Juanita from the inspection company tried to call me again yesterday. She'd found out that, no, $300 doesn't cover the cost of digging up the septic tank cover. That's another $50 -- if it's less than 15" underground -- or $250 if it's deeper than that. Of course, I have no idea how deep it is. On the bright side, those costs do includ burying it again. Juanita's been impressively helpful about all of this; she's going to call the county and find out if they have any information on it. Apparently, the county has kept good records on septic tank installations since the 80s or so, and they may know how deep it is and when it was last pumped. Pumping it would be another $175. Juanita suggested I try to talk the sellers into sharing the costs, so I sent an email to my agent to find out. I must admit that it seems silly to pay $350-$550 to look at the tank and then not pay the additional $175 to pump it -- but even dumber to pay to have the septic tank pumped if the results of the inspection make me decide not to buy the place. I don't have a lot of faith in the seller's willingness to put another dime into their house, but, what the heck, worth a shot.
I called the first company I'd talked to, to confirm that, nope, their cost hadn't included unearthing it, either. I'm afraid the septic tank is going to turn out to be even more trouble to own than it is to buy. Hmp.
Anyway, I asked Juanita if we could do the house and septic tank inspections on different days, so that I needn't pay the small fortune to deal with the tank if the house has termites or is sliding off the foundation or some other deal-breaker. So I feel a little better about that.
Wish I'd suggested that last Friday; then I could've had the house done on Monday after all. Sigh. One more day to wait.