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Having a home inspected before you buy it is important. Knowing that a house has a problem can give you an opportunity to ask the seller to make repairs, adjust the price or you can choose to walk away from the deal. 

Some states require a septic system inspection before a home sale, while some lenders require it. Even if a septic system inspection is not required, you should schedule one to avoid expensive bills later.

How Does a Septic System Work?
A septic system collects water and waste from toilets, sinks, showers and washers in a tank. Waste settles to the bottom of the tank, where bacteria break it down. Liquid rises and passes through a series of pipes to a drain field. The water then passes through gravel and soil and is filtered by minerals in the ground. When it reaches the groundwater, it is usable. 

Why Are Septic System Inspections Important?
People often flush items that are not meant to be flushed down the toilet that can clog the septic system and damage key components. A septic system should be inspected and pumped periodically. How often that should be done depends on the size of the tank and the number of people living in the house. 

The number of years a septic system will last depends on how well it is maintained. Many homeowners fail to keep up with routine maintenance. Since a septic system is buried underground, homeowners often don’t give it any thought unless something goes wrong.

How Can a Septic System Inspector Check for Problems?
An inspector can check the septic system visually, flush the toilets and run water throughout the house to check the water pressure and make sure water is draining properly. An inspector can also check the yard for standing water, which may indicate that there is a serious problem, and remove the cover from the septic tank to check the water level inside.

Why Should You Schedule a Septic System Inspection?
The seller may be required to disclose any known problems with the septic system. If the seller has not had the system inspected in the past several years, he or she may be unaware of an issue. 

If you don’t have the septic system inspected before you buy a house, you may find out soon after moving in that there is a serious problem and that the system needs to be replaced, which can easily cost several thousand dollars.

Hire a Qualified Professional
When looking for a septic system inspector, check the person’s credentials. In some places, inspectors must be licensed, while in other areas that is not required. If you have questions about your state’s laws on septic system inspections, talk to your real estate agent.