Buying or Selling a House With a Septic Tank

If you’re buying a home with a septic tank on the premises, or if you’re selling your property that contains its own septic tank, then there’s a few things you need to know as you finalise your purchase or sale. Here, the team at Cammack & Wilcox will go through the important information regarding the buying or selling a house with a septic tank.

If you’re buying a property…


If you’re buying a property with a septic tank attached, it’s important that you find out how often the tank underwent maintenance emptying. If it has been regularly serviced, then it’s likely that it’s in good condition – without regular empties, there’s a chance that underlying problems have been missed and therefore been allowed to worsen. If that’s the case, then you’ll be more likely to face the cumulative effect of that worsening problem further down the line, which can be very costly, unpleasant and inconvenient.

If the seller says it has been maintained regularly, ask for receipts or invoices for that work.

How often does it need emptying?

The frequency of the emptying of the septic tank can be indicative of a problem. If it is being emptied every few months, this is actually the sign of an issue, rather than a proactive owner; septic tanks should ideally be emptied every 12 months for a family of four. Check with the owner with regards to how often they’ve been emptying it – this will give you a clear idea on whether or not inspections or repairs may be required.

Maintenance costs

Find out how much it costs to have the septic tank serviced properly and at regular intervals. This will help you factor it into the rest of the running costs for your new home.

Plans for the drainage system

Having access to the plans of the drainage system will give you a better idea of the connections that the tank does or does not have. For example, you’ll be able to see if the tank has a soakaway or whether or not it runs onto a neighbouring property. A pre-purchase survey can provide answers to these questions, as well as a detailed overview of your drainage system.

How many properties does it serve?

This is touched on above, but it’s very important that you ascertain which properties the septic tank serves. The reason for this is because it clears up who is responsible for any maintenance/repair costs; if the tank serves more than one property, then each one is responsible for the running costs of the tanks – although the tank may not be in your potential property.

If you’re selling a property…

Of course, if you’re selling a property, doing the inverse of most of the above points will be a great help to buyers. Providing receipts for maintenance/repairs/servicing, informing them of any key points they need to know and generally just being as helpful and forthcoming as possible with information about the septic tank will be a great help. To be more specific, though, there are a couple of things you can inform the buyer of.

Presence, location, information

If you’re selling your home and there’s a septic tank on the premises, you need to inform the buyer that there is a septic tank there, where exactly it is and what, if any maintenance is required for it. This can help the buyer plan around it, whether they plan to keep it or have it removed.

As you can see, the presence of a septic tank means a host of things to consider when it comes to buying or selling a property. It needn’t be complicated, though: you simply need to plan for it – this article will hopefully have provided you with the questions you need to ask if you’re a buyer and what information you need to provide, if you’re a seller.

Cammack & Wilcox are pleased to provide septic tank emptying, sewage tank cleaning and various liquid waste management services for customers throughout Northampton and the surrounding areas. For more information, please get in touch with us today and we’ll be happy to help.