Podcast: How Septic Tanks Affect Home Sales

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Real Estate

Real Estate Agent Man: The Podcast

Secrets of Florida Real Estate That Should Not Be Secrets

Season 1 Episode 8  ( Transcribed for the hearing impaired: Transcription below by artificial intelligence software - errors are inevitable)

You are tuned in to the Real Estate Agent Man Podcast

Coming to you from Sarasota County, Florida

Future buyers and sellers - this podcast is for you!

It’s the place we discuss secrets of Florida real estate that should not be secrets.

Some serious crap about septic systems: That’s what we’re talking about today.

Now your host of today’s program, Steve Martin Smith

For the next 5 minutes I’ll be sharing important information regarding septic tanks and how they can affect the purchase and sale of a home.

Even if you do not own a septic tank, this podcast will help you look like the smart one in the group the next time this topic comes up with your friends or family.  

Before you forget, you should also take a second to subscribe to the Real Estate Agent Man podcast.

For a buyer who is not familiar with septic systems, the idea of buying a home with a septic tank can be a little nerve racking. As someone who has owned, rented, and sold a variety of homes with septic systems, allow me to shed a little light in this very dark and smelly place.

If you are listening to this from our blog page, you can see the picture I posted to go along with this podcast. That picture is of an opening to a septic tank that a buyer of ours recently had inspected by Southern Sanitary Systems. As usual, I was there for the inspection. Whenever possible, which is almost always, I attend my customer’s inspections. This is how I am best prepared to confidently guide buyers and sellers through the post inspection negotiations. If you have not heard that term before, you need to know it’s a real thing. Post inspection negotiations. First you negotiate the contract, you get the price and the terms all set, then you have your inspections, and based on the results of those inspections, you can be going back to the negotiation process.

This particular home was built in 1961 and appears to still have the original septic tank. Both the tank and the drain field passed the inspection with flying colors. This is not an uncommon occurrence. However, in contrast, I recently saw two tanks fail inspection that were less than 20 years old. 

I’ve also seen tanks fail when they had just been pumped out a few years ago, to the surprise of the sellers. When I ask, “Do you know what condition your septic tank is in?” and they say, “Well we just had it pumped out a couple years ago, it was fine,” they think that means it’s still fine. That is not always the case.

Nothing dumps a sale down the toilet like a bad septic inspection. With that in mind, whether you are thinking about selling or buying a home with a septic tank, I encourage you to make that inspection a priority. The going rate for a tank and drain field inspection in Sarasota County is roughly $200.00. It’s certainly nothing to be afraid of and is money well spent. 

Sellers, you can help your potential buyers feel much more comfortable with making an offer. 

I’ve heard it said that your tank should be pumped out every 4 to 5 years depending on usage. If it’s been a few years, just do it. Get it pumped now. A freshly pumped and inspected septic tank will go a long way in securing a committed buyer. The going rate to pump a septic tank is roughly $300.00. So again, money well spent.

Buyers need to know when to inspect. When operating as a buyer’s agent, I always advise my buyers to make the septic and drain field their first inspection. It’s less costly than the general inspection and most likely to kill the deal if it fails. I have also found that buyers relocating from some other states are shocked to learn that Floridians are not required by law to bring their septic tanks up to code or even repair them at all. That type of information would sure be nice to know before you make an offer, wouldn’t it? I did have a buyer just last year, who came from some place on the west coast, and they had to bring their septic tank up to code.  I think it cost them about 12 grand in order to sell their house. Apparently the government there would not let them sell their home with the septic tank in its current condition. That is not the way it is in Florida, and people just need to understand that.

Well, that’s enough on this crappy, but very important topic. As with all things real-estate related, there are many more details that I just can’t fit into a brief blog or podcast. Just make sure that you have a Realtor who can confidently guide you through these important steps in buying or selling your next home. 

If you are anywhere in the Sarasota area, look up SteveMartinHomesGroup.com for Your Slice of Florida.