A septic inspection is a basic responsibility that must be carried out as frequently as necessary. However, who shoulders much responsibility becomes a problem when such isn’t clearly defined.
This article serves as a response to one of the most frequently asked septic system-related questions; ‘Who pays for septic inspection when buying or selling a house?’.
About Septic Inspections
A septic inspection can either be visual or thorough. As the name suggests, visual inspections don’t go beyond observing the condition of a septic system mainly by what’s visible or seen. This isn’t as detailed and is largely limited.
A full septic inspection on the other hand is much more thorough and involves the use of specialized tools to determine the current state of a septic system. Key components such as the septic tank are inspected (including its interior) to determine if it’s overloaded or working properly.
Sometimes, pumping and maintenance work is preceded by inspection.
Other components such as the drain field are monitored for possible backflow among other things. In a nutshell, septic inspection seeks to ensure that the entire system is functional.
If there are any issues, they’re found and fixed.
Who Gets To Pay For Septic Inspection?
A lot of times, there are confusions between home buyers and sellers over whose responsibility it is to perform or pay for a septic inspection. Clarity of responsibilities is highly important and must be sorted out to avoid conflicts.
It’s important to understand the roles assigned to the different parties involved in the sale or purchase of a home. The question of who pays for a septic inspection largely depends on your location. In other words, it has to do with which state you live in.
While certain states require sellers to cover inspection costs, others assign such responsibilities to buyers.
Therefore, whether it’s your responsibility to pay for septic inspection or not is determined by your location. You’ll have to find out what applies to your state.
The Role Of Timing Caveats
Timing caveats play a critical role in determining where responsibility falls to.
This is better understood in terms of where you live. Certain states have guidelines over who does or pays for a septic inspection. Some agreements require that inspections be done within a specified period of time, say 30 days before the closing date.
Here, if the seller bears the cost of the inspection, such inspection must only be carried out after an accepted contract.
Doing so before the contract will require a repeat inspection which adds to the total costs.
Full Disclosures Are Necessary
When buying a home, a buyer is expected to know all about its conditions.
This includes the condition of the septic system. As such, a seller must convey such knowledge comprehensively to enable the buyer to determine if the deal is worth considering.
All states require such disclosures as a way of protecting both buyers and sellers. As a seller, there’s no way of knowing your septic tank’s condition without inspection. As such, you’ll need to pay for such inspection as a way of knowing beforehand the condition of your system.
This action protects you from future septic issues that may lead to complaints from buyers. There are possibilities of disagreements arising long after a sale.
Paying for your own septic inspection as a seller protects you from any liabilities.
Let’s Be Clear
As a home seller, if there are any issues with the septic system you knew about and didn’t disclose, it will be considered fraudulent. You get the bear the full cost for any repairs relating to the problem even after a sale.
Septic Issues Found at Inspection
During a septic inspection, there’s a likelihood of issues or problems arising. Normally, other such issues are fixed by the seller, but problems found during an inspection required for purchase are considered negotiable.
There are multiple ways of determining who pays for such inspection.
One way is to split repair costs between seller and buyer. Another involves sellers covering the cost of such repairs. Still yet, a third alternative may involve the seller giving the buyer some closing credits that are equal to the repair cost.
The seller may still decide to do nothing when the agreement isn’t reached. Under this situation, the potential buyer may walk away from such a transaction without legal consequences.
Asking For Expert Opinion
In your bid to have clarity on who pays for the septic inspection, it’s necessary to seek the opinion of an expert. Your local real estate professional is a great place to begin.
Such professionals give you a head-start about who bores the responsibility for payment.
Paying Attention To Details
You must pay close attention to the contract details. The fine prints on obligations for both parties must be fully understood. The secret to a successful negotiation rests on being knowledgeable.
That way, you get to determine if a deal is worth your time or not.
What’s The Cost Like?
Before a septic system inspection is performed, you’ll need to understand the cost implications.
This is an important point of consideration when it comes to the purchase or sale of homes. Depending on where you live, septic inspection costs normally range from $300 to $600.
The septic inspection costs incurred are determined by several factors including the size of your tank. Tank sizes vary from 1,000 to 1,500. How detailed do you need the inspection?
In most cases, a thorough inspection is necessary especially when purchasing or selling a home.
Who Performs A Septic Inspection?
A professional septic contractor must get hired for an inspection job.
Some sellers or buyers look for the easiest way out by hiring the services of general home inspectors. Although these are professionals when it comes to home inspections, they aren’t when matters of septic systems are being considered.
Septic contractors perform a much thorough job by being on the lookout for possible ground contamination through septic tank cracks. Also, certain tools (including a sludge judge) are used to determine the state of a septic tank.
We’ve seen so far that payment responsibility for septic inspection is determined by where you live. Issues found at inspection may require the sharing of such responsibilities based on agreements by both parties.
If you’ve read to this point, you should be better informed about what’s involved.
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