Septic System - Deal Breaker?

63 Replies

@David Bowles I need to take a closer look at pros and cons of septic products. Based on the comments here, it seems that the camp is divided on the usefulness of it. No clear winner. But I do understand that certain products should not be flushed down. However, I feel that should be a general rule - if septic system or not. Thank you for your insights. 

It appears that most people in favor or have no issue with them live in rural areas where they used to dealing with it. I live in the DC area and anything like septic or well, they sit on the MLS forever. Unless it's the deal of the century, nearly everything else you come across won't have it so there is no reason to even consider it.

i own a rental house on a septic and i just had the tenants sign a septic addendum (look it up, you should be able to find one online). Just basically states that they can't flush anything but waste down the wc. If the system fails, they have to cover the fixing costs. That should make them think twice when flushing down paper and other things.

Shouldn't be a real breaker.  '07 is not that long ago.

As others have said, have it inspected as part of the due diligence.  Plus, in some places, you can't sell a house without an inspection in the recent past - ie less than 2 yrs or so.  Check your local rules.

@Bastian Kneuse

I have had a nightmare system that leach field was COMPLETELY blocked by roots, etc, and didn't know until 2 months after renovations completed and tenant placed, and thousands of dollars replacing the drain field pipes later... in hindsight I definitely would include getting this thoroughly checked in due diligence before purchasing, I never thought twice about it before. I wouldn't exclude it as a criteria for a SFR, but just calculate it in and use as negotiation tool. IMO.

@Bastian Kneuse it all depends on the type of system it is.  Since it was built in 2007 as a subdivision, I'd like to think it has one of the better systems.  As long as it's clear in your lease that it is the tenants responsibility to properly maintain the system.  Here are some links that might help:

Please don't listen to the never pump the septic people. I have had gravity septic systems in 5 different states, you have to pump them usually every 3-5 years. If you have a system going bad or that has heavy use pump every year and you can get more time out of it (this comes in handy if the sewer lines are coming in soon). Usually if they come through with sewers they will make you hook up.   It isn't an extra expense because you don't get a sewer bill. It is a major repair if it fails so that is why you inspect.   Don't let the tenants have large parties if you have septic or well.