We Love The House! We've Never Had A (Insert Item Here) Before!

Real Estate Agent with Realty ONE Group Mountain Desert

I spent my morning watching a septic certification. I'd never been through one before so it was a learning experience. As I listened to their initial report, this blog post came to mind.

It was obvious that: A. The previous owners had never used/maintained a septic tank/field before and B. Didn't ask anyone how to do it.  Hence, the name of this post.

This is something I learned many years ago when I bought my first home with a pool. I'd grown up with a pool so I knew the basics but there was new technology. I called the installer and, lo and behold, they had a New Pool Owner school. In an hour, I had learned what I needed to maintain the pool as perfectly as I could. When I later sold the home, the pool was in great shape.

Please heed this my home buyers: If you have found your dream home with a feature that you've never had before, ASK FOR A NEW OWNER SCHOOL!!! This includes pools, septic tanks/fields, solar panels, and everything in between. Chances are the installer's information will be found somewhere on the equipment like the first step of the pool or on the back of a solar panel. If that doesn't pan out, ask your REALTOR® for their recommendations. I have a list of businesses that do these kinds of services and will voluntarily give them to my new home buyer.

The same thing goes for appliances - if you've never used the kind of appliances in your new home and the owner's manuals are nowhere to be found, Google will be your friend. Put in the make and model of your fridge, microwave, oven, dishwasher, etc and you should see the manufacturer's website come up. Many times, you'll find that manual in PDF form and free to download.

Don't fall into the "Oh, I can figure it out" mode. When in doubt, RTM: read the manual or ask someone for help. In the long run, you'll be much better off and not like what my septic inspection turned up this morning.


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Doug Rogers
Bayou Properties - Alexandria, LA
Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent

At my first septic inspection the guy shook my hand. We still laugh about this when we see each other!

Oct 15, 2012 12:10 PM #5
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer
Emmary. Google the appliance and you will find a wealth of information. I have older appliances and a subzero fridge. About once a year there is an appliance service call and every time I learn something new. The hood fan controls, for those that can flop out of sight, are the weakest point and cost over $300 to repair. Just leave them down.
Oct 15, 2012 09:05 PM #6
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

This post should be read by all agents and home buyers. Congratulations on the feature.

Oct 15, 2012 09:12 PM #7
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


Wow, I never thought about that. I have always been one od those guys that have tried to figure it out on my own but why not take advantage of a little more education?

Oct 15, 2012 09:35 PM #8
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

Great information here Emmy.  One of my buyers this year bought a home that had a pool.  They were SO excited about it.  Two months into the summer they hated the maintenance and weren't a fan of the pool.  

Oct 15, 2012 10:27 PM #9
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

That's an excellent idea!  I listed a rural property several years ago, which had a septic system, along with other equipment indigenous to a multi-acre ranch property.  The buyer was a city girl, who had come into a little money and wanted to join the horsey set.  Thank goodness we had just about every inspection and certification known to exist on the property before it closed escrow.  Afterwards, she took my seller to small claims court.  The main reason was a septic system problem.  The system meandered under a willow tree in the yard. 

When in court, I whipped out all the inspections. The buyer had selected the inspectors and paid them.  I had been called as a witness, rather than a party to the lawsuit.  As I handed the inspections to the judge, I said, "When the property was purchased, the grass wasn't greener over the septic tank, beneath the willow tree, Your Honor."  My seller prevailed.

Oct 15, 2012 10:29 PM #10
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate


Manuals, I don't need to read no stinking manuals. I do like the idea of a new homeowner school though. Every house I've ever come across had their own little idiosyncrasies.


Oct 15, 2012 10:31 PM #11
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Emmary, this is an excellent suggestion. I've found several manuals on the Internet by just Googling the part number.

Oct 15, 2012 10:50 PM #12
Ron Barnes
Associate Broker at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Georgia Properties - Jasper, GA
"Most agents claim they're #1 - I THINK YOU'RE #1!

We have a lady with the Health Department that I call "The Queen of Septic Tanks". She knows I'm kidding because she is so knowledgeable about their care and maintenance, not to mention the location of every tank in the county! Inspections are a great idea for buyers. There are do's and don'ts.

Oct 15, 2012 10:58 PM #13
Kim Peasley-Parker
AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc. - Sumter, SC


Good points.  So many times many home owners have no idea about their septic system maintenance.  I was raised with one and many things are second nature to me.  But I know many people who put anything and everything down the drain so to speak.  Bleach and cleaners are not the septic tanks friends!


Oct 16, 2012 12:12 AM #14
Kathryn Maguire
GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

This is such a great topic.  Things like septic systems are incredibly expensive to replace and one hour of studying up on them can save you tens of thousands of dollars.

Oct 16, 2012 12:17 AM #15
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

This post could apply for many systems.

If you've always had forced-air heating, and the new house has a boiler.

If you've always had peaked roofs, and this house has a flat composite roof.

If you've always lived in the city, with a patio, and this house has an acre of land...

If you've always lived in a brick home, and the new one is clapboard.

Pay a little attention... do your due diligence and learn how to care for your new home.

Oct 16, 2012 01:23 AM #16
Bryan Robertson
Intero Real Estate - Los Altos, CA
Broker, Author, Speaker

This is funny because I had a conversation with a buyer who had never had a home with a septic tank.  He asked all sorts of questions about how often they're serviced etc.  Once he understood how easy it is to maintain, there were no concerns and he was ready to make an offer.

Oct 16, 2012 01:57 AM #17
Harry Logan
RE/MAX executives realty - Winnipeg, MB

What an interesting idea Emmary!

I never thought about it but you're right, there have got to be lot's of service providers and suppliers who'd be happy to teach you how to use the new equipment you just bought.

Thanks for the idea!


Oct 16, 2012 02:00 AM #18
Paul Weir
Re/Max Performance - Grass Valley, CA

Hi Emmary,

Right on, great post. 


Oct 16, 2012 02:01 AM #19
Reuben Fine
Fill-In-The-Blanks PDF Flyer Templates www.TurnKeyFlyers.com - Rossmoor, CA

RTM... great advice!

Oct 16, 2012 02:45 AM #20
Kevin Mackessy
Blue Olive Properties, LLC - Highlands Ranch, CO
Dedicated. Qualified. Local.

Always head to Google to try and get a handle on your problem yourself.  You learn quite a lot doing it on your own.  Once things are out of your expertise call the professionals!

Oct 16, 2012 03:06 AM #21
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging that Sells Portland Homes"

I've printed out appliance manuals using Google and found that SO helpful! Nice that you've found local resources for New Owner School too.

Oct 16, 2012 03:20 AM #22
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


I like your idea of a school for new features in a home.  Your ability to provide that service to your clients is a real plus.

Oct 16, 2012 03:33 AM #23
Sussie Sutton
UTR Texas Realtors - Pearland, TX
UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers.

RTM! I LIKE THAT! lol too funny. However, you can also find the info on the internet. But if you are like me I do better hands on and I would suggest the school.

Oct 29, 2012 10:49 AM #24
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Emmary Simpson

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