Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Not on public sewer? Be sure to get a septic inspection...

Occasionally I help clients buy or sell property that is not hooked up to public utilities. These properties tend not to be located in urban or suburban areas, and are usually a bit more rural -- like Elverta, Rio Linda, Elk Grove or unincorporated Sacramento County or Placer County areas.

Recently I helped a buyer purchase a horse property home on acreage in Elverta, and while MLS stated that the home was on all public utilities, we observed that there were indeed septic tanks on the property.

Septic systems must be pumped and drained in order to be fully inspected. Do yourself a favor and do not stand downwind of the septic while it is being drained. It's pretty disgusting to smell.

In cases where the septic is easily accessible -- meaning that the location to the access points of the underground tanks is known, and the access points are not buried or require excavation -- pumping is approximately $350 and then the inspection itself is approximately $125.

Assuming the septic system is in good, functioning condition, having a septic company issue a "certification" may cost another $250. A certification means that the company will guarantee the system is operable for the next 2 years. Some lenders may require as a condition of funding a loan that buyers obtain a septic certification for homes not on public sewer. So if you are buying (or selling) a home on a septic system, I would be sure to budget at least $725 for a septic certification. Maybe more.

For homes on septic systems where the tanks, wells, leach lines, etc. are NOT in good condition, a certification may not be issued without repairs. This can get pretty expensive (thousands of dollars!) depending on what the issues are.

The costs of inspection, repairs, and certification are negotiable between buyer and seller.

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