Septic System - Selling House

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by MJ1120, Aug 17, 2005.

  1. MJ1120

    MJ1120 Member

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    My siblings and I are selling the family homestead, and an offer has been placed but the buyer wants the septic system "up to code". What would that ordinarily mean? The house is 90 years old, what does someone expect?
    Is there a WI Program that offers assistance with Septic Systems or could we be exempted from putting in a new one?
     
  2. TimandPatti

    TimandPatti Texas

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  3. MJ1120

    MJ1120 Member

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    Tim and Patti -

    I'm new at this, what is PM?
     
  4. TimandPatti

    TimandPatti Texas

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    look up close to the top of the page, it says Private messages to the right. Just click on that.
     
  5. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well, nothing like locking everyone else out of the conversation.... ;)

    Getting to be most counties in most states require a working septic system 'to code' before a new owner can live in a house.

    Each county can have a slightly different 'code' of what is an acceptable system, but the tank needs to be a certain size for the number of bedroons, the leach field needs to be properly designed, & the field needs to be on soil that percolates properly - or a mound system, sand system, etc. Some require only licenced proffessionals build or work on the system. Can be a $10,000 system is required before a new owner can live in the house.

    Or you could be in a county that has no such requirements at all.

    Now, you can sell your property 'as is' and it is up to the new owners to fix such issues; or you can fix the whole place up to all current codes & sell it as a ready to go place.

    Looks like you wish to sell as is, and the current bidder wants to buy a to-code place.

    You are possiblly better off selling 'as is', but understand new owners will need to stick money into the place so it will be discounted on market price.

    Broad outline. Lots of details to work out. :)

    --->Paul
     
  6. TimandPatti

    TimandPatti Texas

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    Sorry :(
    I was just telling her what happened to us.
     
  7. HOB

    HOB Active Member

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    I would just tell them that you will pay to have it inspected and pumped. but that is all
     
  8. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I agree with the above. On a property that old sell it 'as is' if at all possible, even at a lower price. Agree to let them have anything they want inspected as long as they pay for it.

    Offer may be made subject to the buyer being satisfied on certain items, such as septic system meeting code or a home inspection subject to their approval. You can counter with a lower price if necessary. You might want to arrange for an independent appraisal to know what you bottom line figure might be.

    This isn't to say there may not be times when you would want to have the work eventually done in order to make a sale. Say all inspections indicate it will cost $25K to bring the place totally up to code (electrical, plumbing, well and septic and structure). The buyer is full qualified and agrees to the higher price in order to finance the upgrade over the life of the mortgage. While you have to front-end finance the upgrade, you are repaid through the closing from their financial institution. However, be aware here your taxes on such a transaction are likely be affected also. Talk to a competent tax advisor on this aspect. For example, you may be able to deduct the cost of recent improvements from the sales price as far as taxes on the proceeds are concerned.

    However, even here one would think the buyer has the option of taking out a second mortgage or equity financing for such improvements.

    All-in-all try to walk away from it as unencumbered as you can.
     
  9. MJ1120

    MJ1120 Member

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    Thanks everyone for the guidance. My realtor knew going into the deal that my family did not have the funds to update the septic and the water well, and that the price we set was based on that we knew it would need work. So he needs to instill that to the buyers realtor (of course they all work for the same company !) As Patti had stated if the buyer really wants the place he will have to be willing to deal. It's a 90 year-old house, they need to be realistic.. Thanks again, and I'll post as I hear more from my realtor. Margaret
     
  10. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    First off "UP TO CODE" will vary, WHAT code? A house built in 1970 and never remodeled will be upto code for when it was built. There is no code that requires you to UPDATE something unless your making changes to the home. If its working then its upto code. If they want you to truly meet current days code then you need to check with your local health dept and find out what current code is. Is there any reason to beleive that its not to code now? A 90yr old house doenst mean anythign, when was the septic system updated? Does it work now? When was the last time it was used.


    Also keep in mind you can always refuse the offer or counter offer. A septic system isnt a cheap job.
     
  11. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

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    Why keep it a secret?!? ;) Your experience might help someone avoid a similiar thing!
     
  12. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Many counties won't allow a property transfer without a compliant septic system and well. Perhaps this is the situation in your county and the prospective buyer knows it.
     
  13. HankSnow

    HankSnow Hobby Farmer/Rat Racer

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    I'll wade into the fray, recognizing that I'm shooting blind regarding the local regs and property transfer rules in your county.

    I live in a county that has "compliant septic system requirements" similar to what Cabin Fever describes.

    Also, there is the lending aspect. Many borrowers won't lend properties that don't mean certain requirements, like a furnace. We bought our first home for a low price, and paid cash outright as home had only a wood-burning stove. Because this property couldn't receive bank financing and the owner didn't want to provide financing, this house was on the market for over 2 years.
     
  14. TimandPatti

    TimandPatti Texas

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    Okay Michael here you go.
    What I told the lady in the PM I didn't want advertised because we messed up when we bought this place. We paid for a home inspection and it checked out. Recently we discovered that there is NO septic tank. They were using a Drum! Like people use for burn barrels. That is the entire septic system.
    They must not check the septic system, just see if the toliet flushes.
    I was told by one septic company this was not to code and how did it pass inspection. :shrug:
    Not one place will come dig it out for a new septic system so I have to wait till my husband is home.
    I was ashamed to post it in public.

    Patti
     
  15. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

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    Patti,
    You didn't mess up, the home inspector did. Lessons can be learned by your experience such as pointedly asking a home inspector if they actually inspect the septic tank or just flush a toilet or run water. In our county/state, the county inspector comes out to check on the septic.
     
  16. birdie_poo

    birdie_poo Well-Known Member

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    I think some litigation against the inspecter is in order. How they passed that off is awy beyond comprehension.
     
  17. cfabe

    cfabe Well-Known Member

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    The inspector didn't necessarilly mess up, the inspection just didn't cover the septic system. In my county when you sell the county comes to inspect the septic, the home inspector doesn't ever look at it. Often times the septic system is completely buried.. you can't expect a home inspector to go around digging up the yard to try to find the tank and inspect it.
     
  18. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Which is why local code is to have inspection pipes on the septic. So it would be an issue 'here' if an inspector did not flag the septic system. Not having the inspection tubes is enough to require a new septic system for a new owner. Those of you with simpler or no requirements don't realize the level these things have gotten to.....

    --->Paul
     
  19. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My answer to the perspective buyer would be an unequivical NO. Nor would I allow inspections for abandoned fuel oil tanks, lead paint, asbestos, or anything else of that nature. For allowing things like this can cost you many tens of thousands of dollars.

    As soon as you get into this, you are spending money, and the buyer can always back out. That leaves you holding the bill. It also opens you up to a host of dangerous liability issues and can substantially reduce the value of your home.

    It can also simply be impossible or absurdly expensive. To bring my house up to current code on septic is impossible. I'm to close to the creek that wanders across my land. There is no way to place a new septic on this land. The only thing that could be done is to hook up to sewer, which would involve me placing about 2 miles up pipe under the roads. 'Tain't happ'n!
     
  20. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    Patti,

    We just moved into an old farm house. When we asked about the septic system, the owner said he didn't know anything about it, whatever was done was done prior to him buying the place 18 years ago. There are no restrictions here. So, we knew we might end up needing to install a new septic system.

    Well, we had a guy out yesterday, who does septic systems. Turns out the gray water (tub, sink) dumps into a wet weather creek that runs beside the house. The toilet doesn't, but we don't know what does happen to it. We flushed a bunch of bright green dye down the toilet and now we wait and see where it shows up.

    Now I'd NEVER admit to my family back in the big city that we're living like this, because they'd be apalled. So I definitely understand your embarrassment. However the septic guy says many old farm houses out here dump gray water into creeks, and we probably have some kind of holding tank for the toilet and it probably leaches out... but not like a proper leach field, more like what you're describing. Just kind of overflows and leaks out. He wasn't at all shocked.

    We're concerned, because we have a well, and right now we don't know where the poo water is going. Yikes!

    At least you had it inspected...