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Hiring a Plumber – Lessons Learned

It has been a very eventful (to say the least) 2 weeks for a short sale listing I am trying to close. After having the house on the market with another agent for 9 months, the sellers were referred to me from a friend. Within 6 weeks of listing the home, we had an accepted offer.

During the buyer’s inspection, they discovered a leaky pipe under the kitchen. The buyer’s also requested the filter on the well pump (located in the garage) to be replaced. The seller agreed and hired a plumbing contractor (referred by a friend) to do the work. The seller’s then moved out.

Soon after the work was completed, I received a phone call from someone driving by the house that there was water coming out of the garage. Apparently, the plumber’s assistant did the work and had to cut the filter on the well pump to get it out. He must have cut the water line during the process. The pressure from the water bore a hole into the drywall and flooded the house as well as the garage.

The plumber’s stated he would file a claim. Seller did what they needed to do, get estimates and submitted it to the plumber’s insurance company. We assumed the work was done, but the day before closing (transferring ownership to the buyer); I discovered that the claim was not made and the work was not completed. In contacting the plumber to get this issue resolved, he became difficult and rude. The end result: the seller submitted a claim with their insurance company, who will then try to get the money from the plumber’s insurance company.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Even if you get a referral from a friend, Google the contractor and look them up on the Better Business Bureau. See what other people are saying about them. I discovered this plumber had a D rating with BBB and poor follow through.
  2. Call Washington Department of Labor & Industries to make sure the contractor is Licensed and Bonded: 360-902-5226 or visit Washington Department of Labor & Industries
  3. Follow up! If you are not living in the house, ensure the work was done correctly and no other damages resulted.
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