I have made an offer on a home and had inspections. It passes reasonably
on everything and I want the home. However, although the septic inspector
passed the system, my understanding is that it would not pass county
inspection because it is an old system, put in in 1960, and uses
orangeburg pipe. In reading about it online, the pipe is said to have an
average life expectancy of 50 to 60 years. This home is 48 years old. The
inspector says those averages are affected by tree root damage (there are
no trees near the system) and heavy equipment traffic (it's in a pasture),
so it should last my lifetime if not longer (I'm 53). There is a catch
22... the sellers do not want the county to come inspect because they say
the county never approves anything except new systems and if I'm not going
to buy, someone else will without a new system. Without the county
inspection, I can't get a perk test to determine whether a NEW system will
cost $6,500 or $20,000, so I can't adjust my offer to incorporate a
possible new septic system.
I have to make a decision soon because the "passing inspection" clause in
my offer had to be determined within 15 days of the signing and that is
approaching quickly because of delays in getting the septic guy to come
Any ideas? Any way to check to be sure the pipe is holding up as well as
the inspector thinks?
Building Construction and Maintenance Forum
and RSS access to your favorite newsgroup -
alt.building.construction - 15076
messages and counting!
Is the septic system installation approved from the original installation
(does it have a permit from the original construction)
Does the septic tank have any pump records?
If there are pump records do they indicate any problems with the system.
Usually the septic pumper records the condition of the tank at pumping time.
If the owners have no records of pumping, there is a problem also.
The solids may never have been removed and the lines may be compromised.
Did you have the tank inspected? (dig up the inspection/pumping access and
On a system like that, any future construction, i.e. new bath, laundry,
kitchen, bedroom addition, may bring up the septic tank condition with the
In the long run, it would be safe to allow some expense towards repair or
replacement of that system in the buying price.
If the owners balk, they may be hiding something. If they have no records
of pumping the same would be the case.
New systems are expensive and usually are "High Line" systems.
You may get by on your own by adding new "leach lines" without inspection
and or county knowledge.....this is done all the time regardless what others
The pasture may present a wetland area also during rainy periods?
Then the leach field will fail.
Lots to consider and if the price of the land and house are within your
range and you like the property it may be worth it to consider replacing the
system eventually anyway.......
On 02 Dec 2008 12:20:26 GMT, lanajosib_at_yahoo_dot email@example.com
So you have health problems that will result in your death at about
65? If so, do you want to address such a problem at the end of your
life? Would you want your survivors to have to address this problem as
you are dying?
There is a real-estate agent involved right? If not talk to both a
real-estate agent, and to a lawyer who is compentent in such matters.
Only in their dreams... And as well, if such an inspection is required
on transfer of title by code or law (it *may* be, but possibly is not)
then they (the seller) would be on the hook anyway. IMHO, they are
feeding you a line...
Well, I see it like this:
1. You adjust for the *maximum* cost value ($20K). Tell the seller
why, and make sure they realize that this is their fault, in not
allowing for a proper test. You *must* assume worse case in this
2. Keep looking. Tell the seller "Thanks, but no thanks..." and move
Inform the seller that due to the inability to pass inspection you are
unable to purchase the house as it sits. Offer to extend the 15 day
limit to allow you additional time to evaluate the situation. If they
say no, then walk. If they say yes, talk to experts, and get a few
worse case estimates. Use these worse case estimates to adjust the
offer price. If the offer price is no longer negoiatable, then walk.
(if anything else, the inspector should either have gotten a shovel
and dug a bit up and looked, or hired a septic company do do the same.
I'm leary about the quality of that inspector's work...)
The (non-authority) 'inspector', his opinion, and $4 will get you
coffee at Dunkin Donuts. Add $2 to that and you can have a donut with
that coffee. But bottom line is that unless you are willing to take
the risk, (and you sould NOT take the risk, why do that?) then keep
The statement "50 to 60 years" is important. That means under
exceptionally good conditions it would typically last 60 years (the
current age of the house plus about ten years). Under less than ideal
conditions, the system may last 50 years. That's the age of the house.
YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENED TO THAT SEPTIC SYSTEM IN THE LAST 50
YEARS. You don't know whether heavy equipment was driven over it,
despite what appears to be there.
...thestuccocompany spam removed...
*I agree. Whoever buys the property will want the proper inspections unless
the price is low enough to buy "as is". Did your inspector snake a camera
down the pipes to see the actual condition? If not then maybe you should
get someone in to do that before making a final determination.
Basically doesn't affect the OP's problem... The market is not 'good'
but you can still sell a house if you price it reasonably. (It is a
buyer's market right now).
However, the seller's attitude of "someone else will buy without
checking" is silly, and just plain never going to happen. The seller,
if (big IF) he believes this is taking way too many feel-good
Did you call the county inspector office to pose these questions, incognito
of course? Normally, used homes around here in this rural area are "as is"
including the septic system. The potential buyer is best armed with his/her
own hired inspectors. The county inspector for septic systems normally only
does new systems period, at least in this county.
Not sure about their policy regarding that piping, call them. They will do
a head flow check just prior to the leech field. At least that's what they
did here. The new above ground system here was 20K.
Maybe you read this article?
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.