The Big, Unwelcome Surprise That Could Have Derailed the Sale of Our Home

published Jun 14, 2022
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Coming to terms with needing to move was emotionally excruciating for me. I knew in my heart that making a big change in my life and my family’s lives was the right thing to do, but the pain of leaving everything and everyone that had become an integral part of our daily lives was tough.

But the most stressful part of moving took me a bit by surprise. It wasn’t trying to find a new house (although that felt nearly impossible at the time) and it wasn’t packing up our home of 10 years (although that was not fun). It wasn’t the fact that we didn’t fit into the two moving trucks we’d reserved, or even having to face a new house with a torn-up first floor. 

The most stressful part was putting our old house on the market. I didn’t feel stressed in my mind, but my body told me I was in the form of chest pain that lasted for days. I was on the verge of booking an appointment with my doctor to see if there was something wrong with my heart or my lungs!

While the acute anxiety subsided once we’d accepted an offer and the house was in escrow, nothing felt completely settled until we closed. One curveball in particular felt like it threatened the whole deal. 

When the inspector came for the home inspection, he couldn’t find the septic tank. Crazy, right? Apparently it happens sometimes. So the prospective new owners sent out a septic tank specialist who discovered that a concrete patio we had poured was built over our septic tank! 

We were flabbergasted because we’d had this very thing checked before we began the work on our addition. We couldn’t understand how the mistake had been made until we remembered that extending the patio out as far as we did had been a last-minute suggestion made by the project manager. It was an honest oversight then, but now we had a big problem on our hands. Not only could the septic tank not be inspected, but it couldn’t be pumped when the time came. 

We called the builders who had done the addition for us and the next day they were at our house removing the portion of the patio that blocked access to the septic tank. No questions asked, no blame thrown around, just good old-fashioned taking responsibility. We were able to cut away a portion in a straight line in a way that made the patio smaller but still perfectly presentable. (Later on, we filled the hole that was created with dirt and laid pine straw on it.) The buyers were extremely gracious about the whole thing and just happy that we were able to gain access to the tank. 

I realized (again) the huge importance of taking the time to choose a quality company that stands behind their work whenever you’re having something done on your home. Not only does it make a difference in the caliber of the work itself, but you’re putting your trust in people who could affect the course of events when you go to sell your home down the road — and, trust me, that’s the last time you want to find issues in your house! If we hadn’t had such trustworthy builders, it could have cost us a lot of money and even derailed the sale of our home, making a stressful time even more stressful.