Private Septic & Private Well

7 Replies

Should I try to avoid private septic and private well on a fix n flip? It scares me a little but I'm not exactly sure why. Should it? Any suggestions on due diligence?

@Scott Meyers - Millions of us out here in the rural heartland are on septic systems and/or wells (or natural springs too). If it's common in the area that your flip is located, it's usually no big deal.

Actually, there's probably still millions on septic systems who are located within city limits in many smaller towns/cities around the country.

At my own house (where I've lived for 25 years), I have a well, pump & septic system. The county requires an inspection of the septic tank/field whenever the property changes hands (which means you pay for a contractor to pump it out, clean it, check for cracks, etc. - about $400 here), but the pump, supply lines & pressure tank are all up to you. It's also required to have a percolation test (septic) & a water-quality test (well). The things that usually go wrong are:

1. The septic needs pumping out - people put stuff in there that they should not. VERY common.

2. The pump dies. Find out how old it is, if you can - 25 years is an expected life-span.

3. The pressure tank bladder starts to lose air & although it can be re-charged, it will eventually need to be replaced. Again, find out how old it is - 10 years is a good time to replace it.

4. The well goes dry. No solution for that!

5. It's possible for the leach field to clog up - has to be dug up, pipes replaced & re-installed. $$

All that being said, if the water is certified potable, the septic tank & field are functioning (get the tank pumped, anyway) & all pipes, switches, tanks, etc. look in good order, you're good to go.

You may get some push-back from people who aren't familiar with using a well/septic system, but if you can provide proof that you've done everything to check for safety & functionality, that will go along way toward selling your property. Good luck!

Very common. Question is, is it common in the area? It usually is. If sewer is available, consider hooking up, it can effect the MV being on sewer when available. Test both before you act, you can usually take a sample to your health department for testing. Check the septic for it draining, may need to be pumped, check for effluent in the septic field, if it works and all is dry in the field you're probably good. A perc test will tell for lenders. :)

Ooops! One more thing: make sure it's really on a well & not a cistern. That's another system you may run into out in the sticks. Out here, you have to buy water, have it dumped into the cistern & then pump it where it needs to go. BIG pain in the butt & not at all desirable, in my opinion.

Don't be in a rush to hook up to sewers even if it is available. My home is in the City with a septic field and well. There are occasional expenses associated with this. (Septic fields rarely need to pumped unless there are more people living in the house than the field was designed for.) There is a component of our electric bill that covers running the well pump and we must purchase salt for the water softener but water bills are quite high where I live and are constantly increasing. We never get one.

I agree with the above posters. Where I live, probably 40-50% of the population is on a well and/or septic. Its common practice to have it pumped/inspected at a sale and a water quality and/or quantity test done on the well. It does at a bit to the expense, but I think each thing is about $3-400 each up here.

A well pump that dies can be pretty spendy to replace ($3-5000) depending on the depth of the well, because that changes how much tubing and wiring they need, plus the pump itself, and they have a special truck to raise/lower the well.

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