You are here:

Real Property Appraisals/Public vs Private Sewage Appraisal


I closed on a home in a PUD four weeks ago and sales contract said public water and sewer.  Home inspector and appraiser marked their reports same.  Just found out the entire development is on public water but only part has public sewer and I have a septic tank and drain field.

My question is with all other things being equal would a private sewage system appraise any different than public sewage?  Same, more, less??

Thank you


The quickest way to answer your question is to contact several agents who have listed units in your project and ask them this question. Hopefully, they have already analyzed this issue. If you were represented by an agent, the agent should have told you about this.

Real estate is location specific, so to specifically answer your question, you would need to have either the real estate Agents or an appraiser analyze your project.

What they would look for are sales in the public sewage section of the project and compare them to sales in the septic system part of the project and then determine if there is a value difference.

Case in Point: Let's say your unit is 1500 SF and, with the septic system, sold for $200,000. Now, from research, you find that a sale of a 1500 SF unit in the Public Sewer area of your project took place at the same time for $215,000. You or the appraiser call the agent who sold the 1500 SF unit in the Public Sewer part of the project and the agent tells you that the only reason this unit sold for $215,000 is that it was on Public Sewer.

You find several other sales in the septic and Public Sewer areas and find that in all cases, units in the Public sewer section sell for more.

Understand that you may find that there isn't any difference, you won't know until you, the agents in the area, or the appraiser do the research.

What is of more importance to me, is the following: (1) who "owns" the septic system, you or the association in which you live? (2) Who has to pay for repairs when the system fails? (3) How often do you have to get the system pumped out?

Again, If you were represented by a real estate agent, the agent should have told you about the septic system. In my state, the seller has to disclose information such as this. Did the seller tell you about the septic system? The Association also has to disclose information like this. When you received information from the Association, was this disclosed?

You need to immediately have the system inspected, assuming that it is your responsibility to maintain the system. If it is the Associations responsibility to maintain the system, they need to tell you about the system. Do you have to share in the cost to maintain the system? If there are multiple units on the same system, how are the costs divided up when the system fails or has to be pumped?

If you find that you will now have to maintain a septic system and neither your agent, the appraiser or the home inspector told you about the septic system, you may have legal recourse against them for not disclosing this.

You will need to contact an attorney to protect your property rights.

John C. Carlson
CA Certified General Real Estate Appraiser
Victorville and Diamond Bar, CA  

Real Property Appraisals

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


John C. Carlson


Any questions regarding commercial and/or residential appraising, appraisals or real estate valuation such as: appraising as a profession, valuation techniques, comparable sales selection & analysis, the new HVCC and how it affects appraisers & Borrowers. Also, questions like: "Why did my appraisal come in low & what can I do about it?" I cannot answer questions about comparable data in areas in which I do not practice. I have expertise in most areas of So. California.


31-years both commercial and residential valuation experience. State of CA Certified General Real Estate Appraiser, licensed to appraise all property types. FHA Approved. Specialized expertise with historic, architectural & luxury residential property valuation. Experienced in industrial building and small commercial property valuation. Experienced Reviewer of appraisal reports and expertise with intensive forensic reviews to uncover fraudulent appraisal reports. Expert Litigation and Expert Witness experience.

Associate Member of the Appraisal Institute. Associate Member of the Certified Fraud Examiners.

Numerous posts to Blogs. Please "Google" "John C. Carlson Real Estate Appraisals" where a list of responses I have made will show up.

Numerous classes by the Appraisal Institute since 1978 in the practice areas in which I specialize

Past/Present Clients
First Republic Bank Wells Fargo Bank California Bank & Trust Preferred Bank Numerous Attorneys.

©2016 All rights reserved.