Septic System Inspection Guidelines

    Do Not Forget to Check on Your Septic Systems! Here is Why… 

    A septic inspection is a home maintenance task that is easy to forget and deal with. They only exist in the backyard so it contributes to the idea of ‘out of sight, out of mine’. But, if the septic system fails, you are stuck with a problem that could have been easily avoided. 

    Plans or hopes of selling your home? A septic system inspection is required to do so. Being on top of this and keeping it in its best condition will save you thousands of dollars, if and when you do decide to sell. 

    Are you wondering when to get the inspection?

    The experts say your septic system should be inspected every three years. But, reality proves that many do not get their inspections done until there is actually a noticeable issue. These issues are seen with backed-up toilets, slow draining water, or actual leakage in the system. The inspection every three years helps to eliminate these types of issues. 

    This three-year ‘mark’ is also the time frame that your septic system should go without being pumped out. Any problem seen at the time of the inspection can save you money from having to replace the entirety of the system. If you decide to sell your home, throughout the time of closing having the certification of inspection will have everyone feeling at ease with no last-minute surprises. 

    Who should you call for help with your septic inspection? 

    Obviously, contact a professional septic contractor for the inspection. ‘General’ home inspectors only do a visual inspection, which can lead to missing some more internal issues. 

    An actual septic contractor looks specifically for cracks on or in the tank as seen by low levels of liquid. Solids within the tank are measured by the use of  ‘sludge judge’, which also checks for ground contamination. 

    How much does this inspection cost? 

    The price of the inspection is determined by the tank’s size which is either 1,000 or 1,5000 gallons. A basic inspection can cost between $300 to $600. A quick phone call to your local health department can determine if there can be an inspection done at a reduced price. 

    Who is obligated to get the inspection done? Buyer or seller?

    This answer depends on where the question is being asked, it is based on a state-to-state basis. In South Carolina and Texas, it is the buyers’ side that is responsible. It is a part of their ‘due diligence’ unless there were other circumstances agreed upon. 

    In certain states, the standard purchase agreement contract establishes that it is the seller’s side that is responsible for the septic inspection, within thirty days of the home’s closing date. But if you reside in a state that has this ‘time caveat’ do not complete the inspection before there is an approved contract or you might have to restart the entire process in order to meet the timeline of the purchase agreement. 

    Speak to one of the DeBonis Team’s local real estate professionals in order to be sure of whose obligation the septic inspection is. 

    Is it the seller’s responsibility to repair any septic issues?

    The obligation to pay for any and all septic repairs will usually fall into the hands of the seller. But, repairs found at the time of the inspection can be negotiated. 

    Terms negotiated within the contract can decide what the best course of action is. Sellers do have the option to complete the repairs themself and distributing the total cost between them and the buyers, provide the buyer with the option of completing the repair themselves or just refusing to do anything. 

    If there is no agreement made on the terms of the repair, the buyer has the legal right and option to not complete the transaction.

    In terms of the disclosure…

    Sellers are always required to disclose any known issues with a home to their buyers. When there is a septic issue present that the sellers knew about, even after the closing of the house, the sellers are still obligated to cover the entirety of the repair’s cost. 

     It is always a good idea for the sellers to complete their own septic inspections prior to or during the sale of the property.

    Contact the DeBonis Team with any questions you may have regarding your septic system, or any other questions you may have regarding the complex matters of purchasing and closing a real estate transaction.

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