Do you have your eye on a house in Massachusetts? If that house has a private septic system, the buyer is required by law to have a title 5 septic tank inspection done before they can sell you their home. You're required to receive a copy of this report upon completion, and when you do, pay close attention to the line on the form that explains how many bedrooms the septic tank is rated for.
Understanding septic tank capacity
A lot of people think that the required size of a home's septic system is determined by the number of bathrooms inside the house. In fact, under title 5 inspections, bathrooms have nothing to do with required septic tank size; the real determining factor is the number of bedrooms the house has.
The state believes that the occupants of a single bedroom can produce 110 gallons of waste water a day. It also believes that any future owner should be able to fill those bedrooms to maximum capacity without having to worry about whether or not their septic tank could handle the amount of waste produced by that many people.
What this means is that the septic tank for the house you're considering purchasing should be big enough to handle the number of bedrooms the home is listed for in the MLS catalog.
If the home has 3 bedrooms but the tank is only approved to handle the waste produced by 2 bedrooms, then you're not actually buying a 3-bedroom house, regardless of what the realtor or the seller tells you.
Does It Really Matter?
Yes, it absolutely does matter. Turning an attic into a bedroom can increase the value of a home by roughly $36,359. The size of the home doesn't change in this example-- just how many people the house is capable of sleeping does. Since you will be required to have another title 5 inspection done on the septic tank before you sell the house to the next buyer, you'll only be able to legally market the house as a 3-bedroom house if its septic tank was designed to handle the waste of a 3-bedroom house.
Just because a room in the house you're considering buying can fit a bed and dresser doesn't mean it's a bedroom; a true bedroom will be worked into the design of the septic system. If the number of bedrooms listed on the title 5 report doesn't match the number of bedrooms in the MLS listing for the house you've got your eye on, you're about to become the victim of false advertising if you close the deal.
What Are Your Options?
If you're still interested in the house and you don't plan on needing a third bedroom, go ahead and make an offer on the property. Remember, though, that the number of bedrooms could greatly affect its resale value, so you'll want to ask for a price reduction. You can also ask for a price reduction equivalent to how much it will cost to replace the tank with a tank that is graded to handle 3 bedrooms. Tank prices vary greatly, so be sure to get a couple of estimates determining your offer.
If you decide against purchasing the house based on the fact that it was misrepresented in its MLS listing, be sure to report the listing to the National Association of Realtors. Realtors are obligated to verify the information they enter into the system, and including false information in a listing is a violation of the terms of service.
Under a title 5 inspection, a bedroom is not a bedroom unless the home's septic tank is big enough to accommodate it. If you're interested in a house in Massachusetts, make sure the number of bedrooms the tank is certified to service matches the number of bedrooms the home is being advertised as having.
For more information, contact a company like John C Parmenter Inc.Share
10 November 2015
Hello, my name is Jon. After buying my home, I was uncertain about how to maintain the septic system. I called a septic service company to come inspect the tank and lines to further discuss the required maintenance and repair needs of the system. After the inspection, the septic company informed me that the tank was full and needed to be pumped out. Worn components were in need of replacement as well. As a result of my diligence, I was able to avoid system failure and protect my septic system from damage. I hope to use this site to help others avoid a similar septic emergency. Thank you.