BUYER BEWARE: DON'T SKIMP ON SEPTIC INSPECTION

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Carol Clark Realty Group

In the last 6 months, I have had two septic system inspections which revealed failing drainfield.  We are talking expensive repairs here.  Yes, I know the inspection is expensive if you hire a septic system company qualified to perform a thorough inspection of the system.  I am aware of only one or possibly two companies in my city who pump the tank, inspect the tank, probe the drainfield, take soil borings, and present the Buyer with a report stating the condition of the system and any recommended repairs. 

Don't settle for anything less.  Get the best inspection you can.  Question a number of companies until you find someone you feel is highly qualified to inspect your system.  Be sure the company you choose will warrant their work.   Don't fore-go the inspection because the Seller hasn't experienced any problems.  My experience has shown that the Seller usually doesn't know the system is in the process of failure.  After closing, your new home is yours with or without an adequate septic system.  In summary,  I highly recommend whole house inspections to include inspection of the septic system if one is in place.

 

Comments (9)

Minnesota Home Staging Firm, Minnesota
Minnesota Home Staging Network~ MN's Top Home Staging Firm - Inver Grove Heights, MN

Great Blog. I know someone who skimed on this and REALLY paid for it afterwards.

 

May 03, 2007 12:55 AM
Antoinette Scognamiglio, GRI, ASP
Coldwell Banker Realty - Mountain Lakes, NJ
There's no substitute for EXPERIENCE!

Carol,

Right on!  I've encountered several deals where the septic was an ISSUE!  A deal killer!  I'm now int he process of educating a homeowner who is listing his mother's home w/me...has no clue about septics.  Thought the house was sewer even!  Told him to invest the $$$ in an inspection before listing to evaluate any corrective action and avoid unpleasant surprises!

At the very least, a buyer should expect to be able to flush the toilet without having sewage flowing through his home!  LOL

Have a fantastic day all!

May 03, 2007 12:59 AM
Virginia Halter
RE/MAX Signature Properties - Harrisburg, NC
ABR, CDPE, CRS, GREEN, SFR, SRES

In NC we don't have these types of inspections.  We do have a septic inspection but it is basically just to ensure that the leech field doesn't back up and get moist.  It is a very 'low-tech' inspection.

I have had several clients from parts of the country who are accustomed to the super thorough, pump, pull, probe inspections but I have never heard of that in our area. 

May 03, 2007 12:59 AM
Jeff Fulgham
T.U.P. Realty - Tupelo, MS
Broker E-Pro ABR

I wish my parents had gotten an inspection on their system before they bought their home. I advised them to get one but the owner swore it worked fine. After moving in the found that when it rained the toilets would not flush. Evidently the rain filled the tanks and it was not draining out properly. After that the health department informed them that none of the systems in that area worked very well. They were forced to have a treatment plant put in.

 

May 03, 2007 01:01 AM
Elizabeth Ruvo
Watson Realty Corp. - Ormond Beach, FL
BA, CRB
I was just talking about this with an associate yesterday.  There are real horror stories out there about septic systems. 
May 03, 2007 01:02 AM
Michael Ross
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Beverly, MA
North Shore of Boston
We have title V and it covers all the mandates of a septic system prior to conyeyance of a property. As a Buyer's Agent in MA when dealing with septic systems and als o wells for water I recommend an additional inspection as well. 
May 03, 2007 01:14 AM
Virginia Halter
RE/MAX Signature Properties - Harrisburg, NC
ABR, CDPE, CRS, GREEN, SFR, SRES
Michael -  You should write a post on Title V.  Those are the folks that get completely wigged out of their gourds when we don't have the same septic inspection that they are used to.  You guys have ROUGH inspections, sounds like.
May 03, 2007 03:01 AM
Don Fabrizio-Garcia
Fab Real Estate - Danbury, CT
Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate

I just recently had a septic fail the inspection - twice. (the sellers had a second inspection done to verify).  My buyers walked, as the seller was not wanting to replace the septic.

I strongly, strongly recommend sellers get the home and the septic inspected prior to listing.  Gets rid of surprises!

May 03, 2007 03:13 AM
Dick Betts
TOUCHSTONE REAL ESTATE - The Villages, FL
REALTOR® The Villages, Florida

I am coming to the Tallahassee Board of REALTORS January 24th and 25th.  I hope you had a chance to sign up for the two great days of Mobile Technology training.  Here's a link about what I will be presenting.  www.DickBetts.com/tally.html

Dick

Jan 04, 2008 02:46 AM