5 Reasons to Get a Septic Inspection Before Buying a Home

toilet paper

Ask any real estate broker, and they will highly recommend a septic inspection before buying a home. The home and septic inspection process isn’t always required, but it’s worth doing to identify areas of concern and save you money in the long run. Here are five things that your septic inspection can detect. 

No Septic System or Leach Field 

This one is a very bad situation to run into while having your septic inspection, but it’s better to make sure you actually have a septic system and leach field. If the home’s lot is not large enough to support a septic system and leach field? This is why having a septic inspection is so important before you purchase your home. The entire new system can cost $15,000 to $20,000 or more. 

Root Damage in the Leach Field 

Bathroom before septic inspection

Your home inspection will address a leaky faucet or broken toilet, but a septic inspection will ensure that waste is disposed of properly.

Roots are a common issue here in Maine. Even after just 10 years, your leach field can be completely damaged by new tree growth. In fact, it’s the new little trees that do the most damage to a leach field and septic tank. During the septic inspection, they run a camera from the septic tank into the leach field to discover these issues very quickly. Leach fields cost anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000 depending on the size, so making sure that your leach field is unimpacted by roots is very helpful.  

Septic System with a Metal Top 

In older homes, you may find that your septic system has a metal top, which can be easily damaged when removing the lid to pump the system. Companies often prefer that you pay someone to have the lid removed prior to being pumped and you also have to pay to have the lid put back on. The only way to find out what type of system you have for sure is to have a septic inspection. 

Leach Field Damage due to Vehicles or Heavy Equipment 

This happens all the time, and the sellers usually have no idea. The preferred placement of a leach field is away from a driveway, shed, or garage so that vehicles are not driving over it. As mentioned, leach fields are not cheap to fix.  This is another great reason to have a septic inspection done. 

System Backups and Clogs 

Out of all the septic tank system problems any homeowner could encounter, backups and clogs are the most common. Septic tank systems that are subjected to voluminous usage, especially over an extended period of time, may result in a major headache if the tank is not emptied frequently enough. This happens when a high amount of solid waste accumulates at the base of the septic tank without periodic pumping. Without sufficient emptying, sludge may start to get into your drain field and create clogs, inhibiting wastewater from dispersing naturally into the ground. The easiest and most guaranteed prevention of such problems is to get your tank pumped out as frequently as is recommended. No one would like the idea of dirty sewage seeping back up through the drains. Having a septic inspection allows you to see if these problems have occurred and will let you know if the system needs to be pumped prior to purchasing.  

In my professional experience, I have encountered four out of five of these issues and saved my buyers thousands of dollars in the process. If they hadn’t had a septic inspection, they would have had to pay for these issues down the road. Having an experienced agent looking out for you during the buying process pays in the long term.  

About the Author

Working in real estate has given me the opportunity to share this special place. I am honored to offer my sellers and buyers the knowledge I've gained from years of real estate experience, but more importantly, to share their passion for the ski resort and the Bethel area. Whether you are buying or selling, I will communicate, advocate, and share my expertise. I fell in love with Bethel as a Gould student athlete, but I grew up skiing the slopes of Sunday River and Mt. Abrams with my family every weekend,  and it's where I learned to ski at four years old. Skiing as a family was a choice my parents made and one of the reasons we moved to Maine.

I started my real estate career in 2000, and have built and sold several homes in the area. I currently live in Bethel with my daughter, Charlotte Lambert. She attends Gould Academy and among her many interests is a passion for ski racing. She is learning the student athlete balance and a love for the outdoors. 

We are the official real estate company for Sunday River, and in turn, we have the largest marketing base of any real estate company in the area. We cover the entire western Maine mountain region, selling homes, land, waterfront, house packages, commercial, and seasonal rentals. The ski industry and Sunday River move at a fast pace. Working with Sunday River Real Estate affords our clients the most up-to-date information about the resort. For expert knowledge of resort changes and real estate developments, please join our newsletter. I look forward to working with you!


Sunday River Real Estate 15 South Ridge Road, PO Box 4500 Newry, ME, 04261 P: 207-824-5051 F: 207-824-5053 [email protected]