Q33: When the water is turned on does it flow easily down the drain?

Again, this might seem like a very simple question, but if the water does not flow down the drain easily, you could be looking at calling a Professional plumber!

When water starts to flow down almost any drain that has a strainer on it, it takes a moment for the flow to circulate easily and begin to flow. The trick here is to see if after about 5-10 seconds has passed, the water flow catches up or if the flow down the drain is constricted and water remains in the sink bowl draining very slowly. This might be an issue easily resolved by a drain cleaning chemical OR it could be a sign that there are issues further down the pipe.

First, test the sink and then run water in the shower or tub. Watch the color of the water as well as the flow or water pressure coming out of the faucet and watch how quickly it drains out of the basin/tub.

If you’re interested in purchasing the home but the water draining out of the sinks or tub are an issue, ask the Realtor if they are aware of any problems or issues. Possibly it just needs a cleaning and you can make arrangements to look at the house again and see if they address the issue once you leave the first time. The issue could be the normal clog from hair or toothpaste—and that you can easily address with a variety of homemade remedies or well known drain clog chemicals. Look around the lot to see how close tree roots may be in the yard – could this be a job for licensed plumber or drain cleaning service?

Q34: Do the sink tub and shower drain properly?

You’ve probably noticed- the only thing different about this question is that it has added the shower. Our apologies! We’re working on replacing this question for the next version update.

Q35: Is the area under the sink free of any indication that pipes leak or are decayed?

Yep, you looking under the sink and sometimes the homeowners “stuff” is still stored there… but don’t think you’re snooping or that they will be embarrassed—you need to look at the pipes, back wall and floor of the cabinet. Just like the kitchen (Q29), you want to make sure that there aren’t signs of corrosion on the pipes, they’re properly connected, that there isn’t ugly mildew or mold on the back wall or that the flooring isn’t warped. If you need more info, we’ve covered this issue more fully in Q29…. Go back and click on that one!

Q36: Are there Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) installed for electrical outlets within 6 feet of the sink(s)?

Yes, again, there was a similar question asked about the outlets in the Kitchen (Q27), but it is just as applicable here if not more so. How many men and women leave their electric toothbrush or shaver charging on counter top? And have you ever read the tags on the hairdryer, curling irons or other personal appliances you might use in the bathroom—that’s exactly why there should be GFCIs! If you want more information about this fabulous invention, please go back to our blog for Q27…you won’t regret it.

Q37: Does the toilet operate properly? Is it stable on the floor and does not rock? Is the base area surrounding the toilet free from stains that indicate leaking?

This is a question is what you might call pretty loaded—but this one modern day necessity can be the trouble-free or a pain in the a*s!

Don’t hesitate to flush that commode—I’m sure that the Realtor and Homeowner expect a little hike in the water bill. You need to know if it’s going to drain easily or require a plumber, if the bowl fills or if there could be an issue with the tank hardware. Go ahead, flush!

Once you press that lever, also watch the exterior of the bowl. Do you see any water seeping or leaking? I had looked at a home and done the flush test when I suddenly realized that I was standing in a puddle of water—whomever had installed the new toilet had put the seal ring in upside down – not a good thing to have happen. And who knows… if that issue went on for long, there could be water leaks in the ceiling or rotting floorboards- neither of which you want to have happen. If you’re too embarrassed to take a quick seat and see if the toilet rocks to the left or right, then turn around, grab each side of the seat with a hand and see if it moves. Stability is key here.

Q38: Does the caulking around the tub and shower area appear in good condition?

You need to look at the tub caulking in two specific areas of the tub and shower area.

First, look at the places on the inside of the tub or shower where the wall surround meets the floor of the shower or the tub unit. If there is caulk in this spot, notice the condition— does it have peach, grey or black stains from mold or mildew? Are there breaks in the caulk where the tub or shower water could seep behind the surround causing water damage? There are many products that can address the mold or mildew, however the dampness inside the wall of the bathroom is a more serious issue that could cost a “pretty penny” to fix.

Now check the caulk on the exterior of the tub or shower unit where it butts against the bathroom floor. The caulk itself should be a nice crisp line from one end to the other. While you don’t expect a lot of water to be splashed out of the tub or shower, breaks in the caulk could mean that water seeps under the floor and begins to lay under the unit – and you know what they say when water sits in warm dark places – rot and mold are sure to happen eventually. Check each end of the tub or shower caulk as well – is it clean or does it need repair or replacement? Since from a topical view these are probably not major issues and require only replacement of any damaged or decaying caulk, if you do decide to put in an offer on this house, make sure you point out your concerns to the Professional Home Inspector which you have made a condition of your Purchase Offer.