Selling a House? You May Need to Replace a Septic Tank

Are you in a hurry to sell your home? You may wonder if you should replace a septic tank before moving.

If you have septic issues, you should repair or replace the unit as soon as possible. The last thing you want to do is sell your home without disclosing septic issues.

In certain cases, a cash buyer may be willing to ignore septic problems. In most cases, however, a buyer would want you to address the issue before proceeding with the sale. Contact a septic tank repair service to know the best option for you.

This article highlight will help you determine when you should repair or replace your septic tank. Let’s explore.

Septic Tank Legalities

Selling a home with a failed septic tank is illegal in many states. In other cases, sellers must disclose a malfunctioning septic tank if they intend to sell your property.

In Wisconsin, a septic tank must be in good working condition before you sell your home. Therefore, your best option is to hire a professional to repair or replace the tank.

Septic Tank Warning Signs 

Before contacting a professional, you must know the red flags indicating septic tank complications. The warning signs break down as follows:

  • You notice that water in your shower, bathtub, or sink drains slowly.
  • You hear gurgling noises within the plumbing network.
  • You see standing water near the drainfield and/or septic tank.
  • You smell strong odors around the drainfield and/or septic tank.
  • You notice sewage backup within sinks, drains, or toilets.

A full system failure occurs when sewage backs up into your home or onto the ground surface. If this occurs, a septic tank replacement may be necessary. You don’t want your buyer contending with backed-up sewage in their new home.

In fact, any type of septic failure may indicate the need to replace the system. However, only an expert can recommend the best course of action.

The Replacement Option

If you have a well, the replacement option may be necessary if your water is contaminated. You can hire a professional to test your well water. 

A tainted septic system may cause nitrates, bacteria, and other contaminants to flourish in your well. This means your tank isn’t filtering out contaminants properly. 

If a new buyer falls ill due to contaminated water, and you didn’t disclose the problem, you could be liable. 

Additionally, replacement is necessary in the following cases:

  • Poor Maintenance: Many homeowners don’t realize they need to treat their septic tanks with care. For example, you shouldn’t flush debris (coffee grounds, tampons, or Kleenex) down the toilet. Additionally, using less water around the home will place less stress on the system. 
  • Routine Inspections: On average, household septic tanks should be inspected every three to five years. A professional must pump the tanks every three to five years as well. Without inspection and pumping, the lifespan of the septic tank will reduce exponentially.

Above all, a replacement could be ideal if the system is old. A septic tank should last between 15 to 40 years. Other factors may lower the lifespan, such as vehicle traffic, groundwater flooding, or root infiltration. 

Replacement Costs

The replacement cost depends on such factors as the size of the home and the complexity of the project.

  • Example: If you have a home with five bedrooms or more, you’ll need a 1,500-gallon septic system that can cost between $15,000 and $25,000.

However, the cost to replace a system typically runs between $3,000 and $7,000. If a replacement is necessary, talk to a septic tank expert about a quote. 

The Repair Option

Repairs may be an option if you notice the typical signs, such as bad smells around the septic tank or sewage backing up into your home. Overall, contact an expert if you notice anything out of the ordinary. Septic tank repair could be possible if you contact a professional as soon as possible. 

Repair Costs 

On the low end, costs could run around $150. High-end repairs may set you back around $6,000. The typical range runs between $570 and $3,000.

The national average is usually $1,592. To know for certain, get in touch with an expert who will provide a free estimate. 

Consequences of Selling a Home with a Bad Septic Tank

First, many lenders won’t approve a loan if the property contains a defective septic tank. If you work with a lender-affiliated buyer, the lender may require an escrow holdback. This means you must put down a certain amount of money in escrow to replace the tank.

You may need to pledge 1.5x the amount of the replacement costs. This option may be necessary if the buyer didn’t consider septic replacement in his or her moving timeline.

Conversely, sellers contending with a defunct septic system must deal with cash buyers who know about the issue.

Additionally, the buyer must have enough cash on-hand to repair or replace the system. This scenario is possible if you’re a motivated seller.

In some cases, buyers are willing to purchase the property as-is. Therefore, they may be willing to overlook a broken septic system.

Consider Wisconsin law above all else, including the local regulations of your county. You could be in legal trouble if you sell your property and knew about the malfunctioning system. 

Replace a Septic Tank the Right Way

To replace a septic tank, do so on the recommendation of an expert. A septic professional will assess your tank, and you can get a free estimate. An expert can recommend replacing or repairing the tank. 

Contact a professional if you notice bad smells, backed-up sewage, or slow drains. These small problems could add up to major complications if delay any further. 

Want to know more about septic tank problems? Click here to learn more. 

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