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Septic 101:  Home Buyer Precautions

checklist-e1438035281655Buying a home can be both exciting and stressful. You may care more about location and price, while your spouse has a certain size and design in mind. Regardless of how your tastes may differ, all can agree that the wastewater facilities need to be addressed. To help you out, here are a few questions you should ask regarding the septic system before making the decision to purchase a home.

Did the septic system pass inspection? It is wise for buyers to make sure the septic system of a potential home is in good working condition. A faulty system can hurt the value of your property, cost thousands of dollars in future repairs and cause serious harm to the environment. Some states realize the severity and have designed regulations to govern this. For example, in Massachusetts, there is a Title V requirement for real estate transactions demanding there be a septic inspection before the sale closes.

Can the septic tank handle the household’s water consumption? Every now and then, you get a tank that is too small for the amount of water that runs through it on a regular basis. This results in improper filtration and clogging. There are ways around it, but not without inconvenience to those living in the home. If you want the freedom to use as much water in your new home as you like, make sure the tank is large enough to accommodate your needs. Otherwise, your system will eventually break down and cost you an arm and a leg.

Is the lawn heavily saturated with water? Unless there was a recent storm, a lawn with puddles or marshy areas is a red flag. This could be indication of leaching failure and needs to be addressed before you start discussing down payments on the home.

When was the last time the tank was serviced? Hopefully, the current homeowner has kept good records of septic maintenance. The Board of Health is also a good source of information if nothing was tracked. We recommend septic pumping every 1 to 2 years, so if the tank has not been serviced in that time frame, you should request it be done before making a purchase.

We realize there are more obvious and fun criteria for selecting a house, so we wanted to remind you of a not-so-obvious, unexciting feature to consider when shopping for your next home. If you’d like a professional opinion or need a certified company to inspect a septic system, Contact Us or Request Service Now.