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Chevy Tymosko
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Buying a Home with a Septic System
Thursday, June 12, 2014 @ 8:18 AM
Posted By: Chevy Tymosko
Last week I helped a client who was buying a home with a septic system which was not on a municipal sewage system. Sewage waste is certainly not a common subject for most people especially if you have lived in an urban area. Homes that are out in the country do not have access to municipal services and will most likely have a septic system. If you are buying a home with a septic tank there are some things one must consider. You must ensure that you address this topic when writing your offer and you must ensure that you have some knowledge of how to use and maintain your septic system. The purpose of this article is to provide you some very general information about septic systems. There are different types of septic systems and I am not an expert so I won't be addressing all that in this forum. The most common one that I personally come across over the past thirty years I have been selling, are made of concrete and have two chambers and will hold about 1000 gallons. The tank is buried in the yard several feet away from the home and connected to the homes plumbing system by a large sewage pipe. The furthest chamber has a leaching tile bed in the shape of tines of a fork leading further out into the yard. As this system is entirely underground it may be hard when viewing the home to know exactly where the system is. If the home owner is not home and you are unsure of where the septic system is located sometimes you can tell by looking in the basement if is unfinished. You might be able to see where the main sewer pipe leaves the home through the concrete wall. Sometimes you can see an area of grass that is greener as the waste has nutrients that cause the grass to grow quicker over the septic bed. Often the septic bed will be raised and there might be a noticeable area of ground that seems higher than the rest of the property. The way this system functions is that the effluent or waste leaves the home and enters the first chamber where any solids sink to the bottom while the liquids, when they reach the top spill over into the second chamber where the same process occurs. There should be a baffle between both chambers and the leaching bed to prevent solids from moving through the system. The natural bacteria in the system help break down the solids over time and help keep the system functioning properly. Should these baffle be missing or broken the solids could plug the leaching bed which could cause the system to perhaps back up. If it is working properly having both chambers pumped by a septic pumping company every 3-5 years seems to be the general rule of thumb. It is crucial for the proper maintenance and functioning of a septic system that the residents of the home do not use anti bacterial wash products especially bleach as this will kill the natural bacteria and flora of the septic system. Feminine waste products should not be flushed as these may break down and may plug up the system. Further no vehicle or heavy equipment should ever be driven over the septic or tile bed as this may crush the components. When buying a home with a septic system we want to ensure that the system is functioning properly and has been maintained by the present homeowner. I would recommend that your Offer to Purchase contains clauses that address this subject. It would be good to know that the septic was installed according to the authorities having jurisdiction and that it is wholly within the boundaries of the property and that the homeowner has had no trouble with it during their occupancy. I would further recommend that the offer contain a condition stating that the homeowner agrees to have the septic system pumped so that it may be inspected by a professional. Understandably this professional can only give you a report on the parts that he can see. The tile bed is not visible. A septic system is an expensive item and essential item, so you can see it would be wise should you be considering a property of this nature to make sure that you choose a REALTOR who has the knowledge and experience to be able to draft an offer that protects your interest. Feel free to contact me when looking to buy your home. I would be happy to help. For more Real Estate Information go to
Category: Real Estate

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