Buying Home With Septic Problem

Q: I’m in the process of buying a home. Both the sellers and I have signed contracts stating that the water purity and septic system must be in passing condition in order to sell.

However, when we did our testing, the property failed because the septic dye test failed.

A plumber gave an “inspection” to diagnose problem. In his letter, he “assumes” the problem is in the leach field. The estimate to fix the problem ranges from $3600 for a short-term solution to $5,800 to replace leach field.

The seller wants to give us a credit for only $3600. I don’t want to accept this offer and told my lawyer I wanted a septic engineer to actually diagnose the problem before I would make a decision.

What is the correct course of action and what are my rights?

A: Of course the seller wants to get out with the smallest amount of cash. If he can offer you $3,600, that saves him $2,200 over the estimated cost of fixing the problem.

But the real issue is that you have no idea what’s wrong with the septic system. While you have had one plumber go through the property, I suspect having a septic specialist come through to give you a second opinion is a good course of action.

At that point, you and the seller must negotiate a deal that makes you comfortable.

Clearly, taking the offer on the table isn’t making you comfortable. And with so many properties on the market, you don’t need to be bullied into accepting this deal. You’ll need to review your contract and what your options are with your real estate attorney.


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