Living in North Reading we all may be different, but we all have one thing in common; we all have septic systems. Septic systems although not extremely complex, do cause a lot of anxiety and stress. Generally, speaking we do not fully understand how it functions, and have no idea what a Title V means and why sellers of Real Estate serviced by a Septic System must have a Title V. I have decided to bring this “stinky subject” to the forefront to help educate us and to decrease anxiety around the subject of septic systems.
If you are selling your home, that is serviced by a septic system you cannot sell your home without a passing Title V inspection. The inspection is conducted by a licensed inspector both by the state and the town where the system is located. A list of licensed inspectors is available at the Board of Health or call our office and we would be happy to provide you with the approved list.
The Inspector will determine whether your system “passes”, “fails” or “conditionally passes” (requires repairs).
What is a conditional pass?
A conditional pass means that your system will pass if a certain condition is met. A repair or replacement of the distribution box is the most common condition that needs to be met. The inspector would write up his official Title V report with the conditional pass notes outlining the needed replacement of the distribution box. Once the repair is finished the board of Health will issue a Certificate of Compliance which indicates a passing Title V at closing.
The septic system failed, now what?
If the inspection fails, your system must be repaired or replaced.
Failed septic systems can be handled in a real estate sales transaction in two ways. First, the seller can undertake the work and complete it prior to closing, with a full sign off from the Board of Health. Or, the parties can agree to an escrow holdback to cover the cost of the septic repair plus a contingency reserve,
(generally, one and a half times the total amount), the work is undertaken after closing. Some lenders do not allow for septic holdbacks so make sure your Realtor or Attorney inquires with the buyer’s bank or mortgage company prior to closing.
Prevention is always the best approach with anything and this includes your septic. All systems should be pumped, generally every one to two years. The person who pumps your system should do a quick visual inspection to make sure everything is operating correctly.
I hope you have found this article informative and useful, if you have more in-depth questions about septic, please reach out to your Board of Health or your septic professional. Please feel free to call us at Farrelly Realty Group 978-664-3700 if you have any questions or Real Estate needs.