If you're selling a property in Massachusetts and your property has a septic tank system, you'll need to pass a Title V inspection.
Specific to the Bay State, Title V refers to a set of regulations created to protect waterways and the environment; septic tank inspections are an important part of these regulations. If you've passed an inspection within two years before a sale, you're set; if you're selling to family, you may not need one at all – see a step-by-step Title 5 inspection deep dive here.
How to Find a Qualified Title 5 Inspector
When you do need one, be sure to find a qualified, licensed system inspector; here are some state guidelines that may help. The cost of inspection can range from $300 to $500. Have it done before your listing goes live – a passed inspection is a plus for your place from the buyer's perspective.
The inspection procedure can seem quite complicated, but good septic tank inspectors are experts at the local regulations and requirements for your area and will walk you smoothly through the process.
What Happens During a Title 5 Septic Inspection?
A detailed title 5 septic inspection can usually be completed in just a few hours, and the system inspectors will take care of all the paperwork for you as well.
During the inspection, the system inspector will review the size of the property, the septic tank, distribution box, and the leach field. Once each system component is assessed, the inspector will typically check the inside of the home as well to ensure the toilets, sinks, and mashing machines are all functioning correctly.
Once the inspection is complete, your septic inspection report can have three possible results:
- Pass: Great news for the buyer and seller both. The system is in good working order and no further action is required. Our inspector will certify that your septic system has successfully passed inspection.
- Conditional Pass: If septic system repairs are required the inspectors will advise you as to which components of the system require repair or replacement. Once the necessary septic system repairs are made, you will receive a certificate of compliance.
- Fail: If a septic system fails an inspection, inspectors will provide the reasons
for the failure and the Board of Health will advise which steps need to be taken to correct the failure.
Septic system replacement is a major investment. Failing systems are not just potential deal-breakers, they can contaminate groundwater resources that affect the entire surrounding community. The Title 5 inspection lets the buyer and seller know exactly what will be required to complete a successful transaction all around while protecting the community from the environmental hazards of a failing system.
Helpful Tips for Title 5 Inspections
Tax Credits for Septic System Replacement and Repair
If your septic system does not pass a title 5 inspection, the state of Massachusetts offers tax credits for up to 40% towards the cost of repairing or replacing your system, for a repair cost of up to $15,000. This tax credit will be spread out over the course of four years to help reduce the burden of upgrades or repairs, for a maximum credit of $6,000.
Maintaining your Septic System
Taking steps to maintain your septic system over time can save you a significant hassle (and money) when the time comes to sell your home. To keep a healthy septic system, we recommend:
- Limiting excess water use
- Only flushing septic-safe toilet paper
- Keeping chemicals and food waste out of your septic system
- Covering your septic tank with grass or other plants with shallow root systems
Whether you’re looking for a Boston real estate agent or an expert Cambridge realtor to sell your Massachusetts home, let Dwellful match you with a real estate professional who has the experience and resources to navigate Title 5 regulations. Get connected today!