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Is that septic tank made of gold?

Southern Litchfield County CT Real Estate question of the day.
Litchfield County Real Estate questions
But we just spent $30,000 fixing _________ (fill in the blank), we want to get our money back. Please add that to the price of the house!

I was watching a home that was listed very carefully as it had some relevance to a listing of my own. The house was changed to "under deposit" on the multiple listing service and it happened that I drove by the day inspections were being done. (You can always tell when you drive by, there are cars, trucks, people all over the place, or a group of people standing around a hole in the ground.)

  • A bit of time goes by, the house goes back on the market for about a second, and then the listing is canceled.
  • Driving by a few days later I see a backhoe in the yard digging up the septic. For the next few days the yard is a mess as they replace/repair the septic system.
  • The house sits for a while, no for sale sign, no listing on the multiple listing service, no nothing.
  • The house came back on the market, new agent, new real estate company, new price! No, not lower, but higher. Higher in the amount of what I believe was the cost of the repair or replacement of the septic system.

Here's the thing. I remember very clearly the day we went to the house on our agent caravan. It was a sweet little cape, but located on a very busy road, right at a bend. And it was set close to the road. The general consensus was that it was listed a bit too high then. After a price adjustment (lower) it went under deposit.

None of us knew at the time we saw the house that the septic system needed work. We were not considering that in the price we deemed to be acceptable for the house. And a buyer does not consider that either! Unless of course they find out the system has failed, then you can bet they either want it fixed or they will get an estimate of repair and re-negotiate a lower price they are willing to pay.

Gold septic tank?But most interesting here is that the homeowner decided that they wanted to increase the price of their home to pay for what was clearly "deferred maintenance". And it is not going to happen. The house has been languishing on the market ever since it was re-listed at the significantly higher price.

Upgrades are one thing, yes, they just might justify a higher listing price. Of course you won't recoup the entire amount that you spent, but it does make your house more attractive to a buyer and may allow us to price it higher than another without the same upgrades.

But deferred maintenance? If you don't take care of things in your home it will cost you when you sell your home, but it will not add value to your house over the indicated sales price based on recently sold homes and current homes on the market.

You cannot expect to get that money back when you consider the price of your home. Unless of course that new septic tank is made of gold....

Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County Real Estate

2017 President, Greater New Milford Board of Realtors

2017 Connecticut Magazine 5 Star Realtor


 Search homes for sale in Litchfield County, CT.


Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Litchfield County Regional Office,375 Danbury Rd, New Milford, CT 06776


© Andrea Swiedler 2009 - 2017

 Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. - Mark Twain

Comment balloon 18 commentsAndrea Swiedler • September 26 2012 05:10AM
Is that septic tank made of gold?
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