SEPTIC SYSTEMS or PUBLIC SEWER?

By
Real Estate Agent with Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd.

  

 Image result for pictures of sand mound septic systems

  

I know many of you do not typcially work with Septic Systems, but in my area, there are many "rural" areas where Public Sewer is not available and must use Septic Systems  Did you know there are differences between selling homes with septic sewer systems versus the more common public sewer system.

Cities and towns, and their immediate surrounding areas, will be on sewer systems that are maintained by the local public works department. If a neighborhood is outside the area serviced by the local sewer system, the homes will generally use a septic system to handle their sewage and waste water.  Older homes have "conventional" Systems and newer homes are typically built with "Sand Mound" Systems.

There are things everyone should be aware of when selling and purchasing a home with a septic system.  Often a Buyer won't even consider a home that doesn't have Public Sewer.  But knowledge is power.  The more you know about Septic Systems, the better informed-decisions you can make.  Don't be “frightened away” by homes with septic systems, just because they have never had any experience with them.  If properly maintained, septic systems can last the life of the home. 

It is very important that the seller is aware and discloses whether they have a traditional septic system which should be pumped every 3 to 5 years versus a “holding tank” septic system which has no drain field and may need to be pumped much more often.  Sellers need to know exactly where the system is located to avoid accidently drilling into or covering the system.  If you purchase a home with a Septic System, there are best practices for septic system maintenance.  At a minimum, do NOT flush paper towels, baby wipes, cigarettes, coffee grounds, cat litter, medications, or hazardous materials. Avoid dumping grease, oils or fats down the drain as they may solidify and contribute to blockages. A neat trick I picked up at a seminar was flushing a dime sized piece of baker’s yeast every three months to maintain healthy bacteria growth. Don't ignore your Septic System.  Schedule regular septic pumping serivce and stay ahead of any potential issues.  This is the best way to prolong the life of your septic system.   

Buyers should always have the septic system inspected to make sure it  is functioning as it should be before they purchase the home.  Normally the buyer pays for all the inspections.  However, per the Agreement of Sale, if it is required by the inspection company, the seller, at the seller’s expense must pump the septic tank.  The buyer might opt to have a Hydraulic Load Test when the property has been vacant. The test verifies that the system can efficiently receive and filter a volume of liquid that would normally pass through the tank on a “peak flow” day. 

Again, a well maintained septic system should last the life of the home!  Take advantage of not having a monthly Sewer bill.  Personally I lived with a Septic for the first 55 years of my life and had very good experiences with my systems.    

Posted by

Joy

Joy Daniels, GRI, ABR, CSP, e-PRO
JOY DANIELS REAL ESTATE GROUP, LTD
2793 Old Post Road, Suite 200
Harrisburg, PA  17110

(717) 695-3177  office - Call TODAY and let me help you find your dream home!

www.joydaniels.com

Joy@JoyDaniels.com - Email TODAY and let me help you find your dream home!

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Real Estate General Information
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Pennsylvania
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1st Time Buyers
Advice for Buyers
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septic systems
public sewer

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Rainmaker
191,048
Lauren Williams, CPO
Casual Uncluttering LLC - Woodinville, WA
Professional Organizer: Puget Sound homes

Joy Daniels My septic was a NIGHTMARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jan 13, 2019 05:40 PM #1
Rainmaker
3,282,444
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Septic systems are very common in lots of our market area....and people who have only been on muniipal sewer systems need some education.

Jan 13, 2019 05:41 PM #2
Rainmaker
43,317
Rae Dolan
Roots & Wings Realty Group / Champions Real Estate Group - Katy, TX
Real estate agent serving the Katy area

Septic systems were very common where I was from in Florida. I also like rural'esque properties, so my last home in Texas had one too. As long as you treat them well, and perform maintenance, they're typically not hard to deal with. 

Also, I don't know about other states, but Texas also has an addendum for homes with septic systems that need to be used in the contract. 

Jan 13, 2019 05:44 PM #3
Rainmaker
3,220,324
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Joy, what a fantastic education, many people are not aware that in Malibu CA 90 per cent of all homes are not on a public sewer system and it is intentional, Endre

Jan 13, 2019 06:12 PM #4
Rainmaker
526,775
Francine Viola
Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA - Olympia, WA
REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs

Great information for all buyers but especially for buyers who may be leery of a septic system. In our area, too, sellers pay for the inspection and pumping at the time of sale.

Jan 13, 2019 06:47 PM #5
Rainmaker
1,500,858
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Septic systems are pretty normal in Hawaii with the difficult terrain.

Jan 14, 2019 01:29 AM #6
Rainmaker
3,171,425
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Great information, Joy. We have areas around Charlotte where septic is the only option and many people don't know much about them and are often scared away for the wrong reasons.

Jan 14, 2019 04:49 AM #7
Rainmaker
911,173
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

Lauren Williams, CPO  - I am so sorry you had a bad septic experience.  I know that can happen.  In our area if you want land and privacy, you need a septic system.  I do know if they are propertly maintained, they do well. The problem is most homeowners ignore them!

 

Jan 15, 2019 05:37 AM #8
Rainmaker
911,173
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

Endre Barath, Jr. I had no idea!  That was an interesting piece of information.  You say it was "intentional" . . . and so to me that means it is done not just because it's rural and the public lines don't go that far.  What is the reason?

Jan 15, 2019 05:39 AM #9
Rainmaker
911,173
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

Thank you Nina Hollander,  I know they scare people, that was why I originally wrote the blog.  I do have to say I was surprised to hear from so many others that septics are used predominately in their areas.  

Jan 15, 2019 05:43 AM #10
Rainmaker
191,048
Lauren Williams, CPO
Casual Uncluttering LLC - Woodinville, WA
Professional Organizer: Puget Sound homes

Joy Daniels The property I have in mind, we knew we had septic. We didn't know it hadn't been drained in YEARS... We also didn't know the old well hadn't been properly capped... We ALSO didn't know...

 

Worst best house I've ever owned.

Jan 15, 2019 08:08 AM #11
Rainmaker
911,173
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

That is awful  Lauren Williams, CPO .  Those types of issues don't come up in our area - at least not anymore (I purchased a home that had not been pumped in 20+ years!) because Buyers get inspections and Sellers must pump for the inspection.

Sounds like you might be in a better house now! :)

Jan 15, 2019 12:00 PM #12
Rainmaker
1,965,486
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good afternoon Joy - I grew up in Pennsylvania in a house with septic.  Later we had sewers.  Since then I have not encounter them but I can see they have become more sophisticated.

Jan 16, 2019 01:04 PM #13
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