Selling A Home With No Sewer: Why Septic Tank Maintenance Matters More Than Ever

There are a number of basic maintenance tasks that should be completed before you sell your home. In addition to home inspections (and any repairs or changes that may be needed as a result of their findings), many states require sellers to explain the details of their home on real estate disclosure forms. Since a home’s sewage disposal system could be a major point of interest and health concern for potential buyers, it’s vital that you pay close attention to yours.

Septic Tank Care

Despite the fact that 20% of Americans rely on septic tanks to dispose of their sewage, many view the system as a dirty and dangerous one. Successfully selling your home depends on your ability to overcome these incorrect interpretations and explain why septic tanks — and yours in particular — are just as safe and effective as sewer pipes.

Most homes that depend on septic systems are rural; though they have to sacrifice the ease of relying on a municipal wastewater treatment facility, they are often paid back in privacy. By their very nature, rural homes offer peace and quiet — an aspect that many homeowners are desperate for. However, curb appeal is considered one of the top five most important factors in selling; if your drain field is flooded and producing a foul odor, the focus on solitude will go right out the window. It is only through routine septic tank maintenance that you can avoid such a real estate disaster and get the most value for your home.

Know The Risks Of Laziness

The best way to appreciate the benefits of such work is to understand the risks. Let’s take a look at some things that could happen if you don’t commit to the responsibilities that come with being a septic tank owner.

  • Flooding/Overflowing: Septic tanks need to be pumped every one to three years to reduce the risk of clogging. If you neglect your tank, you may wake up one morning to see that the last decade of waste produced by your family is now free-floating in your backyard. In addition to the disgust associated with such an event, exposure to the bacteria that thrive in septic tanks can cause a number of illnesses.
  • Health Risks: We may have come a long way since the discovery of bacteria in 1683, but that doesn’t mean we’re immune to the microscopic organisms flourishing in your wastewater. The fumes of septic tank emissions will be enough to let you know that something is living in there; your pets and family members may experience respiratory and sinus infections if they breathe it in, and gastrointestinal problems if the wastewater is accidentally ingested.
  • Expensive Repairs: Your septic tank needs routine inspections as well as pumpings. This ensures that your tank is not being damaged by growing tree roots or any other external force. If you decide to forgo these checks, you may end up with all the problems listed above and be forced to replace your entire tank.

Septic systems can last up to 25 years if they’re properly cared for. Any potential buyers looking at your property will want to know what you’ve been doing in the past to guarantee the health of the system — in fact, many real estate disclosure forms require you to list the most recent date of inspection and pumping.

To avoid the trouble of a wet and stinky yard and the loss of a potential sale, it’s important that you keep up-to-date on the simple maintenance required of all septic systems. You’re already paying a 5% to 6% commission to your realtor. Why spend more unnecessary money? Your wallet — and your real estate agent — will thank you.


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