Buying or Selling a Home with a Septic System
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Home with a Septic System
If you are buying a home with a septic system, now is the time to make sure it is working properly. Some states require that a seller conduct an inspection. Even if your state does not require this, you should have the system inspected before buying the house. Start with your health department to see if they do this, or if they can provide a list of qualified inspectors who do.
It is not in everyone’s best interest to fix a septic system simply with something similar to what failed before. Remember, a leach field connected to a partially treating system has a 20-year-or-so lifetime before it plugs with debris and grease. Hopefully, you do not end up in a home where this plugging does not show itself until a few years into your ownership.
It is a good idea to ask the previous owner for any records of septic system service and inspection, and also to ask directly if they have observed issues, such as foul smells in the house or yard, or recurring puddles in the dispersal area.
The type of replacement sewage treatment system is a negotiable point with the seller. It is common for $25,000 to be escrowed for a system replacement. This is enough money to get a good full-treatment system that will make your experience in your new home and yard much better. The cost difference between the best full treatment system available and a partial treatment system is typically no more than $5,000.
Finally, when purchasing a home with an existing septic system, be sure to ask your homeowner’s insurance agent about adding sewage protection to your policy in case of a catastrophic system failure or backup of sewage into the house.
Read More: How to Choose a Fail-Safe Septic System
What You Need to Know Before Selling a Home with a Septic System
Your septic system will need to pass an inspection before you can sell your home. If it fails, you may need to replace the system entirely.
Even if designed to today’s standards, treatment systems that are poorly maintained or undersized for current home water usage, or don’t have fail-safe mechanisms to prevent solids and grease from flowing to the yard, will cause a dispersal field failure. This occurs over time, as the soil in a leach field or mound becomes plugged. This is an irreversible failure and, unfortunately, is a primary reason that many conventional septic systems fail mandatory public health inspections when an owner is selling a property.
If you need to replace your septic system, you will have some tough choices to make in order to maintain the selling value of your home. Should you sacrifice more acreage of your land for a new leach field? Or should you haul in a special grade of sand to create a mound? And should you add an aeration pre-treatment system to save land that otherwise will be dedicated to sewage treatment?
Another option to consider is installing a full-treatment system like the LandSaver® MBR. This system is fail-safe and will always pass inspections. It also can save land area and solve problems related to poor soils and topography. If you have a buyer for your home, you may be able to negotiate with them to split some of the upfront investment costs so the new owner gets better treatment and a system that will save them money in the long run.
So, whether or not you’ve run out of room for a conventional tank and leach field septic system, the LandSaver® MBR could be your perfect solution.