Why You Should Test Your Septic Sytem Before Listing Your Home for Sale

The other day I had a buyer ask me what Title 5 ”Not done” on a property listing sheet might mean for her prospects of buying the house. I explained that typically it is the seller’s responsibility to have the system tested and to replace it if the testing fails. But it is February in Massachusetts. We are in the middle of a snowstorm and we already have several feet on the ground from the last one. Temperatures are going to be frigid tomorrow.

As you can imagine it may be quite some time before a civil engineer will be able to test at all.

What does this mean for a transaction?

Several things could happen – neither of them ideal for a seller (or buyer). Instead of closing in the typical time frame of 6-8 weeks it could be held up until testing can be completed. Alternatively money can be placed in escrow to cover the possibility of the system failing. This money would be returned to the seller if the system passes or be applied to a new system if the septic system fails. Since banks like to see (way) more than enough available for any eventuality chances are this can be initially quite costly to the seller.

Are you thinking of selling?

Where am I going with this? If your property has a septic system and you are thinking of putting it on the market have your system tested before listing it. The results are generally good for two years and your home should sell by then (You do plan to price it appropriately right?)

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