Selling a Home with a Well or Septic

Selling a Home with a Well or Septic

Listing and selling homes in a challenging market is hard enough, don't leave key inspection items open to interpretation. There are many "unknown" factors when dealing with wells and septic systems. The following items should eliminate many questions and pitfalls that occur during a home inspection.

 

#1 Certify the distance between the well and septic components - By far the most important item on this list! I can't count the number of times I have arrived on an inspection to find out the distance between the well and septic leaching field is less than 100 feet apart. This is an immediate disqualifier for several mortgage types. Above Grade Home Inspections uses high frequency technology and video equipment to locate and mark out all the system components. We can provide the homeowner and the prospective buyer with a distance certification and map. We also flag all the system components for easy location.

#2 Shock, aka, chlorinate the well - It is very important to periodically shock the well, especially after the recent winter and heavy rains. Large volumes of surface and ground water are entering our wells. In some cases carrying harmful bacteria that can be easily treated. One failed potability test typically results in 15 extra phone calls. Many times the prospective buyer wants a full water treatment system installed for a simple failed water test! In most cases, a simple well shocking and proper testing procedures results in a positive outcome with unnecessary aggravation.

#3 Pump the septic tank - Is there an inspection that goes by when the buyer doesn't ask the age old question..."when was the last septic pumping?" You guessed it NO. Why not have the answer before they ask? If the system hasn't been pumped and cleaned in over 3 years, chances are the buyer is going to ask the seller for it to be done. A recently pumped system will make the prospective buyer feel more confident.

#4 Locate and flag the well location - Ever try to find a 6" well cap in 2 feet of snow? Under leaves? Hidden in landscape? In can tell you first hand it’s not an easy task. In a perfect world the well head is sticking out of the ground and easily visible. In some cases older well heads and pressure tanks are located in well pits underneath the ground. These areas need to be uncovered and accessible for inspection. Don't wait for inspection day to inform the buyer you don't know where the well is located. Locate the well, mark it with a stake and flag, and leave a map on the table. Any information about the pump and well equipment should also be supplied.

#5 Perform a water test - Supplying a prospective buyer with a passing water test is a smart decision. After proper shocking procedures have been completed a water test should be performed. The average cost is $25 at a local water lab. This will allow the seller to deal with any water contamination issues ahead of time. It is always easier to deal with issues upfront then to involve attorneys, buyer’s agents, family members, etc.

#6 Conduct a full septic evaluation - In most cases homeowners don't evaluate septic systems until there is an issue. Big Mistake! If any type of septic issue arises on an inspection it’s almost always a kiss of death. Over the years the costs of septic repairs has been over- inflated by the internet and TV advertising. A simple fix can turn into a $10,000 credit by the prospective buyer. A recent septic evaluation and a clean bill of health will speak volumes.

#7 Maintain water treatment equipment- Got a water softener? Fill it with salt. Have a whole house filter on the water main? Change it. Does the home have a chlorine system to deal with sulfur? Fill in with chemicals. You get the picture! I fail to understand why the new buyer has to smell the foul smell of sulfur water throughout the house when there is a system. Or hard water deposits on the plumbing supply equipment when there is a softener. Simple maintenance is easy and inexpensive. Simply changing filters and wiping down the systems will give the treatment equipment the look of a properly maintained system.

#8 Locate and flag septic system components - Buyers want to know where the septic system components are located. This is an issue that doesn't go away. More specifically the location of the tank, the distribution boxes, and the leaching fields. Many deals have fallen through because the buyer thought they could add a pool or a garage only to find out the septic fields were located in the same exact area. A simple map won’t do. Mark out and flag the components for easy identification by the buyer, inspector, and appraiser.

#9 Create an information folder - Collect as much information about your systems as possible and create a folder for the inspection day. Items to include: Brochures on installed equipment, chemical and treatment specifications, recent upgrades or maintenance logs etc. Buyers will be very leery if the seller can’t provide maintenance information. Providing information will make the inspector’s job much easier and give the buyer a greater sense of confidence.

Above Grade Home Inspections

Contact Information

Photo of Laurel Sweeney Real Estate
Laurel Sweeney
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nutshell Realty
1209 State Route 213, PO Box 452
High Falls NY 12440
Office: 845-687-2200
Toll Free 877-468-5783
Fax: 845-687-4162

© 2016 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.®.  Equal Housing Opportunity.