Buying house with 20+ year old septic system?

Hi, never been this subreddit before so I apologize if anything in this post is inappropriate.

My wife and I are looking to purchase our first house in Holland, MI, and have been looking for a little bit of a fixer-upper (nothing too intense, mostly aesthetic improvements and minor remodeling like flooring, roofing, painting, etc.). We've found a home that we are in the process of closing on, but just had an inspection performed on the septic tank (the inspection being required by county law) and the report states that the septic system is over 20 years old, which is the average life expectancy for the system. It's likely not much older, as the foundation of the house only dates back to 1996 (the main floor appears to have been moved to the new site, as much of the above-ground structure appears to have been built in the 1960s).

The area around the house certainly isn't "marshy," and apart from some hook-ups (i.e., kitchen drain and washing machine outflow) not feeding into the system correctly (it sounds like they were attached to the sump pump drain instead), it looks as though there were no other issues preventing the system from passing.

My question is, would we be ill-advised to continue with a home that has a system past its average life expectancy? We're first-time home buyers who do still have student loans to manage, and I've heard that replacing a failed septic system can rack up costs pretty quickly, so I'd rather not jump into a property that's going to screw us.

And as a potential follow-up question, the area the house is located in isn't particularly rural, and I believe there may be public sewers available. Is thinking that we might be able to hook up to the public system as a replacement for the septic tank a potentially viable solution? I've done a little bit of looking for answers but haven't been able to find much that's consistent in terms of whether or not I can expect to take that route.

Thanks in advance!

More real estate tips at Program Realty Wix site


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