We are selling a 20-year old house with a septic system. No history of any problems. The leach field is on land with a high water table so land will tend to be somewhat wet during wet seasons, etc. But nothing serious.
A buyers' inspection found a failure of the septic system which was traced to a cracked tank (single compartment). At the advice of an experienced septic company we replaced/upgraded the tank with a new, two-compartment, 1,500 gallon tank with pump capacity. Did not do anything to the field as two different septic co.'s said there is no issue with the leach field only a high water table.
Now closer to sale we are being asked for 'guarantee' that if system fails in the next 6 months we will deal with the problem then. My questions are (a) how would a 'fail' be defined? (b) what maintehance steps (if any given brand new tank) should they be expected to take? and (c) what sorts of repairs may be needed later, such as blowing out the existing lines or adding another line or installing pump in the tank (vs. replacing the entire field)?This message has been edited. Last edited by: Paramount,
Unless your septic system is already using a pump to run uphill to the leaching field, there will never be a need for a pump in the system. So that is not a factor.
You've done everything shy of replacing the leaching field, so that would be the obvious place for there to be a failure if there is to be one in the next six months. Unfortunately, the real fix is to dig up and replace the leaching lines and much of the dirt & gravel around them.
While you are pretty safe if you choose to give a six month warrantee, I would think that giving the buyer copies of any guarantees from the new tank installers would be reasonable. As to warranteeing the leaching field itself - having reports on hand from two different septic companies stating the the leaching field is still operating well should be good enough. If they want / need more than that then they should be buying a brand new place.
Thanks. Yes, two different companies basically said "look, the ground is going to be wetter than normal and that's just the way it is- new field or not." The company that installed the new tank is providing documentation of the work done and their opinions on the health and function of the overall system but does not guarantee anything. I supposed that's why the buyers want a 6-month warranty from us.
New, two-compartment tank. System that has barely been used in over a year (owner deceased). Only two people will be living in the house. Hard to see much stress on the system?..
And my question is really that there would be so many variables or interpretations later as to what would cause additional issues or a failure or what maintenance steps they should expect to take if any.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Paramount,
Bottom line is that this is a negotiating issue to make or break the sale. It's really more about who will blink first than the septic system. Obviously, for the buyer, getting some kind of guarantee from you would be best for them. The thing is, all it would take is a period of extra heavy rain during that six-month period and you'd be getting called on to replace a system that has no real problems.
OTOH, you may be able to word your "warrantee" so that it really is non-enforcable. Limit the warrantee wording to things like "failure of the system components" or add in exclusions due to "extreme weather" and you should be covered in the event that you feel you need to give something to make the sale.
Talk this over with your real estate agent and get their input as to what will work and yet keep it fair.
All good advice, but you have to run the numbers and put limits on everything.
Since everything is new except the drain field, get an est of the cost to replace/repair/rennovate this. Your liability should be no more than the cost to bring this to current county standards. You can, in no way, expose yourself to consequential damages, meaning if the field is wet and the system floods or damages anything else, you would be liable - no can do !
As Jaybee said, if someone wants all these guarantees, get a brand new house...you have done and performed your due-diligence...never leave your back-end exposed with a warranty that you have no control or assurances....if they really want the house, they will still buy it, if not, tell them to move on there is another way to say this too]...
I am not sure of your financial sit or if you really have to sell the house immediately, but that is a call you will have to make...what does your real-estate agent say?
Good luck and keep us posted,
The situation grows more bizarre... Since the new 1,500 gallon, two compartment tank was installed and deemed fuilly operational the prospective buyers went back to the property with their own contractor a week later. This was after the region had received about 5-6 inches of rain the previous 4-5 days. This contractor looked into the tank and (we believe incorrectly) told them it should not have water in it... Then he looked into a previous hole from the first inspection exposing a leach line that was obviously filled with water and said this was 'proof the system was failing.' The contractor we used to do the work laughed when I told him they had gone to look at the system immediately after so much rainfall... The buyers were also told that the new tank itself "was incorrect" and they should hire HIM to do the entire thing all over again A to Z- including ANOTHER tank- for $12.5k.
This is a late family member's house that had been on the market for a year. There is no absolute immediate urgency to sell, although we are eager. And I simply don't want to have this family member's estate fleeced to give someone a new system they don't need for years to come.
What I don't get is there doesn't seem to be a consistent answer as to what constitutes passing or failing. The more reasonable contractors I have interacted with seem to say the tank replacement was more than adequate (especially since we replaced a 1,000 gallon tank with 1,500) and the leach lines are fine and show no indication (through backups or sewage rising) of failure. Also said only uncovering the distribution box and doing perc test after some dry weather on the existing lines could give a true sense of pass/fail. But I am afraid these are nervous first time buyers who have various people whispering in their ears and are sticking to their original inspector that said "replace the whole thing".
You are either:
1. Getting jerked around
2. Dealing with idiots
3. Uber nervous buyers who have no clue and are listening to any and all advice - even the bad.
A septic tank is only empty on the day it's delivered. The tank fills from near the top and empties just a few inches lower - meaning that once the tank fills the first time it is ALWAYS full. There are no exceptions to that. Any contractor knows this - so their guy is either a crook or an idiot.
Since you are not in a desperate to sell situation, I would just set some firm ground rules and let the potential buyers listen to you. You have fixed the system. You have had two different septic firms certify that it is working correctly. That's it, you're done. Anything else they require beyond that is unreasonable and certainly not a smart idea on your part.
Here's my final advice...
Tell the buyer that the price just went up $10,000 more and there are absolutely no warranties at all now...when they say well the price was X before and you offered these warranties, you say, "sold"...draw-up the contract. If they say one negative word, then you say,
"GSYS"...PM me for the abbreviation.
tstexThis message has been edited. Last edited by: tstex,
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