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Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

I don't know where you are, but in AZ, a septic system needs to be certified and pumped during a real estate transaction. If financing, lender will likely require it.

Again not knowing where you are, it is customary in AZ for the seller to provide the septic cert. It can be negotiated that the buyer pays for it -- in a lot of foreclosure transactions they do.

No matter who pays for it, you need to have it done.

The good news is that a 25 year old septic system can be perfectly functional, and conversely, a two year old septic system may not pass muster.

You need to hire a qualified certified septic contractor to go over your system with a fine-toothed comb and make sure it is fine no matter the remaining terms of your contract. It is quite important.

ALSO, how big is your lot? How close is the tank to a well or swimming pool? Or the next door neighbor's fence? If that septic was to fail, is there room to install another septic & leach field?

Again, these are important questions for a qualified professional to figure out.

Dec 12, 2018 03:54 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

If I were buying a house with a septic system I'd ask for a clean out and pumpers report from the seller.  That being said I have lived in homes with septic tanks for most of my life... since I was 9 years old and never had an issue at any of them.  Not planting trees for roots to get in the drain field and not not flushing thing not appropriate for septic tanks is key to a maintence free system

Dec 12, 2018 03:23 PM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

Absolutely, the last septic system one of my clients installed was $30,000.

Dec 12, 2018 04:36 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Since we do not know your location, check with your trusted real estate agent( yours, not the listing agent).  Private sewage disposal systems in our area should be tested, pumped(if necessary) and certified). The costs are negotiatble but should be a part of your inspection duty/ due diligence time period.   Again, check with your local real estate representative for specific details to ensure this is handled properly. Good luck.

Dec 12, 2018 05:15 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Absolutely! Separate inspection by a company who specializes in septic systems.

Also, have the sellers request that it be cleaned out while they are there to inspect it. It's cheaper to do it now than wait until after Closing. (You'll have to pay a separate service call fee if you do it later.)

Dec 12, 2018 05:05 PM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker


 Inspected, including the drain field, and the pipe from the house.

 Also, check with city/county building department or health department to make sure it is grandfathered in.  In some cities in Florida (including northeast Tallahassee, and south of Tallahassee in Wakulla County), the government is forcing people onto central sewer systems.  That can be VERY expensive.

Dec 12, 2018 03:49 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

It would be wise and prudent to have it inspected by a local and reputable company. 

Dec 12, 2018 04:33 PM
Steve Higgins
RE/MAX Kelowna - Kelowna, BC

Yes have it pumped and inspected.

Dec 12, 2018 04:05 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

HAVE IT INSPECTED! And yes I meant to shout. I also prefer having a master plumber check the septic system.

Dec 12, 2018 03:21 PM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

in MA, the seller is required to provide a title 5 certificate that says the septic system is in good working order....

find out what your state laws are.... a septic company does the MUST have it done.... the life of a system is usually 20-25 years....depending on how well it was maintained...

Dec 12, 2018 03:04 PM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011
HomeSmart - Scottsdale, AZ
Real Estate Made Easy

If you were my client I would advise having the septic pumped and inspected by a competent company.

If not too late I would also make your contract contingent on the results of the inspection.

Dec 12, 2018 02:43 PM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

It's good to get it inspected. Inlet and outlet T's, seals, access caps should be looked at, and distribution box should be dug up and inspected. Sometimes a dye test will be done to check drain field. Tank should not be pumped until after it's inspected. it's also a good idead to go to health dept and get copy of file which should show history of any repairs, location of drain field, etc.

Dec 12, 2018 04:06 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Absolutely you need a septic inspection.

Dec 13, 2018 04:28 AM
Harry Norman, REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Associate Broker

Yes, have the septic tank inspected and ask when was the last time it was serviced. Request documentation.

Dec 12, 2018 09:28 PM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

I hope you are using a good agent because you have no awareness of contractsd and inspections. You also might need to consult with what your lender requires.

Dec 12, 2018 07:04 PM
J.R. Schloemer, CRS
Kentucky Select Properties - Louisville, KY

Look at what Candice A. Donofrio responded with.

My short answer is YES!

Dec 12, 2018 05:11 PM
Frank Rubi
Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC - Metairie, LA

Here in my State, it requires to pass inspection, also it is needed the inspection, to have the power turned on. So have it inspected and cleaned. 

Dec 12, 2018 04:43 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Depends on your state laws as far as certification is concerned - it might be required for the seller to do this. Pumping and inspection are highly recommended. Talk with your Realtor!

Dec 12, 2018 04:36 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Yes to haveing it inspected and by a company who does these things

Dec 12, 2018 04:28 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

My advice is to ask your real estate agent...assuming you have an honest professional guiding you in your purchase.

Failing that...the advice from other agents who have answered your question here are unanimous.

Dec 12, 2018 04:06 PM
Valeria Mola
SIB Realty - Miami, Sunny Isles Beach - Sunny Isles Beach, FL
305-607-0709 SIB Realty Condos for Sale and Rent


Dec 12, 2018 03:42 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Yes. I have had many septics system tests fail inspection

Dec 12, 2018 03:21 PM
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

If you're obtaining financing for this purchase you'll probably need to have it certified by a licensed & reputable company anyway. When you're kind to it there should be no problems.

Dec 13, 2018 02:11 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

YES!  Absolutely.  Things are not always as they "appear".  

Dec 12, 2018 09:37 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate Brokered by Real - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Hey to the yeah! Talk to your agent about certified inspectors/ reputable septic companies and go from there.


If you hired one, that is...

Dec 12, 2018 05:45 PM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I would be asking for the system to be certified to county specks

Dec 12, 2018 04:59 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Almost all houses in my area have private septic systems. Sometimes buyers want them tested, sometimes not. They often want them to be cleaned out. If you want a septic inspection and cleanout, those items should be specified in the offer.

Dec 12, 2018 04:46 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

In our area, it's always good to ask for a septic inspection and a clean out. That will reveal most issues. 

Dec 12, 2018 04:21 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Dec 12, 2018 02:48 PM
Sallyanne Holmes
Merit Co Inc - Colorado Springs, CO
GRI, MRE, Probate Specialist, REDivorceS

yes, yes and yes.  I don;t know where you are located but in El Paso County - Colorado the seller has to have the septic checked, certified and if necessary pumped prior to closing - not the buyer - by law, the seller.  Also sometimes you have a well with septic - if you do have a water flow check done and potability i.e. drinkability of the water.  But do have that septic checked either way

Dec 13, 2018 09:47 AM
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

Yes absolutely have a septic company pump and inspect. -K

Dec 13, 2018 07:38 AM
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

The age of the property should have no bearing on your positive choice for a septic inspection. We have had recentl;y built homes with septic systems that failed their inspections. We saved our buyers Thou$$sand$$!

Dec 13, 2018 06:35 AM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
A moving experience!

Yep... inspect, inspect, inspect.

I would use a company that services/installs septic systems.  Ask around to find "reputable" companies that aren't going to be self-serving.

Dec 13, 2018 05:55 AM
Peter Mohylsky. BRIX REALTY
Miramar Beach, Florida - Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Get it inspected and serviced. 

Dec 13, 2018 04:25 AM
Susan Emo
Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage - Kingston, ON
Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area

Any home with a septic system, we include a condition for pump out and inspection at the Sellers expense.  You don't want to buy a home full of another persons stuff do you?  And, if there is a problem, a septic system can cost upwards of $30K to replace - YIKES!

Dec 13, 2018 03:48 AM
Diana Zaccaro Broker Associate
Tropical Beachside brokered by eXp - Cocoa Beach, FL
"The Accidental Blogger" Cocoa Beach, Florida

Your agent should be able to answer all your questions and be familiar with local businesses who can do this.

If you don't have an agent, please get one to write the offer and look out for your best interests. If you plan to go it alone, at a minimum get a real estate attorney to review the proposed offer and any counteroffers and related documents.

Dec 12, 2018 11:15 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Absolutely I believe some states have a separate addendum for a septic system ... If it needs to be replaced it may be very costly

Dec 12, 2018 05:59 PM
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Many good responses.

Dec 12, 2018 03:38 PM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

We don't have septic in my part of the world.  I'd say for any type of inspection make sure the inspector knows that someone else will do the remediation.  That way they don't write their own meal ticket.

Dec 13, 2018 09:58 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Agent Retired

Yes & also have the well water tested by the county.

Dec 13, 2018 05:50 AM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

YES it is a must. They can easily check the leach field, the tank and the baffles. 

Dec 13, 2018 05:12 AM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

I would

Dec 13, 2018 05:07 AM
Brenda Mayette
Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc. - Glenville, NY
Getting results w/ knowledge & know-how!

Septic systems are standard fare in our market... I'd definitely encourage you to have it inspected.  My "go to" inspector does not install new systems so I know there's no hidden agenda with him.  Don't be afraid of the system; just don't abuse it!  ;0

Dec 13, 2018 04:44 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD


Dec 13, 2018 04:39 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, EXP - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

What does your agent advise?

Dec 12, 2018 10:18 PM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

If it is that old it spells trouble or EOL.

Yes a report. Often I can spot it looking at evidence of leaking, vegetation from organic fertilizer.

Dec 12, 2018 08:32 PM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Yes.  Absolutely.  It should be done by a septic inspector.  

Dec 13, 2018 06:00 AM
Donald Urschalitz
Lubeck Realty Group - Jupiter, FL
P.A. Realtor ABR RSPS North Palm Beach County

Yes Yes Yes that could be an expensive replacement.

Dec 13, 2018 05:20 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Yes have it inspected and pumped given the age!

Dec 13, 2018 04:47 AM
Joshua Frederick
Home Inspector for ASPEC Residential Services, LLC - Defiance, OH
Home Inspector in Defiance & all of Northwest Ohio
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

In Denver if there is a septic system Tri-County needs to put their "seal of approval" on it too.

Dec 17, 2018 07:47 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Yes for sure.


Dec 15, 2018 07:13 PM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

ABSOLUTELY!!! I live in an area of septics and it's a standard inspection item, in fact one that sellers of older homes often fear the most. Professional septic inspection company should do the work. They will give you the real picture, they are not at all assured of being the ones to be selected to do the work if any is needed. It might be as simple as replacing a cap for example, that is no longer to code, or a recommendation to have it pumped (should be done before closing, but not before inspection). However, if the 25 yo system is at risk for failing or there are other serious issues with its aging structure, to replace a septic system is very costly, could be up to $35K or more, depending on size and soil, so PLEASE  have the inspection to find out  the condition of the system.

Dec 14, 2018 08:43 AM