Why Would You Ask the Seller to Pay for the Well and Septic Inspection?
I was talking to a couple of agents at the office yesterday and one of them was complaining about our purchase agreement asking for the seller to pay for the well and septic inspection (if the house is on well and/or septic). He was saying that perfectly good offers were getting countered because of this one item.
He has a couple of options- he can cross out seller and hand write in buyer and have it initialed, or he can cross out the whole paragraph and the buyer can make it part of his general home inspection.
Another agent wanted to know why he would want that removed; after all he is working for the buyer and the seller should have to prove their well and septic worked properly and the water clean. Like supplying clean title.
I ask- As a buyer’s agent why would you put the seller in charge of ANY of your inspections?
“Back in the day” many of the purchase agreements asked for septic inspections to be performed by the county. Oakland County used to send out a sanitarian, who would walk out to where he thought the septic field was, sniff the air, and approve the septic. That’s not really much of an exaggeration. The point is, there is no hard and fast rule as to what constitutes a well and septic inspection. And most purchase agreements that have pre-printed that the seller is to supply a satisfactory well and septic inspection don’t specify exactly what they want done and what constitutes satisfactory. Just a sniff test? A dye test? Open the tank and take core sample from the field?
And the water…. Who is collecting if the seller is having it done? What lab? Are the including arsenic and lead? Do you even care if the water is tested? Because no matter what the purchase agreement states, you REALLY are paying for that well and septic inspection. Sellers have a bottom line and any costs you ask them to cover will be factored into the sale price. So really you are still paying, but giving up the power to have any say in how those inspections are performed and who is performing them.
Sellers- If you get an offer asking you to pay for the well and septic inspection DO NOT COUNTER that condition. In the whole scheme of things, the couple hundred dollars a well and septic inspection costs is nothing. Let the buyer’s agent “save” them $200 or $300. I’m not suggesting you would cheat and send distilled water to a lab, but if you hire a home inspector to collect the water and take it to the lab you have control. We don’t know the buyer’s inspector. We don’t know how long that water sample might roll around in his trunk. Also, if you’re paying, a dye test for the septic is sufficient. It’s what is required by FHA, but doesn’t tell you the condition of the field or tank. It just means it’s working.
I don’t know why brokers pre-print contingencies in their purchase agreements. Everything is negotiable. There are no standards, and old customs have been changing to reflect the high percentage of foreclosure and short sale listings. It’s presumptuous to assume in advance how ALL buyers want to negotiate their home purchase.