Tips for Buying a Home with a Septic Tank

Posted by Justin Havre on Monday, August 19th, 2019 at 8:54am.

Should I Buy a Home with a Septic System?Homes with a septic system in Canada are actually better for the environment because there's less risk of raw sewage seeping into the environment. However, septic systems also come with specific responsibilities for the homeowners that they should know before going any further. For those considering buying a home with an older septic system, keep these tips in mind before putting in an offer.

Septic System Requirements

Canadian homeowners are required to follow the building codes laid out by their neighborhood. These regulations may vary from block to block, but buyers should think about the following:

  • State of the system: A septic system will last for about 25 years. The homeowners should know the condition of the system, especially if it's nearing its expiration date.
  • Future regulations: Canadian building codes may change year to year, so homeowners may want to research how the wind is blowing in their area. If environmental protection is the utmost priority, it will be easier to anticipate changes that may occur down the line.
  • Inspections: To keep the septic system working at its ideal capacity, homeowners should schedule an inspection at least twice a year. Prospective buyers should ask where the water is flowing, whether it has been fully maintained, and what type of soil lies beneath. Sandy soil (e.g., soil with very little clay) will work best for septic systems.

There's also the matter of tree roots. Tree roots may not interfere with the septic system as is, but it may only be a matter of time before the tree roots become a problem. Once a homeowner knows how the septic system functions today, it should be easier to determine how it will function tomorrow.

Preparing the Budget

Septic systems may need to reroute the backwash from time to time or replace the risers or filters. If there are any solids in the field plumbing, these will need to be removed as well. Experts recommend researching the costs of these repairs in the area prior to purchasing the homes. Some areas in Canada may charge more for basic services, especially if the septic system is located in a part of the property that's difficult to access. If any of these repairs need to be made before the buyer moves in, they have every right to renegotiate the price of the home with the seller. Buyers can ask for the seller to either cover part or all of the costs so the buyer doesn't have to shoulder the entire burden.

The Stress of a New Routine

Buyers should consider how the septic system will react when they move in. For example, if the previous owners only had two people using the system on a daily basis, the septic system may not be able to handle a family of five. The extra pressure may cause the components of the septic system to break down quickly.

Some systems will need to be replaced entirely, especially if they're more than 15 years old. Again, the expense of preparing the system before moving in should be discussed with the seller. The seller may be persuaded to lower the cost of the home, pay for the closing costs, or complete the repairs on their own.

Glenrosa home buyers are highly encouraged to get to know their septic system inspector, so they can get a better sense of what the system can do. Buyers should be present when the inspector is touring the property and ask questions about what will help the system run more efficiently. The inspector will also prepare a report, but it's easier to learn about the system when buyers can see the condition of its interior mechanisms.

Justin Havre

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