Selling a House With a Pump Septic Tank – Is it Hard?

If you live in a home in a rural area of Utah, then you may be one of the 60+ million people in America who rely on a pump septic tank for home wastewater treatment. Unfortunately, a septic system can carry some negative biases and scare off potential buyers. Avoid the struggle of selling a house with a septic tank with these helpful tips that will have buyers realizing that no sewer is no problem.

A Utah house with a pump septic tank system

Pros and Cons of a Septic Tank

To some buyers, a septic tank will be a feature they are familiar with and it won’t stand in the way of purchasing your home. Other buyers may feel concerned that the maintenance and responsibility are too much. Here are some pros and cons to owning a home on a septic system:


-Septic tanks are common in rural areas which means that potential buyers who want to purchase a rural home will be prepared for this and it will be more common to them.

-Septic tanks and well water go hand in hand and having your own water source is desirable to certain buyers.

-Septic tanks are cost efficient if properly maintained and do not require monthly sewage bills.

-If you take care of your tank it may never need to be replaced in your lifetime.


– Though it isn’t much, there is maintenance required to stay on top of your septic system. The main cost is a several hundred dollars every 3-5 years to have your tank pumped clean.

– Septic tanks can get their lines clogged if you flush or put down the sink things that shouldn’t go down the drain. When this happens a plumber will have to help fix the problem.

-Tree roots, an earthquake and other problems can break your drainage pipe leading to costly repairs, digging up land and a lack of running water in the house until your line is fixed.

Maintenance of Septic Tanks

Maintenance of a pump Septic Tank in Utah

Since your home is not connected to a city-wide sewer system, your septic tank receives all the wastewater from your laundry, kitchen and bathroom and treats the water. The water treatment neutralizes and removes pollutants and pathogens from the water and all of that is done right there on your property. Septic tank maintenance is very important to the health of your septic system.

Septic systems are commonly made of three parts, the septic tank, a drain field and the main drainage pipe. Liquid wastewater that has been treated in your tank will then be moved into the drain field where it can disperse into the soil. Any solids left in the septic tank stay there until your tank is pumped clean by a professional.

The most common maintenance required by a septic tank is simply having the system pumped when the tank reaches more than one-third of the liquid depth. If you allow the drain field to become overloaded, or you don’t stay on top of cleaning out the tank, then you will be faced with bigger septic tank problems, ones that can be very costly and deter potential buyers from purchasing your home.

The recommended time is having an inspection done on your tank every three years and pumped every three to give years.

Do you Need an Inspection to Sell a Home with a Septic Tank?

A septic tank inspection is not required by law to sell your home, but it could be required by the bank before they will approve a loan for a seller. If you have proof of recent serving to your tank, such as the pump date, then that may suffice.

If any signs of problems show up during your home inspection, then the inspector could request that the seller have a septic inspection done.

Can I Sell a House with a Failed Septic Tank?

A Failed pump septic tank in Utah

If your septic tank has failed and you cannot afford to fix it you may be wondering if you can sell your home as-is and walk away from the problem. Signs of a failed septic tank include standing water near the septic system, sewage smells on your property and slow flushing toilets.

So yes, you can sell your home with a failed septic tank but the hurdle you’ll probably face is finding a buyer who can get approved for a loan on a home with a  failed septic system. A bank will often require the seller to fix the septic system before the home can be sold. The price of a brand new system will vary greatly depending on the size of your tank and how difficult the instal will be and the cost of plumbing in your area. A low estimate would be several thousand dollars while the high end can go up to $10,000.

Can’t Sell Your Home with a Septic Tank?

If you can’t afford to do as the bank asks and fix your tank before selling your property then an easy way around that problem is to sell your home to someone who doesn’t require financing like a real estate investor.

Gary with Gary Buys Houses is a Utah real estate investor who will pay you cash for your home in its current condition, including with a failed septic system.

Gary Parker

I was a part owner in an electrical contracting firm in the late 1990’s and started to get interested in real estate around 2001. My business partner and I bought our first rental property in 2002. From there we did several real estate transactions until we decided to close the electrical business and part ways. In 2009 I started Gary Buys Houses which is owned by my wife, Eileen, and I. I felt like I could offer one on one personal service to people that wanted to sell their house quickly or not worry about repairs and such. Today, I have built a reputation of being fair and honest with people no matter their situation, so the business continues to help people and be successful. I have been married for 34 years, and have one son, two step sons and 4 grandchildren. I like to travel and spend time in Southern Utah exploring.

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