Today in this video, we’re going to cover Title V. It's really about septic systems, and Title V is  the Massachusetts law that covers septic systems installation, and inspections and basically respond to stuff that I like to go over whenever someone's buying a Title 5 property which is pretty common. In this area, 40 to 50 percent of the properties and Title 5, they have septic systems, and so we run into them all the time and there's definitely things that most people should know before they buy a house. I mean, anytime you're buying a house, you should know as much as you can about the expensive components and septic systems definitely qualify. 


So what is Title V? As I mentioned, Title V is a law that governs septic systems. We talk about Title 5 in real estate all the time, but we're usually talking about the report. So when you sell a house in order for you to get a mortgage for the next buyer, to get a mortgage on that house, the bank's know that they need to ask for Title 5, make sure that the septic system is good. So they do! And that Title 5 report is what they need in order to check that box and make sure someone can get that mortgage. So the report is really thorough. I mean, it's 17 pages and even all the pages aren't necessarily filled out for every septic system, there's a lot of stuff that's in the report. If you're looking at a lot of reports, you can sort of figure out a lot of stuff about a septic system. But it’s not exhaustive. They don't dig the system up and check it out. There are things that they do not do and you should be aware of the fact that they haven't done them. And so the main thing that I think most people should really need to understand about a Title V report is that it is not a warranty and it's not a guarantee. So if they give you the report, you buy the house, the system fails a week later. That's just tough luck. That's how it goes. So they're not really on the hook for that. The folks that are inspecting systems are licensed by the state. So it's in their best interest to give you as clear and understanding of the system as possible. And if it is going to fail, they're supposed to fail it when they inspect it. But you know, things can happen. Most of the time that's pretty much how it works. 


A lot of people prefer city sewer, I just did this slide because there are some pros and cons about septic systems, and I think the biggest Pro that's out there that I think people don't understand is that they're super environmentally friendly. Way more than city sewer! City sewer requires power, you know, not not just to move the water from you know your house to wherever it needs to go. But most sewage is treated, and treating sewage is an expensive proposition. It requires a lot of electricity to get waste water back into a situation where it could be released back into the environment. Septic systems, most of the time do not require any electricity at all, and they use bacteria from Mother Nature and they release the whole system back to Mother Nature. So ultimately, you know, you're you really I think it's hard to beat the environmental friendliness of a septic system. Another Pro, obviously as you don't have a sewer bill, I mean sewer bills are hundreds of thousands of dollars every year for most folks in this area and they're going up, you know, they don't tend to go down. They tend to go up because you have to get septic treatment plant. So the more people that move here and where stress is put on septic treatment plants, the more routing they have to do to get him to other treatment plants. It just gets more expensive or more pipes they have to maintain.  


When you don't have a sewer bill there’s a huge savings, now, the offset there is, you're basically in charge of your own Sewer Service. Okay? Even though modern-day systems are designed - and Even the older systems - are designed for a really long use by that, I mean, decades, 25 to 30 years is what they were designed for, when they do need to be replaced, the bill is often very expensive. Twenty to forty thousand dollars is not out of line for typical septic replacement, especially a full replacement. So some systems can be kept going by replacing parts, you know, a lot in this area, a lot of D boxes, were not required to be particularly good, and today, the standards have been improved. But sometimes you run into older systems that have bad D-boxes. You can replace them, that doesn't cost twenty to forty thousand dollars, but it's not cheap either, and it's expensive. There are things that you need to know there. 


When I'm looking at a report. There's a bunch of things that I'm trying to figure out. First, I'm trying to figure out how old that system is because like I said, most of them are designed to last 30 years. If you got a system that's 50 years old that’s in the ground, I think you need to have a discussion about that. Right? Like, it's really you got to start thinking about how the systems work and how much pressure it's been under for 50 years, try to dig into the report, see if they've got good drainage information in there. If it's if it's a system that was done in the 1990s and that would make it 25 years old today, not really worried about that system, quite as much because the technology has gone a long way. And if it's been properly maintained, it will probably still have, you know, plenty of life left in it. 


But ultimately, when you're looking at the report, those are the kinds of things you're trying to figure out. Sometimes we run into ed. (houses) that have very small systems, even though the house is quite large. I won't get into why we see that, but sometimes you do see that. So it's a four-bedroom house it functions like a four-bedroom house, but it's only got a two bedroom system... If you're putting a lot of people in the house, that's a concern. Because the amount of water that that system is designed to handle, it's probably not consistent with how you're going to use the house. So that is definitely something that you need to look at for any system that you’re going to buy, making sure that it's the right size for how you're going to use the house. Not just the right size for the house. A tough thing to find out from the report is how well the seller is taking care of the system. It's not usually information we can give you! We just don't know. There is nobody looking at it on a regular basis.  For everyone's who’s buying a septic system, you do have to take some sort of chance there. If there's obviously serious problems with it, they should come up when it's inspected. They should be in the title V report. But there are a lot of things that people can do that are not proper, that are harder to have inspectors notice. I also think people should know, I mean, a lot of houses are on their second septic system and if that septic system was done relatively recently in the last 20 years. If you take care of that system, it's going to last a long time. You know, I mean the chances that it will outlast your run with the house are very good. And you should really understand how they're put together so that you can keep it running for as long as possible for as little money as possible. It really doesn't take a lot of time or money to keep a septic system running the way it ought, and especially modern-day systems, but you still need to know what to do. And so it's probably a good idea to talk about that before you buy the house.



This is what a septic system looks like. I have another video that goes into this in more depth, with the key things here are just that there's a tank, a D box, and a leach field, the report addresses each of these at various levels of detail. They definitely get to take a good look at the tank. They're supposed to take a really good look at the D box, if there are reasons that they can't they note them and if they found problems that require fixes, in those areas they note them too. The one part they can’t really inspect is  the leach field and unfortunately leach field failure often requires a new system. So those are the chances that you take there. Some people don't want to take those chances,  they highly prioritize city sewer systems, but I think you can actually really reduce your risk of having problems with your septic system by looking at those reports and understanding that  Just because it says “pass”, that doesn't always mean everything’s OK. But a lot of times a passed system, with a little bit of knowledge to go along with it, means you can have a lot of trouble free years with that system, and not pay any sewer bills, which can be a really good thing. So, little knowledge can go a long way.  I hope you enjoy the video. 

An Educated Home Buyer is a Happy Home Owner. Read On!