Thinking of Selling Your Home and have an on site septic system
Technology has impacted many areas of society and changed the way we do business. As a real estate company involved with the sale of many rural properties we are finding as technology has improved for the waste water industry there are more issues being discovered in relation to on site septic systems. A video inspection can be done from the house to the tank and from the tank to the field bed. An electronic wand can track the video lens from above ground to follow underground piping relating to the septic system.
Industry experts state the life expectancy of an on site septic system is 30 to 40 years. So the age of your house can be an indication of the remaining life of the on site system. Regulations pertaining to anything to do with the environment have changed drastically over the years and many older systems were not installed to standards acceptable today. In the last month I've had two properties I've sold where the septic systems were discovered to be defective and the owners found themselves in a position of being asked by the buyers to pay the cost of installing a new septic system at a cost of $12,000+HST. Where the lot is undersized by today's standards I have seen engineered septic systems that cost in the $20,000 to $30,000 range especially if water front. The old days of using a 45 gallon barrel for a tank and running a line to the ditch or harbor are long gone and in fact illegal.
So if you have an older home with an on site septic system what do you do. There is nothing more frustrating for a home seller than negotiating an agreed upon price and then being expected to pay for or share in the cost of a new septic. In the two I mentioned previously in both cases the buyers and sellers shared in the cost. Now in both cases the systems worked fine most functioning tanks with straight lines to the ditch do and in both cases the sellers had no idea there was a problem with their septic systems.
Here's my recommendation before listing your house for sale have your septic system checked by a professional who will give you a written report you can supply to the buyers if everything is okay. If not okay you can have any issue remedied before listing and allow for the cost in your listing price or disclose the issue and cost to the buyer and negotiate a price which allows you to share in the cost. The key ingredient here is knowledge. You know what you are dealing with and avoid being blind sided by a cost you weren't expecting. Spend a little to possibly save a lot. Makes sense to me.