto the end of the aluminum. They have come out – actually it was quite a few years back – with a wire nut that they proclaimed is rated for it. However, it’s still not a fan of the engineers, and the Consumer Protection Agency still doesn’t like them.

 

RYAN: Gotcha. But before we started crimping – let me see, how many homes with aluminum wiring do I know that have been burned down? Zero. And now that we’re crimping everything, it’s still zero.

 

Look, I’m sure it’s happened. I’m just saying in my own experience. I just want to let people know that this is an issue that yeah, you have to deal with. If you’re a seller, you have to deal with it. If you’re a buyer, you have to deal with it. In reality, it’s not seen very often at all.

 

CHRIS: Interestingly, what I’ve seen when I go into these houses, especially ones that haven’t had any updating on them since it was built, is it actually seems that the electricians at that time were being more careful with the installation of the product.

 

And I agree with you. I know I’ve had overheating circuits and I’ve found overheated wiring in those panels in the past, but I’ve never heard of a house burning down personally. I know they have. But at the end of the day – I lost my train of thought. [laughs]

 

RYAN: I think the point is I’m just trying to ease people’s minds. If you have a house that you’re buying with aluminum wiring, you should ask for a concession. If you didn’t get a good deal on it to begin with, you should ask for a concession on that. You should get it fixed. But it’s not one of those things that you should avoid the home for, because there’s a lot of great homes out there with aluminum wiring.

 

CHRIS: Oh, absolutely they are. There are very good homes with them. One of the things I was going to say is the challenge that we’ve had actually is in the upgrades.

 

We’ve had a lot of handymen and other people who go out and do them who don’t know the protocol between an upgrade for an aluminum wiring system, and they create a problem. Homes that didn’t have a problem, now they have a problem because they’ve been upgraded. That’s not where we want to see it. You really need to use good, qualified electricians that know how to do it.

 

There are only a very few companies that actually have that crimping device that the Consumer Protection Agency wants to use. That’s because the manufacturers of the splices only lease the crimping tool. They can’t buy the crimping tool.

 

So if you’re not going to use those companies, you’re going to end up with something that’s less than what the Consumer Protection Agency wants to see used out there.

 

MATT: When a homebuyer is walking a potential home, how can they tell if the home has aluminum wiring?

 

CHRIS: On a typical walkthrough, they’re not going to. You can really only base it off the given years that the house was built and say “I’m suspicious of it.”

 

MATT: Which was 1967 to 1976?

 

CHRIS: Yeah. Somewhere around ’72 they started coming out with a new one called copper-clad aluminum, which was aluminum wiring that had a copper coating.

 

RYAN: ALL RIGHT, MOVING ALONG. ROOF REPAIRS. I’M PRETTY GOOD WITH THIS STUFF, BUT I CAN TELL YOU WHEN IT COMES TO THE ROOFS, I’VE IDENTIFIED ROOFS LIKE “OH, THAT’S A GOOD ROOF,” AND THE INSPECTOR CAME BACK AND SAID “NO, IT’S NOT.” I’VE IDENTIFIED ROOFS LIKE “THAT ROOF IS SHOT,” AND THE INSPECTOR CAME BACK, “IT’S ACTUALLY GOOD.”

 

CHRIS: Not bad. Yeah, it’s amazing. As long as I’ve done this, from the ground, what you see of the roof shingles – especially if you’re talking about a composition shingle roof – it’s very deceptive. You really can’t tell from the ground what’s going on. You need to be on top of it, looking down at it, to see it.

 

I frequently will go around houses and do my perimeter, and as I’m looking up I’m like, oh, the roof looks pretty good. You get on the roof and you’re like, whoa, not so good.

 

RYAN: It’s the granules, right?

 

CHRIS: It’s the granules, the granule laws. Keeping in mind when we’re talking about composition shingles, which is the majority of our region, we’re talking about a product on a home that’s like the tires on your car. From the day you install them, deterioration begins. Replacement is imminent. We need to know where we are in there. How much tread do I have left? And then identify where there are leaks.

 

Of course, you have the other flip issue of that. We as inspectors are out there to inspect for function. You have to deal with the other side of that, and that’s the insurance carriers. Insurability and functionality do not carry the same definition.

 

RYAN: No. I’ve got a story I want to tell you about that. I bought a home in 2006, and it had hail damage. This was a home in Milwood. I got the hail claim. I got like $11,000 at the time, or I think it was $12,000. It was a lot of money for that, more than anybody ever paid me.

 

But I was looking for investors to go in with that would buy the home. I would go in with my half of the repairs, and we’d flip homes. I started with that $12,000. [laughter]

 

RYAN: Yeah, that was 2006. Now, because of that, I literally have six duplexes and two houses with the same investor. I still have the home.

 

MATT: That was a very profitable house tour.

 

RYAN: I never fixed the roof. The tenants still live there.

 

CHRIS: Been down that road many times. You find the hail damage and they find out later. Well, you already got paid to get it replaced. [laughs]

 

RYAN: Right. I guess my point is when I sell this home, it’s going to have to be replaced. But you just made the point of functionality and – what did you say?

 

CHRIS: Insurability. If you were to sell it right now, an insurance carrier would say “We can’t insure this house. The roof has got hail damage.”

 

RYAN: Right, I need to pony it up.

 

CHRIS: “It’s preexisting. We can’t touch that.” That’s one of the challenges that we run into when we inspect the roofs. We may see a house that has very minor dings and dents in it from the hail that we need to make our buyer aware of that, but it’s still completely functional. It doesn’t really have a functional issue, but an insurance carrier is looking at a new buyer going, “That’s preexisting damage. We don’t want to play with that. We need a new roof.”

 

MATT: One big question I have is, 20 years for composite lifespan, usually? Or is it 25?

 

CHRIS: It depends on the product. Your typical three tab, which is the most common one, the manufacturers call it a 20-year shingle. In our region, generally if we see 15 to 17 years out of it, we’re thrilled. Keep in mind when they give you a 20-year life expectancy, they’re basing that off the center of the country, not down here.

 

MATT: How does that compare to the metal roofs?

 

CHRIS: Metal roof is a very fine product, and the market has really expanded in metal roofing in the last decade. You have so many options out there, from lower end, not terribly expensive – always more expensive, if done properly, than a composition shingle roof – to extremely high-end that are lifetime roofs. Once they’re on, we’re done here. We’re not coming back. Let the hail hit it, it got a few dings, it didn’t affect the product.

 

RYAN: Yeah. You’re talking about insurability, and this is what is so important about an inspection. I’ve had this happen before, and this is why you guys have to be so critical about a roof. I have had it happen where an inspector went on the roof and said “Yeah, it’s got some age on it, but it’ll be okay.”

 

Property closes, insurance sends out their guy, and they say “We’re excluding insurance from the roof until you replace the roof.” The client came back to me and was like, “Why didn’t the inspector catch that?”

 

CHRIS: Exactly. That’s one of the biggest issues. It had nothing to do with function. That’s why you’ll see me on my reports, any evidence of it, I’m going to write it up. I’m going to let my client know, look, I don’t think the roof needs any work or replacement, but you need to move forward and figure this out. You need the seller’s insurance company to come in and take a look and write a letter.

 

Most insurance companies, they’re not going to send somebody out to look at that house for a buyer until they own the house because they’re not wanting to step on the toes of the insurance company that’s covering the house for the seller.

 

RYAN: I’ve seen them start doing it lately a little bit.

 

CHRIS: Yeah, I keep pushing for that because I keep getting those calls. I wish they would move to that, because it’s ridiculous that they let them close, give them all the paperwork to say they’re fully insured, and then send them a letter because most of them have a 30, 60, or 90 day out clause to come and check their new property that they’ve insured.

 

RYAN: So the point is, if your inspector tells you that your roof is fine but it’s not insurable, you need to know that your insurance may cut your insurance. It’s a pretty big red flag. Even if the roof’s fine for another 10 or 15 years, as it was in my case.

 

Okay, this is my favorite.

 

MATT: Number five.

 

RYAN: NUMBER FIVE, CAST-IRON PLUMBING.

 

CHRIS: Yes. The new beast that’s rearing its head. Cast-iron drains, that was the premiere product for drains up until 1965. ’65 is when the PVC pipes for drains really started coming into the market.

 

As a result, what you have is that the majority of the middle class and lower-end homes are going to have PVC typically from ’65 forward. It’s going to be the upper-end ones where you’re going to see them continuing to use it up until about ’70 to ’72 because they “weren’t going to use that cheap plastic stuff.” Good, conscientious homebuilders who wanted to do the right thing – which is understandable – they aren’t going to use the cheap product.

 

What they hadn’t yet realized was what was happening with the slab foundations that we were all starting to use now. Cast-iron drains came into being when we were building primarily all pier and beam homes.

 

When the slab home came in, that was a whole new phenomenon. Now you’ve got these cast-irons drains under a concrete slab. This is a product that is going to fail. It’s not a matter of if it’ll fail. It’s going to fail. The average life of it is 50 years, in the horizontal sections under the slabs.


Fast forward, from 1960 forward is when most everything built in Austin is a slab. Those homes are at risk. Those drains are failing, they’re having to be replaced, and they’re very expensive and difficult to replace.

 

MATT: It’s $20,000+, isn’t it?

 

CHRIS: You’ve got two different types of plumbers you’re going to deal with, expensive and “oh my goodness, I didn’t know it could be that expensive.” The expensive guy is going to come in here and jack up your floors, he’s going to replace the drains, he’s going to walk out and say “there you go, good luck.” You need to fix the floors and take care of all that. He’ll charge you less.

 

The other guy is going to come in and tunnel under the foundation. He’s going to have to hire an engineer to approve the tunnels before the guys can even work in the tunnels. Then they’re going to have to replace them from underneath the slab. That’s very laborious. Takes a lot of work and a lot of time. You can easily take a 1500 to 2000 sq. ft. house and spend $25,000 to $30,000 replacing the drains.

 

RYAN: I’ve done no less than 10 of these. Got a lot of experience with it. You’re right, the older we get, the more prevalent it is. But what I’ve found is if I find a house today with cast-iron plumbing and we do a static test, there’s about a 30-40% chance that there’s a crack in it.

 

CHRIS: There’s a crack in it or it’s leaking in a fitting. That’s the other problem we have with cast-iron drains. Because they’re hub expanded fittings, it’s not a tight-fused fitting like PVC pipes. The slightest foundation movement, that fitting is leaking. It may have been leaking in the first year the house was built.

 

RYAN: Let’s put it like this. There’s a 30-40% chance it’s going to fail a static test. Then you could still make the case – 10 years ago I started doing this, and it was easier to make the case “it’s not leaking, it’s fine.” But now, fast forward 10 years, it’s like you said, it’s probably the biggest deal that I would say.

 

CHRIS: It is, because it’s such a huge hit in expense, and you’ve got to have your drains. That’s not something you’ve got an option on.

 

MATT: What year did they do away with cast-iron?

 

CHRIS: They’ve not done away with cast-iron. Cast-iron is still a prevalent product in the market. You will still find it in many commercial – a lot of the commercial buildings have gone back to it.

 

RYAN: Really?

 

CHRIS: Yeah, because it’s quieter. They’re finding problems with PVC pipes. You hear the water running through the walls and everywhere else, so they don’t like that. The biggest problem they have are the horizontal inaccessible sections. The vertical sections they have no problems with. If it’s horizontal and I’ve got access, it’s not a problem.

 

RYAN: But in homes, they stopped in like ’82, right?

 

CHRIS: They did, because it didn’t make sense. It wasn’t practical.

 

RYAN: Gotcha. Wow.

 

MATT: That was a lot of great information.

 

RYAN: Yeah, a lot of good information.

 

MATT: Took a lot of notes. [laughs]

 

RYAN: Kelly, do you have Chris’s information? Put it into the chat below, and if you’re watching this on YouTube, Chris’s information will be below. Do you have a website?

 

CHRIS: Yep, it’s cniservices.net.

 

MATT: Can you talk about what might be coming next year in your world, or at least for you? Is it still too soon?

 

CHRIS: I’m pushing right now to try to keep myself from having to put my life at risk as often as I have been as far as walking on roofs. I do try to walk on every roof because I know from the ground I can’t see them. Unfortunately, there are homes you just can’t safely walk on. It’s too steep, it’s too tall, it’s metal, it’s a tile that you can’t walk on.

 

What I’m really working myself toward now is moving into doing some more drone work so I can do some drone roof inspections, so I can actually get on those roofs instead of saying I inspected it from the ground with binoculars – which I think is very lame, although I have no other option.

 

MATT: It’s better than breaking a leg or falling off the roof.

 

CHRIS: It most certainly is. Believe me, I’ve pushed myself on roofs where I can assure you, my wife would probably kill me if she knew what I was doing up there. [laughs]

 

MATT: With these drones and the 4K video and all of that, that’s going to give you –

 

CHRIS: Yeah, I’m looking at this as a great opportunity to be able to get a better visual for owners. Especially on some of the higher-end homes, where the people can’t see them. They can’t see the roof, they’re concerned. To be able to video the entire roof and get down close to it so they can actually get a look, and if they’ve got concerns, they can send the video to their roofer.

 

RYAN: That’s a great idea.

 

CHRIS: The guy doesn’t even have to show up. He can just watch the video and look at the vulnerable areas that I’m going to point out in the video and focus on those to try to clean up whatever’s there. So that’s what I’m shooting for next year. It’s kind of exciting.

 

RYAN: All right, we’re going to wrap it. Before we go, if you need to set an appointment with myself or Matt, go to austinrealestateagents.org. If you want to download our Duplex E-Buyer Guide, go to austinduplexagent.com. Be sure to type the word “AGENT” in the remarks if you want to subscribe to future broadcasts. If you’re watching on YouTube, subscribe.

 

I’m out of town next week, and then the next week I have an interview with a business strategist that is going to tell our consumers, especially if you’re in the real estate space, how to strategize your business where you’re working in it and not on it.

 

That will be it for today. Chris, thank you so much for joining us.

 

CHRIS: Thank you for having me.

 

RYAN: We’ll see you out in the field.

 

CHRIS: All right.

 

RYAN: Thanks.

 

MATT: See you guys in a couple weeks.

The information being provided is for consumers' personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing.

Based on information from the Austin Board of REALTORS® (alternatively, from ACTRIS) from December 7th, 2019 at 11:31am CST. Neither the Board nor ACTRIS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. The Austin Board of REALTORS®, ACTRIS and their affiliates provide the MLS and all content therein "AS IS" and without any warranty, express or implied. Data maintained by the Board or ACTRIS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.

All information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified.

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