Foreclosed homes have an inherent mystery and draw. Who lived there and what was their story?
Of course, the main appeal to a foreclosed home is the price. Everyone likes a great deal and the thought of buying the home for cheap and “flipping” or renting it for a quick profit gets people excited. Excited people often overlook details in regard to the septic system often gets people into trouble. Think about it… the former owners probably didn’t have enough money to pay their mortgage. What makes you think they invested in proper care and maintenance of their septic system?
If you are new to septic systems or don’t know when or why your septic system needs to be pumped, please click below to watch the following video I produced in Dec 2014.
Properly inspecting an existing septic system can be a difficult job already. Inspecting a septic system where the home has been vacant for a long period of time greatly complicates this inspection. Here is why… when a septic system, in the midst of a typical bio-mat failure is allowed to rest for a year or two, it will partially rejuvenate itself. That means that a system that was in complete failure when the last occupants left, might work for the new occupants for 6-12 months before it fails again. Furthermore, inspecting that system and finding proof that it was in failure may not be possible. While there should still be evidence of failure in the form of high-water stains in the septic tank (water above the tank’s outlet), indications of a “blow-out” in the field system, wetness in the yard or other surface discharges that once plagued the yard will now most likely be gone.
A foreclosed home also likely means no communications with the homeowner, meaning no information about the home and therefor history of the septic system and when it was pumped last (if ever).
My advice is as follows:
- Don’t make any rush decisions while caught up in the excitement of the prospect of making a quick profit
- Have a full and thorough inspection of the septic system, by an experienced, professional septic system inspector.
- Never make any assumptions about the workings of the homes existing septic system
- Find out what a new system might cost for that specific site, and include that cost in you profit/loss equation
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