Home Sellers Guide--Why is the permit for my septic system important?

Real Estate Agent with Allen Tate Company 704-905-3935 105804

Home Sellers Guide—Why is the permit for my septic system important?

If your North Carolina home is served by a septic system rather than city or county sewer, your listing agent must investigate the permit that was granted for the septic system when the house was built. Question Mark


When your home was approved for construction, the septic system was designed and permitted for the number of bedrooms to be built in the house.  If your home was permitted for a three-bedroom home, the septic drain field was designed and sized to accommodate a three-bedroom house.  A four or five-bedroom house

needs more capacity because presumably more people live in the house and therefore, the drain field needs to be larger.

The NC Real Estate Commission has taken the position that a home on a septic system must be marketed as having no more than the number of bedrooms on the septic permit.  That means that if your home was built as a three bedroom house with a bonus room and you converted the bonus room into a bedroom, your listing agent can only market the home as a three bedroom.  According to the Commission, marketing the property as a four bedroom could be seen as encouraging overuse of the property’s sewage system.  This could be seen as a misrepresentation of a material fact.  If the system fails after the sale, you could be held liable for addressing the problem.

What is a bedroom?

The Multiple Listing Service defines a bedroom as a room of at least 80 square feet that has permanent clothes storage (a closet), is accessible through a heated hallway or stairway not another bedroom and has exterior egress such as a window or a door.  That’s why you can’t call a bonus room or office without closets bedrooms.  It can be explained in the remarks that they are used as bedrooms but the home must be marketed as having the number of bedrooms on the septic permit.

What if you have more bedrooms than permitted or if a copy of the permit cannot be found?

If the permit is available, you should disclose the situation to potential buyers.  If no permit is available, the lack of a permit must also be disclosed.  If the discrepancy between the number of bedrooms and the permit is large enough to affect the marketability of your home, you may want to investigate increasing the capacity of the septic system.

Considering a sale of your current home? Request a free comparative market analysis and evaluation.

Copyright 2012.  Carol Fox.  Allen Tate Realtors.  *Home Sellers Guide—Why is the permit for my septic system important?*

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