What to Know About Septic Inspections

Real Estate Broker/Owner with HomeBuyer Brokerage

Are you buying a home with a septic system?

septic distribution tank

When preparing an offer on a property, always include a home inspection. If a house is on well or septic or both, be sure to include an evaluation of these systems by a licensed and insured septic inspection company.

In Virginia and Maryland, the price of a septic inspection may range between $600 and $700 dollars. The inspection should include; pumping the septic tank, the examination of the in & out baffles, checking the flow diversion valve, locating and uncovering the distribution boxes, and probing the drain fields. If there are electrical components to the septic system, these should be evaluated as well. Recently, we've had several home buyers purchasing properties with septic systems.

Last spring, our buyers purchased a beautiful home in Maryland. Since the home was on well & septic, we included a 10 day contingency period to allow professionals to evaluate the systems. The owners had provided paperwork and receipts from another septic company showing that the septic had been pumped and evaluated. This company said the system was in good operating order. Our clients considered not including their own septic evaluation but decided the money was worth spending just to double-check.

And we are so glad our buyers included their own septic inspection!

The tank had been pumped however the drain fields were saturated and no longer percolating through the ground. With septic systems, if a drain field isn't working, it has to be fixed. Fortunately, the buyers and sellers came to an agreement and the sellers paid thousands of dollars to have the drain field moved and placed in working order. 

This week, homebuyers in Virginia included full septic, distribution box, and drain field evaluation. This property was well maintained and the sellers said they had replaced the distribution boxes two years prior. However, during the inspection, a crack was discovered in one of the distribution boxes. This will need to be replaced. 

If there's a moral to this story it's this: 

When buying a home on well & septic, always include a full inspection of the systems. Waiving a well & septic inspection could cost you thousands and thousands of dollars. 



Posted by

Victoria Lynne Henderson

Real estate broker and business owner of HomeBuyer Brokerage serving buyers in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Victoria was born in Washington D.C. and loves her hometown!

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Comments (4)

Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em: golfArizona@cox.net

So important to have areputable inspector.  Could cost you thousands down the road.   We made it to Friday, weekend is near.  Thanks again for your post.  Finish the week with a productive day.  bill

Nov 05, 2021 06:01 AM
Victoria Ray Henderson

Hi Bill, thank you for stopping by the blog! Happy Saturday to you and enjoy your weekend in beautiful Arizona!

Nov 06, 2021 04:56 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Septic systems are quite common in our area as well as private wells.  I will always caution buyers when the lots are small that septic is extremely important as a repair will be quite expensive as it would need to be an engineered system which could run beyond $35,000

Nov 05, 2021 06:38 AM
Victoria Ray Henderson

Hi Ed, thank you for the comment. You are so right! Our buyers in Maryland discovered a problem that cost close to $15,000. If a well is not yielding properly it can be a seriously expensive problem. Have a good weekend

Nov 06, 2021 04:55 AM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint-Idaho
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Informative post.  Many coming from city areas have no idea the importance of septic inspections.  Mark

Nov 05, 2021 02:14 PM
Victoria Ray Henderson

Hi Mark, thank you for the comment, and it's very true! I was one of those city people who knew nothing about well and septic. Once I became a licensed real estate agent and then broker, I learned how they work and how they should be maintained. I strive to educate buyers so they know how to live happilywith well & septic. 

Nov 06, 2021 04:53 AM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Platinum - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great information.  Thanks for sharing and make it a great day!

Nov 14, 2021 06:45 AM