Purchasing a home can be the biggest investment of your life. Make sure you do your homework. Hire a home inspection company with credentials. Call the BBB (Better Business Burial) and make sure you enquire as to if the home has a septic system or is it tied into the city sewer. Ask the homeowner for a sewer bill and call the city to verify their claim. If you discover the presence of a septic tank, be sure to have the system inspected and tested. Ensure the company doing the inspection is licensed and insured to properly inspect and test the entire system.
Replacement costs for septic systems can range from a few thousand dollars to several thousand dollars depending on what state you’re buying in. The regulations, permits and actual costs surrounding the replacement of a septic systems and their drain field can run into the thousands of dollars. Aside from the mess that an improperly functioning septic system can create, you also have to consider the landscape replacement cost and repair.
If you are able to locate the septic system, do your own visual inspection in addition to the inspector. Look for any discoloration of the surrounding grass or vegetation. If you notice some areas are greener that others, the septic system may not be functioning properly. Damp or wet drain field or tank areas can be a strong indication of a failing septic tank or drain field. Septic tank smells and odors inside or outside the home can also be a strong indicator the system is failing.
Pay attention to the home inspector and make sure he or she does a thorough job. Don’t be afraid to ask him questions. It’s your home and your investment.