Would you purchase a house with Septic and Well water?

15 Replies

Hi everyone,

 I am looking to buy my first property in North New Jersey area. A lot of the houses in further North New Jersey are cheaper but usually they have septic and well water. Would you buy a house with those? do they entail with a lot of maintenance?

Thank you!

If it is common to the area, I would be ok with it. Just make sure you get the well tested and the septic inspected. Septic tanks can be very expensive to dig up and replace. You have to get them emptied every 1-2 years.

I haven't bought anything with well water, but with septic. I would just get an inspection on it before to make sure it's not acting up.

Originally posted by @Kevin Hill :

If it is common to the area, I would be ok with it. Just make sure you get the well tested and the septic inspected. Septic tanks can be very expensive to dig up and replace. You have to get them emptied every 1-2 years.

 Thanks Kevin for the info! what do you think about Oil fuel above ground inside? I think I should stay away from septic then, looks like it needs maintenance at least every 2 years.

Originally posted by @Deren Huang :

I haven't bought anything with well water, but with septic. I would just get an inspection on it before to make sure it's not act

Thank you for your response Deren! 

Originally posted by @Hoai T. :
Originally posted by @Kevin Hill:

If it is common to the area, I would be ok with it. Just make sure you get the well tested and the septic inspected. Septic tanks can be very expensive to dig up and replace. You have to get them emptied every 1-2 years.

 Thanks Kevin for the info! what do you think about Oil fuel above ground inside? I think I should stay away from septic then, looks like it needs maintenance at least every 2 years.

 Above ground in the basement is better than in the ground. However, most buyers/renters prefer natural gas. If there is gas in the street, you could always convert.

Are you investing in them as long term rentals or flipping? As rentals, you can expect some additional costs with well and septic. I've got 4 now with well or well and septic. And every single one has been hit with a 1k or more to replace something.  The well and/or septic systems have been ok. But the pumps are what go bad and are very expensive. And its not as easy to get someone that can address those sometimes.

Out here in illinois, they passed some stupid law and quite a few of these septic companies closed up shop. 

Originally posted by @Mike H. :

Are you investing in them as long term rentals or flipping? As rentals, you can expect some additional costs with well and septic. I've got 4 now with well or well and septic. And every single one has been hit with a 1k or more to replace something.  The well and/or septic systems have been ok. But the pumps are what go bad and are very expensive. And its not as easy to get someone that can address those sometimes.

Out here in illinois, they passed some stupid law and quite a few of these septic companies closed up shop. 

 I'm looking for a multifamily where I can live in one and rent out the rest, so  I would say it's a long term rental.  I have to be very careful with potential additional cost as the New Jersey market is pretty tough right now I feel. My numbers don't work with more expensive properties, the cheaper ones seem to work a bit better but they are usually septic and well which I have to have an idea of how much these cost in the long run  and whether the numbers now really works. 

Just make your offer contingent on inspections of the well and septic systems. You may have to pay a few hundred dollars for each inspection, but it will be well worth it to know if they are in good condition or need repair/replacement, then you can go back to the seller and renegotiate.

As far as owning goes, just make sure you and your tenant treat the septic correctly and not just flush anything, since you'll be on site that should be easier to control then if you were absentee landlord.  

@Hoai T. my current home has both well and septic... I’ve been here for almost 6 years with no issues with either. The maintenance on septic is exaggerated and where they suggest suggest taking a look at it every 2 years, if it’s properly maintained doesn’t need to be pumped that often. There is expense in the well as the pump might go out at some point...but again we’ve got one on our place that’s been there for 20 years and is still working fine.
If it were me in that situation I’d look at a few different things,
1. Educate myself on the “disadvantages” of the cheaper properties and understand true cost (rather than perceived)
2. Look at how long before being able to connect to city utilities
3. Use the “disadvantage” as negotiating leverage

I dont hesitate a bit with well and septic . Its very common in my area .  The trick is to use liquid laundry detergent and dont put grease down the drain . Pump every 3 or 4 years .   I have 4 properties well and septic , and havent had an issue

I have a couple properties on well and septic and have owned one in NJ. For well NJ has a water test it has to pass. It is a couple hundred dollars. not sure how often you need to do it. Keep in well flow rate and the risks of overuse.we dont offer onsite laundry due to well. I also had a meter installed to track use. search privatewellclass.org for more info. Drilling a new well can get pricey in NJ. For septic it depends on the system. We empty ours every 2 to 3 years. it is not worth it to me to have the risk of backed up sewage due to a full tank to do it less often. i had an arizona house where this happened they hadnt pumped the tank i think ever... If it has a pump it is more trouble but gravity systems can last a long time.

Make sure the septic is big enough if you are planning to re-build the house. The size of the septic has to conform to the number of bedrooms in the house. If the septic is small or limiting, use that as a negotiation advantage.

You city dweller you! LOL. Well and septic are how its done as soon as you get out of the city. Maintenance is nearly none. You do need to be careful to only flush degradable materials. You can add a bio-eater every so often to help out the system. So long as you take care of the system, it will last a very long time with no monthly fee and no regular pumping. Same goes for the well. Get them both tested. Ensure your renters understand how to use a septic.

Downside is that you own them and if they do fail, its on you. Septic is big bucks because it is buried. Well is expensive because of the drill rig needed. Then again, if you live in the city, you will pay higher taxes and possibly get a special assessment when it comes time to replace those systems too.

On the upside, you own them. Some people like the idea of backing up the well pump with solar, wind or a hand pump, then being completely off the grid when it comes to water and waste.

Septic tanks are not an issue unless they are too close to the fresh water well supply.  Get the tank checked as a contingency of the purchase contract. Sometimes the laterals are plugged or collapsed. Treat the septic tank on a regular basis by flushing a box of Rid-X or similar product down the drain. If the system needs replaced there is a new one that you add a pill to every 30 or 60 days that puts out clean water on the ground surface.

I am in the process of purchasing a multi-family with well water, septic, AND propane!  It will be a learning experience.  The beauty of Well Water is that it's Free!  No paying monthly water bills.  And Septic is not a big deal as long as it is maintained (you/your tenants must never put any bleach or chemicals down the toilets, tub or sinks).  I wouldn't totally discount a property merely due to septic.  There are lots of towns in NJ that are still on septic.

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