Stompin’ and Sniffin’ Aren’t Good Enough

When you’re buying a house in the Charlottesville are that is not on public water and has a septic inspection, the traditional test is the “stomp and sniff” “inspection” – (update 2020: holy cow, I was young!)


I’ve talked about septic inspections for buyers in Charlottesville before, but my opinion has been reaffirmed and solidified recently.

Update 8 June 2010: The new Virginia residential property disclosure (explained at VARBuzz) further highlights the fact that the standard septic “inspection” is utterly worthless.

WASTEWATER SYSTEM: The undersigned owner(s) makes no representations with respect to the presence of any wastewater system, including the type or size thereof or associated maintenance responsibilities related thereto, located on the property and the purchaser(s) is advised to exercise whatever due diligence the purchaser(s) deems necessary to determine the presence of any wastewater system on the property, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event, prior to settlement pursuant to that contract.

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  1. Doug Francis June 9, 2010 at 16:40

    I’m sure glad to see that you are “solidified”.

    So your clients have found the perfect house which has a septic field that’s about 15 years old, do you have any septic guys who are going to certify the septic system in writing? This paragraph doesn’t give any structure to the situation other than to tell buyers that they need to pay for a septic inspection.

  2. Jim June 9, 2010 at 21:03

    Pun intended. 🙂

    I’ve used Cavalier Septic in Charlottesville many times; they open up the tank and d-box, look at the “T’s”, the lines, the connections, etc.

    In my opinion, this is another inspection that buyers can and should pay for. Think about it – $450 for a septic inspection that could save between $1500 and $15,000. 🙂


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