Quick Answer:

Yes, you shouldn't have a problem selling a home with a  septic system that doesn't work. Be sure and follow local laws!

If the local laws in your city say you can’t sell a home with a faulty septic system, you will have to repair or replace it (which is very possible and can be done on a budget). Selling a home can be a difficult and costly process. You have a lot of work to do to make your home attracts buyers. 

A failing septic system may make your home less attractive and can keep buyers away, and lower the value of your home. But before you give up on ever finding a buyer, remember that a failed septic system doesn’t mean you won’t be able to sell your home. It just makes the selling process a little more complicated. 

What is a Septic System and What Does it Do

Gray water and wastewater from your home are safely treated by a septic system. Septic systems are a well-established method of waste management in rural areas where homes are not connected to a city sewer system.

A pipe transports the waster from your home to a buried, watertight septic tank (usually made of fiberglass and concrete), where it is held stored long enough for solids to settle to the bottom. They form sludge there, allowing the oil and grease to float to the surface as scum.

Did you know that the size of your septic system is based upon the number of bedrooms in the home. If you and your family use too much water, the system will overload.

man smelling bad odors from septic tank failure

Who Would Want a House With a Failed System

Examining the many aspects of selling your house without a working septic system is important. You’ll save time and money if you know the dos and don’ts of selling a house that needs work.

Septic systems that are still in use occasionally exist in rural regions. Your home might be able to be sold “as is” as a result of this. It’s feasible that residents who grew up here might like to buy a house close by so they may stay there. This is unlikely to represent a sizable share of the purchasers.

Most brokerage firms won’t list a house with such a serious problem because of the risk. A real estate agent won’t list properties that have problems that the property owners don’t want to solve, especially  on MLS.

Realtors want listings that sell quickly, without any concerns, for the highest possible price, and with minimum hassle. Their compensation is commission-based (percentage of the final selling price). This has an impact on how fast and how much they are paid.

Although it is possible to find someone willing to repair the septic system for you, this will almost certainly require a large amount of cash.

Lenders of mortgages will insist on the possibility that collateral can be sold in the event of default. The home must be in good condition and all systems working. The septic system is an important component of your home and should be repaired before you close.

Buyers have to save enough money for their down payment. Buyers don’t have the money to make major repairs so they search for homes that can be “move in ready”. They should not fix problems on a property they don’t own yet, even if they have the money.

You might consider looking for someone to buy your house for cash. They want a property that is “as-is” to fix the problems. This is what real property investors do every day,  can guide you through the process, and won’t conduct a home inspection.

Types of Real Estate Investors

Real estate investors fall into one of two categories. These are frequently known as “home flippers.” A house will be renovated for quick selling. Flippers are those who are interested in making quick money.

The second category consists of long-term investors who intend to keep the property and rent it to renters. These investors seek steady rental income with the potential to sell the property.

Both types of investor benefit from purchasing homes that require work. They can repair properties on their own. They save money than a homeowner who has to hire someone to fix their property.

Investors are looking to buy homes below their market value because of significant repairs or remodeling they can do themselves. Even a condemned home can be easily sold if the seller targets potential buyers.

Is it Against the Law to Sell the Home “As-Is”

It may be illegal to sell property with a failed septic system that is being used as the buyer’s primary residence, depending on where it is located.

Local building codes will be well-known to investors in your region. Both parties to the sale should be familiar with the rules. Your home may be able to be sold as an investment property. If it is not possible, an experienced realty investor near you will be able to help.

Before the title is transferred, they will have a plan to make repairs with their funds. An investor may be able to lend you money that is backed by your home equity. This money will be used to fix the septic. After the repairs are completed, you’ll sell your house to an investor.

septic system flooding yard

Proper Way to Disclose to a Buyer

Here are some tips we advise sellers use; starting with transparency.  It is a seller’s responsibility to disclose this kind of information.  

The state regulations regulate consumer protection issues, such as what you tell potential buyers of your home. No matter if you work with a broker, your state’s disclosure regulations will be applicable to you as the property owner.

Failure to disclose material facts about your property can be just as serious as lying about it.

If you choose to go this route, all property disclosures should be in writing. Prospective buyers should sign a copy of the document for their records. You can use or must use a disclosure form in many states.

Yes, you shouldn’t have a problem selling a home with a non working septic system, unless local laws say otherwise.

If local laws dictate you cannot sell a home with a faulty septic system, you will have to repair or replace it. Selling a home can be a difficult and costly process. You have a lot of work to do to make your home attracts buyers. 

A failing septic system may make your home certainly can deter buyers and lower the value of your home. But before you give up on ever finding a buyer, remember that a failed septic system doesn’t mean you won’t be able to sell your home. It just makes the selling process a little more complicated. 

Benefits and Drawbacks of Selling your Home “As-is”

The biggest benefit of selling your house “as is” is the ability to pass the problem on to the buyer. You avoid:

  • Spend your money upfront on repairs
  • Finding plumbers to repair the damage
  • Comparing Pluming Quotes
  • Supervising the plumbing services
  • Waiting for the sale of your home to recover your expenses
 

You will add more uncertainty and time to an already lengthy process if a homeowner is trying to buy your house.

Experienced real estate investors pay cash and perform their own septic system inspection. They are not afraid to make major repairs. Even if there are major problems, such as a poor septic system, they can close fast.

Selling directly to investors will save you many fees and other costs, such as broker commissions.

Cons of Selling with No Repairs

Homeowners would make more money if they made renovations before selling the house than than selling it “as-is.” In the future, the cash buyer will lower their offer to account for the cost of repairs as well as the time and labor expended on the repairs, whether they are an investor or a homeowner.

The formula used by the investors to determine their offer will be provided. The investors should go over their calculations and outline their offer when they make it to you. The investor will reduce the price to achieve the anticipated profit if they intend to resell the property and have not yet calculated the cost of repairing the septic system.

Signs a System is Failing

Here are some signs that foreshadow a septic system is failing!

  • You may notice stagnant water or a sewage smell near your tank, which possibly might indicate your septic system has failed.
  • Backing up of water and/or sewage into the home via toilets, sinks, and drains
  • Spongy grass that is growing around the tank.

How to Sell Houses with a Faulty Septic System

Pick up the phone and dial a property-certified inspector. A few hundred dollars can be spent on inspections, but they are quite worthwhile and will alert you on your particular situation.

For example, some issues can be resolved quickly and without the need to replace the complete system. A lender may demand a septic system examination if you put an offer on a home.

How Much Money Does it Cost to Replace

Another option is to have your home repaired and then sell it. You can sell your house using the traditional method once your home is in working order.

The first step in the process is to call and hire a plumber.  Plumbers will be able to give advice, diagnose the issue,  and present you with options. 

The plumber may present you with an alternative that simply requires a repair rather than the total replacement of the system.

  • It can be listed with a realtor and get a higher sale price.
  • Selling it yourself, FSBO
  • According to the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association, a septic system failure can cost upwards of $10,000 to repair.

According to Your Super Inspector

  • The cost to replace an entire new septic tank will range from $2500-$5000.
  • Repairing a baffle will cost at least $300, and top out at $500.
  • Tank fractures and the cost to repair them will fall between $850-$1500.
  • Service to the pump tank will be at least $450 per tank.
  • There may be additional fees for excavation of the old system.
 

Your house size, soil type, and changes in building or environmental codes can all impact the cost of your home.

Your local health department, your state environmental department or the federal EPA can help you fix your septic system properly.

Your area’s regulations may have changed since the installation of your system. If there are too many septic systems in your area, you may need to install a reserve drain field or an alternative system.

Your septic contractor might need to disturb more of the property if you don’t have as-built drawings that show the exact location of the system.

The estimate that the buyer receives should include a complete replacement of the system. And also should make sure that there is enough room on a different part of the property for the new septic tank.

These factors could increase the cost to repair or replace your septic system.

How Long Does it Take to Repair

It can take between 2 and 5 days to repair your system. Weather conditions can make it take longer.

You should plan for between 2 and 3 weeks if you need to replace your system. Permitting a new system, including soil testing, is required. Your county inspector may be available to inspect the work.

Why Fixing Makes Sense

Did you know that you might be able to fix the components. The best thing to do would be to hire a professional to clean the system. The average cost to clean it will be based upon the size of the tanks.

According to Hemley’s Septic Service, this can be between $282-$525. 

 A working septic system will ensure that your home is valued higher than a house without it.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that a properly maintained septic system can last 20-30 years.

The most common cause of septic system failure is inadequate maintenance.

There could be a chance of repair that makes it worth the cost. It might be as simple fix. Maybe new materials are needed to replace old components!

Keep in mind that the normal market value of an existing house assumes that all systems on the property are in working order. In the event of major repairs, you may be able to recover the cost. You may not receive an increase in the price if your system is old, or needs to be completely replaced.

Why Some Homeowners Sell to an ibuyer or Investor for Cash

Many people lack the finances to properly maintain their septic systems.

If you have other urgent needs, pulling cash from savings could cause problems.

Contrary to working with local real estate investors or a company, selling your house will traditionally include fees like closing costs and realtor commission.

These should be subtracted from the market value in order to calculate your net proceeds. This will make it more difficult to get a dollar-for-dollar repayment for your repair costs.

In many cases,  people don’t have the time or ability to manage a large-scale repair or replacement of their sewer system. After the septic work has been completed, it may be necessary to spend a lot of time on landscaping repairs. 

That is why a seller might want to work with companies that buy houses fast or house flippers that do this for a living.

Want a cash investor to make an offer on your home today? Homeowners won’t have to deal with inspections, repairs, or commission. Get a no obligation free offer now from home buyers!

Frequently Asked Questions 

The fact is a normal functioning pump shouldn’t go for more than 3 years without being pumped.

According to this professional, warning signs include foul odors, green grass, water at ground level, blocked pipes, and slow drainage.