Guide to Selling Your House with a Septic System in South Jersey

septic system

If you’re a property owner in Southern New Jersey with a septic system, you may have many questions that you would like answered before putting your house on the market. Here at Johnson Design Associates, Inc., we have been helping homeowners and realtors throughout South Jersey to close transactions for over 20 years. Here are some common questions that we receive from local homeowners looking to sell.

Q: What factors can impact the cost of my new septic system?

A: There are many factors that can impact the cost of your new septic system. For example, a small property size, poor soil conditions, or a high water table can all increase the costs of your project. Location can also play a role. For example, a property in Vineland will be regulated by the City of Vineland Health Department, and a property in the Millville or Bridgeton areas will be regulated by the Cumberland County Health Department. Each of these departments has different fee permit structures and different interpretations of the state code for septic systems due to differences in the geography and governance of the areas they serve.

Q: My house has a cesspool. Can I sell my property AS-IS?

A: Most likely not. In most circumstances, your local health department will require the cesspool system to be replaced to bring it into compliance with New Jersey’s septic code, N.J.A.C. 7:9A.

Q: I own a property with a (non-cesspool) septic system in South Jersey – what steps do I need to take to put my home on the market?

A: Your first step should be to hire a reputable septic inspection company to perform a hydraulic load test. This will determine whether or not your septic system is functioning properly. If the system passes inspection, then you will most likely be able to sell your home without issue. If the system fails partially or totally, you will likely need a new or repaired septic system.

Q: I had my septic system tested and it failed a hydraulic load test. What should I do now?

A: If you want to sell your property in a fast and efficient manner, the next step is for you to contact a design engineer, like Johnson Design Associates, Inc., to design a repair or replacement septic system. This design must then be approved by your local health department before you can obtain accurate quotes and more forward on a septic system install. The design process can take about 4-6 weeks on average depending on site conditions and quality of government records, so your best bet is to get your design started before you have a buyer under contract.

Q: Can my septic system be repaired instead of having a total replacement system installed?

A: There are a number of factors that must be in place in order for your project to qualify for a repair design. For example, the septic system must have been originally designed and approved after 1990, when the State of New Jersey overhauled the septic code. The existing septic system must also be up to current standards including the recent revisions to N.J.A.C. 7:9A that took place in 2012. Finally, the property owner must have an approved copy of the original septic design, OR have Johnson Design Associates, Inc. perform a successful Open Records request to obtain a government filed copy.

Q: My property is in a wetlands or Pinelands zone. Will I be able to install or repair a septic system?

A: We work with our clients to ensure that they can build in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective manner. Please contact our office to discuss your project.