Selling your home could lead to expensive surprises


KENMORE, N.Y. (WIVB) – If you are about to sell your home that you have been living in your for 5 years or more, you could be in for a couple of big surprises.

First ring suburbs such as Tonawanda, Amherst, and the Village of Kenmore require a sump pump, which can tack thousands of dollars onto the sale price, even if water has never been an issue.

The sump pumps have to be inspected with the homes electrical circuitry and plumbing, which can lead to other surprises.

If you bought a home recently, in one of the close-in suburbs, you know about the sump pumps, but if you’ve been living in your house for many years, it could be a rude awakening, especially if there is a local law that requires the sump pump to be tied into your storm sewer.

The Village of Kenmore requires the tie-in, and Village Clerk/Treasurer Kathleen Johnson says it is mandated by the State Department of Environmental Conservation, “To make sure that we are keeping the storm water and the sanitary sewer water separate, and avoiding overflows into the system.”

It is those overflows of sewers and sewage treatment plants that has fouled Western New York waterways, and forced the closure of beaches.

But Johnson said, the village also requires the tie-in, a vent pipe–or bubbler–near the curb, and a plumbing inspection to make sure the sump pump is connected to the storm sewer, because with smaller yards in the Kenmore, water spilling out of downspouts can be hazardous.

“It just makes sure the water is kept within that dirt area–the grassy area–of the property, as opposed to going onto the right of way onto the sidewalk,” where the water can freeze in cold weather, leading to a slipping hazard.

Plumbing and electrical inspections often lead to other surprises, such as mandatory hard wired smoke alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors that have to be installed by licensed plumbers—adding time and money to the sale, but Johnson says the village can offer a waiver to prevent critical delays.

“Generally speaking, we give them 30 days to comply. It can be extended beyond that upon written request if there’s reasons why they can’t–they are unable to get their contractor out soon enough, or whatever the reason might be.”

But the DEC is also requiring Kenmore to maintain and repair their sewer and water lines–expensive mandates that far exceed the village’s Sewer Fund. So village officials tacked on a surcharge to water and sewer bills, starting this past June, due to the state mandate.

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