Buying a House with a Failed Septic System: What You Need to Know

In the competitive world of real estate, making an offer without a septic inspection is not uncommon. While Legacy Septic strongly recommends that every home buyer undergoes a thorough septic inspection before purchasing a property, we understand that the rush to secure your dream home in a competitive market can sometimes lead to “no inspections” offers. However, it’s crucial to be prepared for the potential issues that may lurk beneath the surface.

The Cost of Septic System Replacement

The cost of septic system replacement can vary significantly depending on your location and the specific type of system required. In central Maryland, for instance, you could be looking at:

  • Replacement Drain Field: $7,000 – $18,000
  • Sand Mound System: $25,000 – $50,000
  • Drip System: Even higher costs

Closer to the house, the price of a new septic tank can range from $5,500 to $12,000. If the property fails to perc for any septic (absorption) system, holding tanks may be the last resort. These tanks require frequent pumping, often every few weeks to months, significantly increasing the cost of maintaining the property.

What to Do if You’ve Purchased a Home with a Failed Septic System

If you find yourself in the challenging situation of having purchased a house with a failed septic system, the first step is not to panic. Take a deep breath.  These steps are applicable to the rules of central Maryland, check with your local jurisdiction to check your area’s rules and regulations. 

  1. Choose the RIGHT Contractor:   Check reviews, ask friends and family, make sure that you are getting a professional and experienced contractor.   Before jumping to conclusions, it’s essential to make certain that your contractor is thoroughly evaluating your septic system.  Confirm that the septic system is indeed in failure and not just in need of a minor repair, such as a front and/or backline replacement.
  2. Perc Test Permit:  Once it’s confirmed that the septic system requires replacement, have your contractor apply for a perc test permit and subsequently perform a perc test with your local jurisdiction. The results of the perc test will determine the suitability of the soil for a new septic system.
  3. Designing the New System:  Typically, your septic system can be designed based on the perc test results. At this point, you should have a clearer picture of the path forward and the associated costs.

Moral of the Story

Purchasing a home without a thorough septic system inspection can be a risky endeavor. While we hope for the best, it’s essential to prepare for the worst. Septic system replacement costs can be substantial, and the impact on your budget and property maintenance should not be underestimated.

Real estate professionals know that it’s crucial to communicate the importance of septic inspections to your clients, even in competitive markets. Being well-informed about the condition of a property’s septic system is not only financially prudent but can also prevent unexpected hassles and expenses down the road.

For expert septic services and advice, contact Legacy Septic. We’re here to help you navigate the complexities of septic systems and ensure a smooth transition into your new home. Don’t leave your septic system to chance; trust the professionals who understand the importance of a healthy septic system.