Here in Ipswich, MA as well as across the north shore, we have a high number of septic systems and Title V is commonly part of most real estate transactions. We make it a priority to be well-informed and current on all changes by having regular sessions with our board of health director and constant information sharing. There are many nuances to managing a transaction with a septic system and I highly recommend you hire an agent who truly understands Title V. Thank you to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors for sharing these important facts:
Q. I am selling a home that has a failed Title 5 inspection. What are my seller’s options?
A. Aside from very limited circumstances, a property must have a passing Title 5 inspection within 2 years before a transfer takes place. An inspection is not required before a transfer in the following situations:
1. Refinancing or any situation where no new parties are introduced;
2. a transfer between spouses;
3. a transfer between parents and child(ren);
4. a transfer between full siblings; and
5. where the property is held in a trust.
A property owner or buyer of a property with a failed inspection may also enter into an enforceable agreement with the Board of Health requiring them to upgrade the system or connect to the public sewer within 2 years following the transfer of title. If a property owner has entered into this type of agreement, they must disclose it to prospective buyers, and it must be binding on subsequent owners.
The most straightforward option available to sellers with a failed Title 5 inspection is to repair or replace the system prior to transfer. However, this may not be a viable option for all sellers because of the expense involved. In these situations, the seller and buyer may negotiate a resolution that satisfies both the requirements of the law as well as the financial well-being of all parties involved.