Septic Inspection Seller’s Responsibilities

If you represent the Sellers, as the Seller's real estate agent, and the Buyer has elected to have an on-lot septic system inspection, there are various responsibilities the Seller should be made aware of. In accordance with wording on the real estate sales agreement the Buyer's obligation is to merely pay the inspection fee. The Seller, at the Seller's expense, will locate, provide proper access to, and pay the fee for emptying the septic tank:

Below is a guide to assist you, the Realtor, and your client (the Seller) understand the steps they need to take in order to be ready the day of the septic system evaluation.

  • Step #1–Locate the septic tank. Nothing else can be done until the tank is located. Some systems such as sand mounds might actually utilize two tanks. All need to be accessed.
  • Step #2–Most tanks have a two foot concrete lid. This lid needs to be unearthed thus making the System "inspection ready". All lids on all tanks MUST be unearthed. Some tanks have more than one lid. A 1500 gallon compartmental type tank has three lids.
  • Step #3–A pumper needs to be arranged to pump the tank as part of the inspection process. Being the Seller's expense, they have the right to schedule whomever they desire. For some locations HHI, can make the arrangements, But the Seller MUST be ready to pay the pumper the date of the inspection. The tank should not be pumped prior to reviewing the tank first. DO NOT HAVE THE TANK PUMPED PRIOR TO THE INSPECTION
  • Step #4–The owner or realtor needs to call PA One Call, a few days before the inspection so that they can come out and mark all utility lines such as gas and electric. This needs to be done as the inspector will be probing the drainfield / sand mound as part of the inspection process using a metal probe rod. If the utilities are not marked the inspection process cannot be completed. The number for PA One call is 1-800-242-1776
  • Step #5–The Seller's agent will be forwarded a preliminary information sheet via email from our office. This information sheet is a critical part of the inspection process. It contains various information that we need in order to provide a proper and thorough inspection for the buyer. This form needs to be completed by the Seller and returned to HHI via fax or email as soon as possible, and prior to the inspection.

That's It. 5 steps the Sellers need to do in order to get ready.

We often get told, no one knows where the system is. No one knows what type of system it is. The tank is very deep and the owners have moved and are elderly and cannot dig. When these type of situations arise there are ways to deal with them, but it will likely require additional trip fees, locating fees, digging fees etc. If we jump on these situations right away it makes the whole process go much more smoothly.