Can You Sell a House with a Failed Septic System

Selling a house can be a complicated and expensive process. You have a lot to do to ensure that your house appeals to potential buyers.

Unfortunately, during this time, when you are rushing to make sure that everything is fine, you may notice stagnant water or awful odors near your tank, which is a sign that your septic system has failed.

A failed septic system may make your house less attractive to potential buyers. However, before you give up on ever finding a buyer, remember that a failed septic system does not make it impossible to find a buyer; it only makes it tougher.

Dive in for more information and get an answer to the question: can I sell my house with a failed septic system?  

What Constitutes a Failed Septic System

What Constitutes a Failed Septic System?

Selling a house with a failed septic system can be highly inconvenient. Unfortunately, unless you have experienced this before, you may fail to know exactly what constitutes a failed septic system.

Some of the telltale signs for a home seller that all is not well with your septic system are:

1. You Have Draining Problems

One of the first signs that will give you an idea that all is not well is the inability to drain. For instance, you may flush a toilet and realize that something is clogged even when you are unsure what clogged it. 

You may need to flush several times to drain the wastewater.

It is also likely to have blackish sewage left behind after it drains. The sink and bathroom draining system will also be affected, but you will most likely notice this first in the toilet.

2. Growth of Plants Near the System

The growth of plants such as bright grass in your lawn might seem significant, especially if you did not plant the grass. However, before you get excited about the beautiful lawn, remember that the water source for the plants could be a leaking septic system.

Additionally, as the roots of such plants grow deeper in such water, they may damage the pipes of your septic system. Therefore, if you notice such plants around, especially some oddly colored, take this as a sign that your septic system is currently unreliable.

3. Bad Smell from The Septic Tank

A septic tank is designed so that you can be in its vicinity without smelling its content. For this reason, if you suddenly get a horrible smell from the septic tank, this is a sign that you have a failed septic tank.

The septic tank may either be full or leaking. Additionally, the smell from the septic shows that biological materials are not well removed before expelling wastewater.

4. Stagnant Water on the Yard

It is normal to find stagnant water in the yard during the rainy season. However, if you find stagnant water even when the skies are clear, there are high chances that the groundwater is from a failed septic system. 

The water from the septic system that ends up on the lawn could also kill plants. If you spot water with an unclear source, check your septic system, as this may be a sign of a bad septic system.

Texas Laws- Selling a House with a Failed Septic System

When selling a house with a failed septic system in Texas, the law requires you to inform the potential buyer that the system has a problem. You risk facing charges if you sell the house without informing the buyer about the failed septic tank or lying about it.

If the buyer is willing to buy the house as-is, you can go ahead and sell the home. 

However, in some cases, this can significantly reduce the amount you receive from selling the house. Thus, you may need to repair the failed septic system before signing the home selling document.

Tips for Selling a House with a Failed Septic System

As mentioned earlier, selling a house with a failed septic system is not impossible. However, you need tips and creative ways to sell your house for you to find a buyer or lenders.

Some of the tips to follow include:

1. Transparency is Key

As it is in the Texas law, selling a house with a failed septic system, one of the major mistakes you can make is dishonesty. For this reason, no matter how much it may cost you, explain to the prospective buyers how the system is.

Ensure that they understand what part of the system is failing and possible repairs. This helps the buyer weigh their options and decide whether they can manage to make the house livable.

2. Offer Options

After you update a potential buyer on the state of your septic system, do not leave them at that. To sell your house fast, do your homework and give them options of what is needed to make the place livable.

Talk to contractors, get a septic system inspection, and know the average cost of repair for the system to give the buyer such options. The buyer sees that you are not trying to take advantage of them, especially a first-time homebuyer.

3. Prepare to Drop Your Price

It is without a doubt that a failed septic system significantly lowers your home’s value. When selling the house, prepare psychologically that the house will not be of the exact cost it could have been if it had no issues.

Before you meet with the potential buyer to discuss your rates, please find out how much the major repairs of the system costs, and this is the amount you deduct from the price you originally intended to sell it. 

Nevertheless, don’t lose the money you deserve to receive from your sale because of the failed system.

4. Repair Failed Septic System

Opting to repair the failed septic system when selling the house makes it easier for you to find potential buyers. Therefore, to avoid making the already bad system worse, do not try to solve the problem on your own but instead hire a plumber. 

The plumber determines the cause of the failed system and advises on possible methods of repair.

For instance, the plumber may decide to pump and clean the system to repair it. Additionally, they may replace the baffle, a standard course of a failed septic system. Besides, the plumber will instruct you on the estimated cost of repairing such and other issues of your septic system.

5. Replace The Failed Septic System

In some cases, your septic system may be too damaged to repair. In this case, a professional plumber will advise that you replace the failed septic system with a new septic system. 

Some of the signs that your septic system is beyond repair include:

  • There is a sewage smell near the tank.
  • Slow flushing toilets and drains
  • Standing water near the drain field
  • The surrounding water sources are contaminated.
  • A flooded and soggy leach field.
  • Constant repairs

If your septic system has such issues, repairing it instead of replacing it is in vain. You may decide to fix the failed system, but it may develop another problem before you can find a buyer for the house.

Therefore, if you decide to solve the problem and later look for a buyer, get a plumber to replace the septic system. 

6. Sell Your House with The Septic System As-Is

Suppose you do not intend to repair the septic system; you can look for a buyer who buys the house as-is. This buyer allows you to sell your house with the septic system as is.

Selling the home as-is saves you the money and time that you spend on repairs and renovations.

Consider selling the house as-is to “we buy houses in Texas” companies. You will earn less money than you could have if you did renovations before selling. However, in some circumstances, this could be the best and most reasonable option. 

When selling the house as-is, remember to:

  • Work with a real estate agent.
  • Do a home inspection before listing the house.
  • Set a realistic price.
  • Get estimates for repairs or replacement.
  • Openly communicate the defects in the house.
Sell Your Home to a Texas Cash Home Buyer

7. Sell Your Home to a Texas Cash Home Buyer

Selling your home to a cash home buyer is also a solution if you are unwilling to pay for necessary renovations like repairing a failed septic system. 

A cash buyer maybe somebody who intends to move in after you move out, companies that buy houses in Fort Worth, or a real estate agent who buys the home to sell to another buyer.

These cash home buyers in Arlington also help you evade the lengthy paperwork process of selling a house and move directly to receiving cash for the house. Some of the places where you can land a legit cash home buyer willing to buy your house even with the septic system problem are:

  • Craigslist
  • Real estate auctions
  • Personal property signs
  • Bandit signs
  • Tax assessor website

After you opt to sell your home to a Texas cash home buyer, be careful not to fall prey to any scams. To help avoid scams, only transact with any person or company after you can fully trust them. 

Additionally, homeowners should remember that there are no upfront costs to pay when working with a cash home buyer.


Although a failed septic system is a significant drawback in a house on sale, it should not stop you from looking for potential buyers. You will still find many people willing to buy the house as it is and repair it on their own.

However, inform your realtor and any potential buyers about the state of the septic system. Otherwise, repair or replace the septic system and increase the value of your house, helping you sell it at the price you wish.

The information above will help you sell your house with a failed septic system. For more information, contact us, and we shall make the process easier for you.

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