Perk Test

A percolation test, or perk test, is a way to evaluate the absorption rate of a particular area of soil. Perk tests are important because septic systemscannot be designed appropriately without understanding the absorption rate of the soil. Regulator agencies require that all land undergoes a perk test before a septic tank is installed. Even if a septic system is not being installed, a perk test can be beneficial in that it determines the quality of the soil in a given tract of land.

Drilling

  • The first step of the perk test consists of drilling holes into the ground. A minimum of three test holes will be drilled, and the holes can vary from 6 inches to 4 feet in diameter and 3 to 20 feet in depth. The holes will then be filled with water, and the testers will time the water to see how long it takes for the holes to drain completely. This measurement allows the testers to calculate the rate of absorption of the entire area mathematically.

Soil Testing

  • During the test, the testers will also categorize the different layers of soil according to type. For example, they will label each layer as “silt,” “loam,” “clay” or “sand.” Some layers will be a blend of these soil types. It could be that each hole will reveal a different type of soil, in which case further testing may be required.

Differences in Tests

  • The tests and their results may differ depending on the purpose of the tests. If the facilities that will be built include water-using appliances–such as dishwashers, washing machines or commercial kitchens–the absorption rate must be higher to accommodate them. Vertical septic pits also require higher absorption rates than most lines that must be laid closer to the surface.

Skewed Results

  • Sometimes the results of a perk test can be skewed. For example, if you use a post hole digger or auger to dig the holes, the tool may smear the soil along the edges of the hole as it drills. This can result in a significant change in the results. Results are more likely to be skewed if the test is done by the landowner rather than by an expert. Professionals are licensed and experienced to deal with the technical details that are part of a perk test.

Importance

  • Although a perk test can be an expensive investment, it is just that–an investment. A perk test determines the value of the soil. For investors, the quality of the soil is of the utmost importance. For landowners who intend to build, knowledge of the soil is definitely necessary. In fact, legally a tract of land must undergo a perk test in order for certain devices to be installed, such as septic tanks.

Latest Homestead Tax Information

A picture of the MAR logo 

Legislation Signed by the Governor
5/1/2012
Today, Governor Snyder signed legislation providing homebuyers a fair process when it comes to their property taxes.
Senate Bill 349, sponsored by Senator Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell) creates two Principal Residence Exemption (PRE) filing dates; one on June 1st, and the other on November 1st.  Additionally, this legislation allows bank-owned properties to retain their PRE so that buyers can qualify at the lower rate of taxation. This is particularly important since foreclosures have flooded the market in recent years.
Below are a few FAQ’s regarding the new law:
1.     Does the legislation take effect this year?
A.   Yes. The new law moves current May 1st PRE filing deadline to June 1st of this year.
2.     How does it work?
A.   If a homebuyer purchases a Principal Residence and closes on or before June 1st, they can take advantage of a significant tax break by filing for a Principal Residence Exemption.
3.     When is the additional filing date?
A.      November 1st. This allows for tax relief in those communities that still collect a portion, if not all of their non-homestead mills, on the December tax bill.
4.     If my client buys after June 1st this year, what can they expect?
A.   If a homebuyer purchases a home after the June 1st filing deadline, and their local tax authority collects all non-homestead mills on the spring tax bill, their property taxes may not reflect the exemption until the next tax bill. If however that local tax authority collects a portion of the non-homestead mills on the winter tax billing cycle, the homebuyer can file for a PRE before the November 1st and exempt themselves from any non-homestead mills collected on the December bill.
 5.     What about the foreclosure provisions?
A.   Banks have the option of maintaining the home’s Principal Residence status by filing a Conditional Rescission.  By maintaining this exemption status, it’s the expectation that borrowers will be able to qualify for financing on these foreclosed properties at the PRE rate and begin paying the lower rate of taxation as soon as they move into the home. To make up for the lost school revenue, banks will be assessed a newly defined tax that will keep the 18 mills (which they presently pay on any foreclosed property) when a property can no longer qualify as a principle residence. It is important for those REALTORS® working with bank clients to let lenders know about the change and communicate the benefit of filing a Conditional Rescission.

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