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"Pre"inspecting a Septic System

We work with contractors who are knowledgeable and like to fix things. 

For a traditional bank loan a passing Title V report for the septic system is a major requirement. On my first listing, a wonderful pond view home on Union Pond in Wareham, the owner mentioned that he had an older system. It passed in 2010 when he bought it, but he wasn’t sure how to handle it in 2018. A new system close to the water can easily run $30,000 or more. It was recommended by our broker to have the system looked at before it was formally inspected so that we could learn if it was likely to pass, and if not see if there were fixes that could be made. 

The inspector noticed that it needed a new pump, and some work on the leaching field. It ended up costing less than $2,000. A less creative inspector may have simply written it off as a failure. Especially if simply asked to do a pass fail inspection. Needless to say the homeowner was thrilled. 

Since then I’ve learned how to read septic reports, and while I can’t give recommendations I can put people in contact with those who can. 

In 2021 I was working on another waterfront listing. A large home built in 2009. The owner was a mason, and he parked his work truck every day for 12 years on top of the system causing damage to. Because it was pre inspected he was able to fix the problem for relatively short money.

More recently in Spring 2022 I had a couple selling their home. They insisted on choosing an inspector themselves. Well, the system failed, and he recommended a new system. I looked at the report, saw that the tank was in good condition, but that the leaching field needed attention. I reached out to one of the septic installers that we recommend. He looked at the report, and agreed it could be fixed. It was still a major repair, but it saved them over $10,000 vs replacing the system. These people did not have the ability to pay the repair out of pocket so we worked out a deal that they would reimburse the contractor after closing.

The Realtors at Upper Cape Realty are all taught this trick, and I’m not the only agent to add value for our clients this way.

Who you work with matters.

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