Is your deal on a city sewer system or a septic system? It makes a huge difference

7 Replies

On my previous post, I put up a short video on how a well system works.

Another major consideration for any deal you are working on is whether the property is hooked up to a city sewer system or a septic system.

Not knowing or ignoring this can be costly.

The video below will give you a good introduction to septic systems.

Most of our activity is done in a rural area where you don't encounter central water and sewer that often. Many people prefer well and septic as they usually have more land than central water/sewer offers. And important to many people the well and septic eliminates the monthly utility expense. Food for thought.

@John Moore Thanks for chiming in. I definitely agree that there are advantages to having a well and septic in the long run since there is no never ending monthly bill.

A bad well or septic tank can definitely make a deal go sideways if the high costs to repair or replace are not factored in when purchasing.

You can either have them inspected and if they fail adjust your offer accordingly.

If you just purchase blind with no inspections and not factor in the potential costs, it can turn out to be an unpleasant surprise if they are bad.

For those of us who have lived most of our lives with septic systems (and possibly wells and/or spring water), this doesn't really concern us at all.  Millions of households in the US are on septic systems.  The only people who fear them are those who have always lived in cities.  Septic systems do sometimes have problems, but the frequency is low.

@Bryan L. I agree that those that have been around septic systems and wells will be more comfortable with them when purchasing properties that have said systems.

I am trying to get the word out to the city dweller investors that may want to learn about them in case they run into a property with a septic or well that they may consider purchasing.

Just curious though, when you purchase a property with a well or septic, do you have them professionally inspected or are you comfortable evaluating them yourself?

@Anthony M.  - I don't have them professionally inspected, or inspect them myself either.  Like I said, the frequency of problems is very low (unless the area is low and doesn't drain well).

Once my workers are in there doing the rehab, any problems that there might be will show up (if any).  I've only had 1 that had a problem, and we got it fixed for less than $1000.  Unless the land is swampy, the odds of having a problem is low.

@Bryan L. Thanks. Good to know that you have not had any major issues.

What about pumping the septic tank? I have heard two schools of thought on that...do it every 2-3 years and.....don't do it you will kill the microbes.

What is your take and what has been your experience on this?

In my area there is discussion regarding mandatory pumping, every so many years. Many items that are put into the septic system are supposed to be biodegradeable but the time line of the product conflicts with how often you need to pump out the system. It is better to have a scheduled pump out than be caught with your pants down. We always test the water when a well is involved, most water testing labs have a selection of tests from very basic to sophisticated, almost like a Chinese menu. The lab may suggest which one is best for your area. More food for thought.

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