How Much Does a Title 5 Inspection Cost?

Typical Range:

$400 - $800

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated April 5, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

If you’re in the market for a new home, you have a lot of important steps to take before you can head to closing. In Massachusetts, one of those steps is getting a Title 5 inspection if the home you’re considering has a septic tank. 

For most homes, title 5 inspections cost $400 to $800. However, if the inspection fails, you’ll need to make repairs or replace the septic, which could cost up to $75,000 depending on the extent of the damage.

Title 5 Inspection Costs

The typical cost for a Title 5 inspection is $400 to $800. How much you’ll pay mostly depends on the size of the house. In addition to inspecting the septic tank and field, a certified inspector from a local septic service company also needs to test the plumbing throughout the house. Larger homes simply take more time to inspect, so inspection costs are higher.

Title 5 inspections are a requirement for all homes in Massachusetts that use a septic system rather than the local sewer system. You’ll need to pay for an inspection if:

  • You’re undergoing a home renovation

  • You’re selling or buying a home (unless transferring the home to family members)

  • You live in Massachusetts

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Estimating Title 5 Inspection Costs

The cost of a Title 5 inspection is straightforward, but you could incur other costs as a result of the inspection. There’s also the chance you can avoid paying for this septic system inspection in the first place.

Previous Inspection 

As Title 5 inspection costs are the buyer's responsibility; however, you can save money on closing costs if a previous septic inspection is still valid.

These reports are valid for two years, but the report can stay valid for three years if the homeowner keeps up with annual inspections. If a home has a valid Title 5 septic system inspection report, there is no need to obtain a new one before buying.

Septic Tank Pumping

Depending on the local municipality, you may also have to pay for septic tank pumping while obtaining your Title 5 inspection. The average cost to pump a septic tank is $290 to $550.

Septic Tank Repair or Replacement

If you receive a Title 5 passing grade, the home’s septic system is in good working order, and you can proceed with the purchase.

If you receive a Title 5 conditional pass or a failed report, you cannot continue with the purchase of the home until the septic system is repaired or replaced. The Title V inspection will detail the exact issues that need attention to pass.

Examples of system components that may receive a conditional pass include:

  • Metal or cracked septic tanks

  • Uneven distribution boxes

  • Broken or obstructed pipes

  • Malfunctioning pump chambers

A Title 5 Conditional Pass means that some septic system component needs repair. The average cost to repair a septic system is $1,750, but it can cost as little as $200 for a filter replacement or as much as $15,000 for leach field repairs.

A Title 5 Fail means that the septic system needs replacement. This is the worst-case scenario, as the cost to replace a septic system can be as much as $25,000. But if the system’s leach field is extensively damaged, you could see replacement costs skyrocket to $35,000 to $75,000.

FAQs About Title 5 Inspections

What happens during a Title 5 inspection?

During a Title 5 septic inspection, a certified inspector will carefully review all septic system parts, including the septic tank, the leach field, and the distribution box. The inspector will also perform plumbing tests inside the house to gauge how well your fixtures drain, such as flushing toilets and running the washing machine. They’ll also look for clogs during these tests.

Can you sell a house in Massachusetts without a Title 5 inspection?

No, you cannot sell a house in Massachusetts without a valid Title 5 inspection. However, buyers do not always need to obtain a new Title 5 inspection as a previous inspection may still be valid.

How long is a Title 5 inspection good for?

Title V inspections are good for two years. If the homeowner pays for annual maintenance on their septic system, the Title 5 inspection is valid for an additional year, for a total of three years.

What is a Title 5 failure?

Receiving a Title 5 Fail means that the home’s septic system is severely compromised and needs replacement. A home sale cannot go through until the property passes its Title 5 inspection.

How much does it cost to replace a septic system?

Installation of a new septic system typically runs from $10,000 to $25,000. However, you could pay an additional $10,000 to $50,000 to replace a faulty drain field. The high cost is due to the serious flooding that a damaged drain field can cause and the extensive remediation necessary to fix it.

How can I maintain a septic system to avoid costly repairs?

One of the easiest ways to maintain a septic system is to minimize your water use. You can conserve water by installing low-flow showerheads, immediately fixing leaking fixtures, and running the dishwasher only when it’s full.

You should also contact a local septic tank cleaning service every one to two years to have your tank pumped. Neglecting this service can lead to clogs as the tank nears capacity.

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