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Selling a home with a septic tank does not have to set you into a panic, especially if you have paid attention to the maintenance. The Septic System is an essential component of any home’s value and should not be overlooked. Septic inspections are crucial for your health and that of anyone else living in your home, so homeowners should make sure to schedule them regularly. However, because septic systems are buried in the ground, they are often the last thing on many homeowners’ minds – until something goes wrong.

Before purchasing a house, prospective buyers usually hire an inspector to complete an inspection. All buyers of new homes should always have a thorough real estate septic system inspection before purchasing a home to ensure the health, longevity and any past known defects. Failing to inspect and discuss the septic tank system with the owner could cost you thousands of dollars after you own the property. The inspection often includes inspecting the structure of the house and checking for any pests. One of the most important aspects of the house is the septic inspection.


Reasons to Get Your Septic System Inspected

  1. Seller- California law requires all sellers to disclose any known defects relating to their property by obtaining a report. It prevents your buyer from claiming that they were not informed about the septic system “true” condition.
  2. Buyer- Make sure you have all the necessary facts to make an informal decision and knowledge of a proper working system.
  3. Real Estate Agents- Getting the inspection will help with the transaction and the process between the buyer & seller.


Two Types of Septic Inspections

Visual Inspections

During the sale process, the home inspector will complete a visual inspection. This involves asking a few questions, such as how old the house is, how often the owner pumps the septic system, and when the last inspection was. The inspector will then run all the water and flush all the toilets in the house to make sure the water pressure is up to par and everything is draining properly. Finally, the inspector will go out to the drain field to make sure there is no standing water, which can indicate a cesspool.

A visual inspection is helpful and quick, but a full inspection can really tell you the real story behind the health of the septic system.


Full Inspections

A full inspection includes everything a visual inspection includes, but it also goes the extra mile. This type of inspection is the one you will want to get done every three to five years.

The inspector will remove the cover to the septic tank and check the water level. The water level can show if the water is draining properly. The inspector will then run water in the house to make sure it is properly flowing from the house to the septic tank, and to make sure the water level within the tank does not rise when they introduce more water.

The inspector may use a dye test during this part of their inspection. In a dye test, the inspector will introduce dye into the water that is being drained to see how much of it enters the septic tank.

From there, the septic tank will get pumped and the inspector will check for any backflow from the absorption area. The backflow level tells the inspector if there is a problem with your drain field. The flow level is then checked again to make sure every aspect of the septic system is in working order and there are no blockages.


Before Buying a House with a Septic System


Do your Research

Many national lending institutions and mortgage companies require inspection and certification prior to funding. Note, most appraisal and safety inspections do not include a septic system check. California residents who live in areas where the homeowner is responsible for individual water treatment must install and maintain a septic system that adheres to guidelines set forth by the California Environmental Protection Agency and the State Water Resources Control Board (OWTS) Onsite Wastewater Treatment System policy.

Know the Age of the Septic System

You can request a plot map from the county to show the location of tank and the age. Most septic tanks last between 25-30 years depending on usage and routine maintenance.


Make Time for the Inspection

When the appointment is set for the septic inspector to come out, make time to be there and watch how things proceed. This commitment to the sale is important. Everyone involved wants a fast sale and this is one you do not want to shortcut to come at your expense.



At West Coast Sanitation, we understand the value and importance of a septic system inspection prior to buying or selling a home. Our professional inspectors strive to exceed your expectations and help you obtain the essential information you need to make an informed decision.


Call us at (951) 780-5922 right away. We have professionals ready to answer your questions.