Homes with septic resale

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Submitted by Pbranding on July 26, 2021 - 8:31am

Hello, I’m looking to buy a home and in a couple areas where I’m considering (poway) I’m noticing a lot of homes are not connected to the sewer but have septic tanks installed. I’ve never lived in a home with septic so I’m worried about the maintenance and the fact that I have young children. Also worried about future resale. Thoughts on having a home with a septic and whether that will influence future resale?

Submitted by gzz on July 26, 2021 - 10:38am.

I don't think it is a big deal. If you want a house way out in the boonies, you expect septic service.

Sewer is easier of course but not exactly cheap, I think the sewer part of my water bill is like $400 a year.

The edge case is more inner suburbs that have septic. I know this happens sometimes, there's some NYC suburbs 20 miles from Manhattan that have septic. This is a negative since most inner and middle suburb dwellers don't have experience with it, but again I don't think it's a big deal.

Submitted by svelte on July 26, 2021 - 7:20pm.

Well it not as simple a question as it seems.

I was involved in a recent transaction on a home that has septic. The city where the home is located is trying to switch all homes in the city to sewer and is doing it in phases. The reason that the city is doing that has something to do with the soil conditions and how septic was shown to start contaminating the water table - some sort of lawsuit or some such backed them into it.

Here is where it gets interesting. While doing due diligence on the septic system at this home, we found out it was not operating properly. The city, since it is trying to move homes to sewer, has a rule that if a septic repair requires leach line replacement then you can't repair it, you have to switch to sewer.

Not only that but if you are the first person on your street to require sewer, you have to pay for the ENTIRE sewer line back to the main trunk on a main road. Gulp! The calculation for this house was $50K to do that. Then as other neighbors were forced into sewer, they would reimburse you a certain percentage but that money wouldn't come back to you for years probably. (I have no idea why the city doesn't use improvement districts)

Luckily the septic repair ended up being cheap, but you can see how that could have ended up to being a huge headache.

Also factor in that there are restrictions on what you can do over or around the leach lines (trees, patios, etc)...you may end up with a large grass area you can't do anything else with.

Would I shy away from septic? Hell yes! I would have to really, really like the house to buy one with septic. It would probably affect how much I was willing to pay.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on July 27, 2021 - 9:18am.

Can always pee and poop in rustic hole outside.

I'm on septic, been fine. Was failing during escrow, required new leach line. Definitely inspect well

Submitted by svelte on July 27, 2021 - 7:20pm.

My parents had septic for 20 years, it was just fine too.

And I'm sure there are horror stories about sewer connections. I think a few have been described on this site: remember the neighbor whose construction compromised a shared sewer line?

All things being equal, I'm going to take a house on sewer over a house on septic. Same with city water over well. gas line over propane tank. wired internet over satellite.

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