Seller Didn’t Disclose Septic Issues: What You Need to Know as a Homebuyer or Realtor

Picture this: You’ve just moved into the house you’ve recently purchased, and before you even settle in, you encounter a frustrating problem. The sinks won’t drain, and the toilets won’t flush. It’s a situation no new homeowner wants to face, and it raises the question: “What’s going on?” Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for some sellers to deliberately hide known septic issues to secure a higher sale price.

Here’s a closer look at the challenges you might encounter if a seller didn’t disclose septic problems, and what you can do as a homebuyer or realtor to address these issues:

  1. Masked Problems: Sellers may employ various tactics to mask septic problems. For example, they might have drywells (seepage pits) pumped out to give the appearance that they are functioning properly. However, in reality, these drywells may have reached the end of their useful life. Alternatively, sellers may pump the septic tank to create the illusion of a functional system for a few weeks. This may seem fine initially, but the liquid in the tank will eventually have nowhere to go.
  2. Immediate Action: If you find yourself facing undisclosed septic issues after purchasing a property, it’s crucial to act promptly. Notify your realtor immediately to assess the situation and determine the appropriate course of action according to your local jurisdiction.
  3. The Role of Pre-Purchase Septic Inspections: One of the best ways to avoid the nightmare of undisclosed septic issues is to get a thorough septic inspection before buying a home. These inspections can uncover existing problems and help you make informed decisions.
  4. Checking Local Records: In addition to a septic inspection, it’s vital to pull the well and septic records from your local health department. This can reveal if any permits for septic system repairs were applied for but never performed. It’s a valuable resource in assessing the history and condition of the septic system.
  5. Increased Household Demand: Sometimes, the situation may be more subtle. The home may have transitioned from one owner to a family of five, and the septic system, which has never shown any issues before, may struggle to cope with the increased demand. In such cases, meeting with a septic professional is essential to determine the necessary steps to address the issue.

In conclusion, undisclosed septic issues can be a homeowner’s nightmare, but there are proactive steps that can be taken to address them. Whether you’re a homebuyer or a realtor, prioritizing pre-purchase septic inspections and researching local health department records can help you avoid surprises and navigate potential septic challenges more effectively.

Remember, the decision to purchase a home is one of the most significant investments you’ll make, and understanding the condition of the septic system is a crucial part of that process. Don’t let undisclosed septic issues catch you off guard. Be proactive and ensure you’re making a well-informed decision.

For expert guidance and septic services in your area, contact Legacy Septic. We’re here to assist you in navigating the complex world of septic systems and ensuring your homebuying experience is as smooth as possible.