Buying a House with a Septic Tank

We often have a lot of concerned buyers from other areas that maybe have never had or even heard of a septic tank and although they know nothing about them they definitely know they DON’T WANT ONE. I used to be one of these people!  This final decision can be a deal breaker for a house, maybe even your dream house. I had to choose to accept the septic or walk away from my forever home. I took the plunge and went all in with the septic and I wouldn’t change my decision at all –  so lets talk septic – whats good and whats not.


A septic tank is a tank, typically underground, where the sewage is collected and decomposes through bacterial activity before draining into an also underground drain field. In lower lying yards, your drain field may look like a big hump on the ground. This hump method protects the integrity of the drain field from heavy rainfall.

When people think of septic you probably think of flooded yards filled with sewage. Like the scene in Meet The Parents on the morning of the wedding day. This is not as common as you may think! Unless there is an underlying issue with the septic, running your water for extreme amounts of time, or simply a blockage because something was flushed when you shouldn’t have been. The yard-filled-with-poop-sludge-nightmare, almost never happens. You will never smell your septic and your yard will never smell, Well…except for that dreaded day your tank needs pumping but once that truck leaves the smell is gone.

So what is great about septic…

Don’t get me wrong, being on public sewer is great, you never have to worry about your household waste or where it really goes. Maybe you can flush whatever you want down the toilet, but with this luxury comes a price tag. Your water bill! An average house in Saint Augustine on public sewer can run anywhere from 100 – 200 dollars a month or more! Where I live, in a neighborhood that is all septic, I pay 35 dollars a month for my water. for me this is a big plus.
Cons of a septic tank:
The con is that you have to have your septic pumped and its not so bad – but I can’t lie, it does smell really bad in the moment!
A septic system needs to be pumped about every 3 years or more depending on the number of people in your household.

Living in St Augustine

This cost may vary from company to company but here in Saint Augustine its about 450 dollars. not terrible if you ask me, as long as you are mindful of what you are flushing, maintain it by pumping on a schedule, and be sure not to dump too many harsh chemicals down your drain.

What to Know About a Septic System Inspection?

Of course septic is not for everyone but don’t lose out on a property because of a fear of the unknown. If you do decide to purchase a house with a septic, make sure you always have it inspected by a licensed septic company during your inspection period, to be sure it isn’t damaged and is in good working order.
Do keep in mind that an inspection is about $750 to $800 because the tank needs to be pumped first and guess who is paying for that. Yep you the buyer.
Either way, there are some wonderful neighborhoods with beautiful homes worth considering in spite of being on septic. If you still find septics to be daunting then give me a call so I can ease your mind.
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About the Author
Kim Devlin
Kim Devlin is Your St Augustine Realtor. A Relocation Specialist serving Northeast Florida, St Johns County and Flagler County. She enjoys sharing real estate tips and local insight on communities and living in St Augustine Florida. Tune in weekly and be sure to subscribe to her monthly newsletter.