How much do septic tanks cost? Septic tank installation costs can head up into the tens of thousands of dollars, but if you’re thinking of buying or building a home in a rural area or some other place that’s not connected to a public sewer system, you may just have to spend the cash. Installing your own septic tank means the water going down the drain of your bathtub, toilet, and sinks has someplace to go!
In fact, about one-third of Americans have their own septic system, according to the American Ground Water Trust. If you’re breaking ground on a new home or, say, converting a cabin with no running water, you will have to install one. But how much does a septic tank installation cost? Answers ahead to keep you from flushing good money down the drain.
For a three-bedroom home, you can expect to need a 1,000-gallon tank, which will range in price from $8,000 to $15,000, according to AngiesList.com. For a five-bedroom home, you’ll probably need a 1,500-gallon tank, which will cost between $15,000 and $25,000.
The cost of a septic system depends on its size, and its size will hinge on how much water you use. You can estimate both of these by using the number of bedrooms in your house as a rule of thumb.
In addition to the septic tank installation cost, you will also be on the hook for a few other expenses—namely permits, soil tests, and the excavation equipment needed to dig the hole in your yard where the tank will be placed.
A local septic installation expert will have an estimate of those costs, which vary widely by area. As part of that cost, “An engineer will come out and perform all the necessary tests and design a system that will work for the home,” says J. Cook at Cortlandt Septic Tank in Montrose, NY.
Installing a septic system typically takes about three to five days—and ideally should be done after your home has been built but before you’ve installed a driveway or other landscaping features. Note: A septic tank will displace a decent amount of dirt onto your lawn, which you can use elsewhere (hello, landscaping!).
Even when your septic system is safely in the ground, your days of dealing with it (and the costs) are not done. For one, a septic tank will need to be maintained—which mainly boils down to having it pumped every few years. This keeps the sludge at the bottom from rising so high that it spills into your yard (yuck).
This is why the Environmental Protection Agency recommends having your septic system pumped once every one to three years.
“The price range for pumping the tank is $300 to $400,” says Cook. At the very least, have your tank checked to see if it needs to be pumped. Trust us, this is not the kind of thing you want to let slide, unless you want a sewage plant in your backyard.
And there are ways to save on maintenance: Just use less water by installing low-flow toilets and not running the water more than necessary. And in addition to researching the costs of installing and maintaining a home septic system, be sure to review and understand all your local laws and regulations involving wastewater treatment and related issues.
For more information, visit EPA.gov.septic.
U.S. Existing-Home Sales Rose in May
By Laura Kusisto | Jun 21, 2019
WASHINGTON—Sales of previously owned homes rose in May, a sign that falling mortgage rates could be nudging the housing market toward a modest spring performance after a sluggish start to this prime selling season.
Sales rose 2.5% in May from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.34 million, the National Association of Realtors said Friday.
The spring is crucial to the housing market because roughly 40% of the year’s sales take place in March through June. May was the first month this spring when sales rose from the prior month, but compared with a year earlier sales in May still declined 1.1% The housing market struggled late last year even as the rest of the economy boomed, in part because higher mortgage rates priced some buyers out of the market.
Now, analysts said the housing market may be benefiting from growing economic uncertainty.
“We are really seeing some headwinds in the broader economy right now, with the trade war and in the technology sector and also in manufacturing and agriculture,” said Tian Liu, chief economist at Genworth Mortgage Insurance. “The housing market is actually less exposed to those headwinds right now.”
Mortgage rates are now below 4% for the first time since January of last year, according to Freddie Mac. That is down from nearly 5% in the fall, a saving of roughly $200 a month for the typical home buyer.
The Federal Reserve indicated Wednesday that it could cut interest rates in the months ahead if an economic outlook clouded by uncertainty over trade policy doesn’t improve, raising the prospect that mortgage rates may drift even lower.
Ashley Lauren Farnschlader, a Realtor in Philadelphia, said she had one client reach out to her because she had read that mortgage rates were low and had decided to start looking for a home again. Still, Ms. Farnschlader added, “I don’t think it’s been the big push that everybody wants it to be.”
Indeed, economists say the housing market’s performance is surprisingly tepid given the sharp fall in mortgage rates. Some analysts said that suggests the market is moderating after years of rapid price growth and sales will struggle to reach previous highs of the current housing cycle in 2017.
“Certainly with existing sales, I think we’ve seen the peak,” said David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide Insurance.
He added he expects most metropolitan areas to continue to see modest price and sales growth but that some, such as San Jose, Calif., are more vulnerable to a downturn because prices have risen so steeply.
Existing home sales have now fallen on an annual basis for 15 straight months. New home sales have grown strongly in recent months, but the construction sector has struggled. Housing starts fell 0.9% in May from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.269 million, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. U.S. home-builder confidence also dropped in June, as builders reported concerns over rising construction costs and trade issues.
Prices are continuing to rise faster than incomes, which may be offsetting some of the additional buying power that consumers are getting from lower rates. The national median sale price for a previously owned home last month was $277,700, up 4.8% from a year earlier and the strongest monthly pace of growth since August 2018, the National Association of Realtors said Friday. It marked the 87th straight month of year-over-year gains.
News Corp., owner of The Wall Street Journal, also operates Realtor.com under license from the National Association of Realtors.
Inventory of homes for sale is continuing to increase. The NAR said there were 1.92 million existing homes available for sale at the end of May, up 2.7% from a year earlier and a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace.
The market has been starved for inventory for years, but in this case economists said inventory levels are increasing primarily because homes are taking longer to sell so the growing choices aren’t necessarily appealing ones.
The city of Boston has seen roughly a 30% increase in inventory compared with the same time last year, according to Larry Rideout, chairman of Boston-based Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty.
“Everything is always behind the curve,” he said. “Everyone has decided it’s the chance to [put their home on the market] and unfortunately they’ve missed that window.”
—Harriet Torry contributed to this article.
Home Buyer Statistics
First-Time vs. Repeat Buyers:
First-time buyers: 33%
Median age of first-time buyers: 32
Median age of repeat buyers: 55
Median household income of first-time buyers: $75,000
Median household income of repeat buyers: $100,000
The typical home purchased was 1,900 square feet in size, was built in 1991, and had three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Among those who financed their home purchase, buyers typically financed 90% of the home price.
87% of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker—a share that has steadily increased from 69 percent in 2001.
Buyers who would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others: 74%
Home Seller Statistics
The typical home seller in 2017 was 55 years of age, had a median household income of $98,800, and lived in their home for 9 years.
91% of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent when selling their home.
Recent sellers typically sold their homes for 99% of the listing price, and 23% reported reducing the asking price at least once.
The typical home sold was on the market for 3 weeks.
39% of sellers who used a real estate agent found their agents through a referral by friends or family, and 24% used the agent they previously worked with to buy or sell a home.
Sellers who definitely would use same agent again: 69%
Source: 2018 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers
For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Statistics
FSBOs accounted for 7% of home sales in 2017. The typical FSBO home sold for $200,000 compared to $265,500 for agent-assisted home sales.
FSBO methods used to market home:
Yard sign: 22%
Friends, relatives, or neighbors: 18%
Online classified advertisements: 6%
Open house: 10%
For-sale-by-owner websites: 5%
Social networking websites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.): 12%
Multiple Listing Service (MLS) website: 4%
Print newspaper advertisement: 2%
Direct mail (flyers, postcards, etc.): 2%
None: Did not actively market home: 49%
Most difficult tasks for FSBO sellers:
Getting the right price: 17%
Understanding and performing paperwork: 12%
Selling within the planned length of time: 5%
Preparing/fixing up home for sale: 8%
Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale: 3%
You’ve narrowed down the search to find your dream home, and now you’re on the hunt for the best mortgage to put those keys in your hand. One way to do it: Work with a mortgage broker who can shepherd you through the lending process from start to finish.
You’ve probably heard the term “mortgage broker” from your real estate agent or friends who’ve bought a home. But what exactly is a mortgage broker and what does one do that’s different from, say, a loan officer at a bank?
Here are five of the most common questions — and answers — about mortgage brokers.
A mortgage broker acts as a middleman between you and potential lenders. The broker’s job is to work on your behalf with several banks to find mortgage lenders with competitive interest rates that best fit your needs. Mortgage brokers have a well-developed stable of lenders they work with, which can make your life easier.
Mortgage brokers are licensed and regulated financial professionals. They do a lot of the legwork — from gathering documents from you to pulling your credit history and verifying your income and employment — and use the information to apply for loans for you with several lenders in a short time frame.
Mortgage brokers are licensed financial professionals. They gather documents, pull your credit history, verify income and apply for loans on your behalf.
Once you settle on a loan and a lender that works best for you, your mortgage broker will collaborate with the bank’s underwriting department, the closing agent (usually the title company) and your real estate agent to keep the transaction running smoothly through closing day.
The best way is to ask friends and relatives for referrals, but make sure they have actually used the broker and aren’t just dropping the name of a former college roommate or a distant acquaintance. Learn all you can about the broker’s services, communication style, level of knowledge and approach to clients.
Another referral source: your real estate agent. Ask your agent for the names of a few brokers that he or she has worked with and trusts. Some real estate companies offer an in-house mortgage broker as part of their suite of services, but you’re not obligated to go with that company or individual.
Finding the right mortgage broker is just like choosing the best mortgage lender: It’s wise to interview at least three people to find out what services they offer, how much experience they have and how they can help simplify the process.
Check your state’s professional licensing authority to ensure they have current mortgage broker’s licenses in good standing. Also, read online reviews and check with the Better Business Bureau to assess whether the broker you’re considering has a sound reputation.
NerdWallet writer Hal M. Bundrick contributed to this article.