Home Buying: Septic Inspection Checklist

Septic Inspection

Buying a house requires much due diligence of all parties involved, but ultimately, the buyer is responsible for ensuring that the home gets inspected prior to closing the sale. Not all homes have septic systems, but for those that do, a septic inspection is an important part of the home buying process. Here are some things to consider when purchasing a home with a septic system inspectation: 

Talk to the Seller

Ask questions! Be sure to ask the seller about any issues they’ve had with their septic system and ask for documentation on repairs or replacements. Also, ask which company or companies they’ve had do work on their septic system, then if the seller can’t answer your questions you can contact the company who worked on the system to get answers. 

Take a Look

As you are examining the property, take a look at the septic system. Do you notice any standing water, odors or depression in the ground? If so, be sure to flag the concern and share with the professionals during your septic inspection. 

Bring in the Experts

Most home inspectors do not inspect the septic system and those who do, they may not be able to speak to the complex in’s and out’s of modern septic systems. Therefore, it’s important to work with a licensed septic installation company. If the seller provides the septic inspection, be sure to get a copy of the report for your records.

Understand the Costs

Regardless of the results of the inspection, ask the company to provide you with both maintenance quotes for potential unit repairs and a quote to replace the entire system. Ask that they include dates for how long their quote is valid. This will help with future planning. 

If the septic system needs immediate repairs or replacement, talk to your real estate agent about potentially requesting the sellers help cover these costs or reduce the sale price to accommodate your future expense.  

Speak with the Inspector  

Be present for the inspection! This will ensure that you get all of your decision making information straight from the horse’s mouth, rather than through the filter of the seller or real estate agent. Additionally, if you purchase the home, this is a great opportunity to establish a relationship with the septic professionals. 

Plan for Future Septic Inspectation and Maintenance

Septic systems generally last 25-30 years and should be inspected every three years to ensure proper function. Building these costs into your budget and staying on top of regular inspections will help to prevent any unexpected septic issues down the road.