Septic Inspection Step By Step Guide for Real Estate Transactions

Whether you are a prospective homeowner looking to buy a new home or a real estate developer looking to make a profit by flipping a house, there are a ton of aspects of real estate transactions to look at before you make the final purchase. One of the most important parts of any real estate sale is an inspection of the home’s septic system. This can seem like a daunting task, but with the right septic system inspection company, the process can be quick and easy.

Before you buy a home with a septic system, take a look at this helpful step-by-step guide for septic system inspection for home sales to understand what aspects of the septic system need to be inspected, and what the septic inspector will be looking at during their evaluation.

Who Pays For Septic Inspection – Buyer or Seller?

Ultimately, the area in which the home is located will determine who is responsible for paying for a septic system inspection. In several states, including Texas and South Carolina, the payment for a septic system inspection falls on the buyer during their option period. This is considered to be part of due diligence on the buyer’s behalf unless otherwise agreed upon with the seller.

However, in Virginia, standard purchasing agreements state that the cost of a septic system inspection falls on the seller. The seller must have their septic system inspected within 30 days of the closing date. In states with the same septic system inspection regulations as Virginia, the seller should only conduct the septic system inspection once the contract has been accepted. Otherwise, they could be required to pay for a second septic system inspection if the first prospective buyer backs out. The best way to find out who’s responsible for the cost of a septic system installation, reach out to a local real estate agent.

The Steps for a Basic Septic Inspection Includes:

Flushing Toilets and Running Water to Check for Backups

This is something any homeowner or home buyer can do in the home quickly and easily. Flush the toilets and see if any of them back up. Turn the faucets on in the house for a while and see if the fixtures are draining properly or if any of them are backing up. If you see any of the water in the home is backing up, you need to perform a comprehensive inspection below to determine the issue.

A Comprehensive Septic Inspection Includes the Following:

Locating the Septic Tank and the Draining Field

If the current homeowner does not know where the tank and drain field are, then they will need to be located on the property. This is one of the most important steps for a homeowner to do before the inspector arrives to save both time and money on the septic inspection costs.

Remove the Septic Tank Cover

This step is important as it gives the inspector access to the internal parts of the tank for a comprehensive septic tank inspection. Homeowners can also do this step prior to the inspector arriving.

Determine the Level of Sludge in the Septic Tank

In this step, the inspector will use a sludge testing instrument to determine the exact level of sludge in the tank. The instrument is a long, hollow, and transparent rod that the inspector will dip into the tank till it reaches the bottom. Upon pulling the rod back up, the amount of wastewater and sludge in the rod determines many aspects of the condition of the tank. Sometimes, an inspection may yield a recommendation to have your septic tank pumped, other times something more extensive needs to be corrected to pass inspection.

Test for Septic Leaks

Determining if the septic tank is leaking is a crucial part of the septic inspection. This requires the inspector to fill the tank, mark the water level on the riser or wall of the manhole opening, and then check the level 24 hours later to make sure there are no points in the tank or system that are leaking.

Inspect the Inlet and Outlet Baffles

This step of the septic inspection involves inspecting both baffles of the septic tanks which are crucial components of waste flow from the house and into the drain field. The inlet baffle on a septic tank is a component that helps solids settle in the tank when waste is discharged from the house. The outlet baffle helps to prevent solid waste from being drained into the leaching field.

The inspector will check these components for cracks, corrosion, and other signs of wear and tear. They will also check to make sure the valves are tight and everything is firmly attached.

Check Septic Filters and Water Flow

The final step of the septic system inspection entails checking the filters and flow rate of the system. This is done by measuring the volume of water flowing through the system over a period of time. If the flow rate is too low, then the filter needs to be replaced. They will also check if there is water draining into the tank which is a sign of a leak in the tank. Also, they will check if there is any back-flow into the tank which may be an indicator of problems in the drain field.

Can I Sell My Home WIth A Failed Septic System?

Whether or not a home can be sold with a failed septic system depends upon where the home is located. However, some local laws can prevent homeowners from selling their homes with a failed septic system.

More often than not, the homeowner’s finances are the reason why they choose to sell their home with a failed septic system. Many loan providers will not approve a prospective buyer’s loan on a home with a failed septic system. In situations like these, the homeowner must repair the failed septic system before selling the home. In many cases, the homeowners will sell to a real estate investor, which doesn’t require financing.

With all that said, it is possible to sell a home with a failed septic system. However, the seller should expect a smaller group of buyers, a lower sale price, and a much longer listing period.

What Is A Septic Escrow Agreement?

When buying a home, prospective buyers sometimes discover damage or major repair and improvements that need to be made in a home they would like to purchase. In some cases, the seller will agree to fix or improve the home before ownership changes hands in order to sell the home. However, sometimes the seller does not have the financial capability needed to perform repairs or improvements to the home, and the prospective buyer may not want to foot the bill either. Therefore an escrow agreement may be needed to allow the money from selling the home to be used to fund repairs and improvements.

A septic escrow agreement pertains specifically to the septic system. When a homeowner does not want to perform necessary repairs, or they do not have the financial means to perform septic repairs, they can create a septic escrow agreement. This agreement means that when the homeowner sells the home, they will use part of the profits to repair or replace the septic system.

Who Can Do a Septic System Inspection?

Though homeowners can perform some of these inspection steps, you should hire an expert septic inspector to help you complete all of them. An experienced septic inspector has extensive knowledge about how septic systems work and what issues may arise. They have the training and tools needed to inspect every aspect of the septic system. Acuantia offers complete septic service for homeowners and is your best choice for septic system inspection in California, Texas, South Carolina, Wisconsin and other parts of our extensive service area. If you need an inspection on the condition of the septic in your new or existing home or property, trust it to the best septic company in the business, Acuantia. Call (888) 702-2502 now or submit a request online to schedule your inspection.

If you are a septic inspector or on-site wastewater service provider, we would love to hear from you. Contact us today about how we can get you more business by becoming a service partner.

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