Homebuyer’s Guide to Septic Tanks & Septic System Inspections

It is important to understand the difference between a city sewer system and a septic system. When a home is connected to “city-sewer” you really only need to remember to pay your utility bill and make sure your connection to the sewer system is maintained properly. When a home has a septic system there are several other items to consider. Here are some important guidelines when purchasing a home with a septic system.

Is there an Improvement Permit or Septic Permit for the Property?

Depending on the record keeping of the local health department, some permits may be easier to locate than others. If you are able to find the permit that will give you most of the information you need to understand about the construction and location of the system. Once you have this information, you should ask your agent to schedule a septic inspection (more on that later). If you are unable to locate a permit, don’t worry, you can still schedule a septic inspection to answer the questions needed about the system.

There are several licensed septic inspection companies in the High Country. During the inspection technicians will locate the septic tank, uncover the lid, assess the level of fluids and locate the drain field. Once they have completed those tasks, they will pump the tank.

What are Septic Systems?

The Septic Tank

The septic tank itself is the holding tank for all of the liquids and solids that leave your home. The septic tank gets everything from the showers, bathtubs, sinks, dishwashers, washing machines, and of course the toilets. It is important for the tank to be operating at the correct level. The technician will be able to asses the level by inserting a camera inside the tank. The camera will reveal if the system’s ability to intake solids, break them down over time, and then dispense them in fluid form into the drain field.

The Drain Field

The drain field is a series of lines or ditches that allow the liquid (effluent) from the tank to naturally and safely percolate throughout the soil. There is a specific design and formula used to create the field and it depends on the number of bedrooms in the home (usage), the soil quality, proximity to water sources and to permanent structures. Once the technician has done all of those tasks, they pump the entire tank and examine the condition of the tank itself. During this time, the technician can appropriately asses if the tank is in good working condition. Then the tank is cleaned and refilled with water to the correct operating level. The customer will receive a written report with all of the information needed to understand the system. Our firm encourages all buyers to conduct a septic inspection if the property is not connected to “city-sewer.”

Overwhelmed by the ins and outs of the home buying process? 828 Real Estate is here to help. Contact us for more information on home inspections in the High Country of North Carolina.

Listing: Contact Form

About the Author

A Realtor® in Boone and the High Country since 2003, I am passionate about offering my clientele superior service, innovative marketing, and a highly personalized, boutique-style experience. Upon moving to Boone, I started my real estate career as an Investor and was Broker-In-Charge of my own firm. Since then, I have excelled with other real estate firms and built a strong network of client friends. Together with my network of real estate-related professionals, along with my Professional Home Staging business, we will polish your home buying/selling experience with your goals as a priority. 

I’ve lived all over the United States from the NE to the SE and California before landing in Boone, NC. You’ve seen the signs, “The mountains are calling, and I must go?” Well, that was me 21 years ago! I love bluegrass music and, it seems, many of the great pickers were born in NC with a guitar in their hands! I sing, play a little mandolin and keyboards, and can be found at outdoor festivals and concerts when I’m not showing property! I also participate in many of our area’s outdoor activities, from hiking and biking to kayaking- the New River is my summer home! Caring for the needs of High Country residents is also very important to me. I serve in many ways, from preparing and serving meals at the Hospitality House to School Events to Habitat for Humanity Home Builds. In addition, I am honored to serve our community as a Licensed Foster Parent and Certified Guardian ad Litem, advocating for children in the courtroom.

The High Country of North Carolina is unique, with sizeable second home and student populations driving much of the market. It’s important that you work with a Realtor® like myself who is experienced and educated in the area, guaranteeing our success together. The acronyms behind my Broker title are not just letters - they stand for something;

 GRI - Graduate of the Realtor Institute. Brokers holding this designation have completed 12 3-day courses over 2 years or more for in-depth training.

 ABR - Accredited Buyer's Agent. An (ABR®) designation means your Realtor® has made extra efforts to raise the bar with additional courses and proven experience in serving BUYERS.

 SFR - Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource Certification. Short sales and foreclosures are not for the faint of heart, and the courses I've taken arm me with the knowledge to assist clients in this area.

My business approach is founded on building lasting relationships based on commitment and trust, and much of my business comes from referrals from past clients. 

Make me Your Realtor of Choice, and work with someone you can trust to take your needs to heart and find the perfect property for YOU in the HIGH COUNTRY!