Can you sell a house with a bad septic tank system?

When it comes to selling a house with a bad septic tank system TRANSPARENCY is the key to getting your house sold fast.

What is a Septic Tank?

A septic tank is a key component of a septic system, which is a small-scale sewage treatment system commonly used in areas without connection to main sewage pipes provided by local governments or private corporations. Typically, septic systems are used in rural areas, though they can also serve homes in urban areas situated on large lots.

Basic Components:

  1. Septic Tank: The septic tank is a buried, water-tight container usually made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. Its role is to hold the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle down, forming sludge, while the oil and grease float to the top as scum. The tank design includes compartments or baffles that help in preventing the scum and sludge from leaving the tank and traveling into the drainfield area.
  2. Drainfield: After the wastewater has been partially treated in the septic tank, the clarified liquid, or effluent, then exits the tank into the drainfield. The drainfield is designed to further treat the effluent by letting it percolate through the soil, which acts as a natural filter. The soil’s microbes further treat and break down the contaminants in the wastewater.

How It Works:

  1. Wastewater Generation: When wastewater enters the septic tank, it’s divided into three layers: solids (sludge) at the bottom, effluent (liquid waste) in the middle, and fats and oils (scum) at the top.
  2. Settling Process: The tank holds the wastewater to allow the settling process, during which the solids settle at the bottom while the oils and fats rise to the top. The effluent in the middle is the relatively clarified water.
  3. Effluent Disposal: The effluent flows out of the tank and into the drainfield, where further treatment occurs as it infiltrates through the soil.
  4. Sludge and Scum Layer Management: Over time, the sludge and scum layers will build up and need to be pumped out periodically (generally every 3-5 years, but it depends on usage and tank size) to prevent the system from failing.


  • Regular inspection and pumping are crucial for the septic system to work efficiently. The frequency of pumping depends on the size of the tank, the number of people living in the household, and the amount of wastewater generated.
  • It is also important to be mindful of what is being disposed of through the drains, as certain chemicals and non-biodegradable materials can damage the system or hinder its operation.

Limitations and Concerns:

  • Septic systems have a finite capacity and can be overwhelmed by excessive use.
  • Failure of a septic system can result in sewage backing up into the house or surfacing around the drainfield, creating health risks and environmental concerns.
  • They are not suitable for areas with high population density as the drainfield requires a substantial amount of space.

If you have a septic system, it is essential to understand its maintenance requirements and signs of potential problems to prevent system failure and prolong its lifespan.

We buy houses with bad septic tanks! Call Us! 678-540-4725


Sell a house with a bad septic system

If you need to sell and your septic system is bad or is failing, you can still get out of the house but you will need to disclose the situation and you may need to reduce the price. As the seller, it is your responsibility to disclose all known issues with the property.

Offer Options

The first option will be to lower the price. In addition, consider gathering estimates from contractors to provide to potential buyers so they know what they’re getting into and have an approximate idea of what it will cost.

This is particularly critical if you are selling to a first time home buyer. Many buyers can get a loan for a house, but getting a loan for repairs such as a septic system can be more challenging.

Fully Disclose the Nature of the Problem

What exactly is failing in the septic system? Is it an issue with a collapsed line to the main or is the septic field no longer draining properly? By finding out exactly what the problem is, you can give potential buyers options on what they will need to do to make the house livable.

Also, do your homework. Have their been improvements to septic access in your neighborhood that would make it possible for you to hook up to city septic lines? While this may not lower the price of the repair, it would give potential buyers information on a once and done repair. Give potential buyers as much information and as many options as possible.

Be Ready to Drop the Price – Sell Your House FAST!

Updating the septic system can be expensive and messy. In addition, if the new owners need to re-route lines to connect to newly available options, they will face a torn-up yard and other challenges for years.

Depending on how deep the septic lines run, they may need to work with their new neighbors to gain heavy equipment access to the digging site. All of this will result in a great deal of bother for the new property owners.

Get Creative With Financing

You might also consider an owner carry loan for a time. If potential homeowners have the money for the septic repair, consider that the down payment and be willing to act as their mortgage holder while they build up additional funds for a down payment on the mortgage. You will have to wait for the payout on selling your house, but putting together an owner carry would get you out from under the septic system repair and the new buyer will be fully invested in their new property and likely to stay.

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