Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Real Estate Word of the Day--Septic System

Buying a home is often a once or twice in a lifetime experience. There are often lots of things to learn. Buying a home on acreage has it's own set of unique terms that the average city-dweller might not have heard before. 
From time to time I am surprised that a simple term I use everyday as a REALTOR® is like a foreign language to some home buyers. It is not unusual to see a glazed look come into a buyer’s eyes when I talked about escrow or earnest money but also when I mention well water, septic systems and compliance tests. The confusion is totally understandable because most home buyers do not buy houses on acreage everyday.

There are so many terms that could possibly confuse a home buyer that I thought an online glossary of real estate terms might be helpful. So I am continuing my series of posts for the first time homebuyer with explanations of the most often used (and sometimes confusing) real estate terms. This way you can skip buying that big “how to buy a house” book or attending that
First Time Home Buyer Class and have a quick resource at your fingertips. Today’s Real Estate Term is:

Septic System—If a home is not connected to a public sewer, there will be a private system that will hold and/or process the waste called a septic system. There are several types of systems. They can be a holding tank where all the waste must be pumped out or a tank that releases the waste water back into the environment via a drain field or mound. A private septic system can be owned by the individual property owner or shared by a number of homes. 

It is important to know what type of septic system is on a property. All systems will require maintenance but the type of system, indicates to a buyer how often the maintenance will have to take place and how much it will cost. Shared systems usually are part of an association where fees are collected on a periodic basis to pay for pumping out and maintaining the sewage system. 

It is also important to understand what can and cannot go into a private sewer system in order to keep it in the best condition possible. The cost to replace a private septic system can be in the tens of thousands of dollars. Proper maintenance and care can extend the life of the system by many years.  For additional information check out the University of Minnesota Extension Service's guide to Understanding Your Septic System.

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