Many new home buyers like to know how many years of use their furnace, air conditioner, roof, refrigerator, etc. have until it will need to be replaced. I wish I could know the correct answer but anything that I tell them would be nothing more than and educated guess.
But, four things that I can tell my clients are 1.) whether the item works or not and the condition of the item at the time of the inspection; 2.) whether the item was installed properly; 3.) when the item was manufactured or installed; and 4.) the typical life expectancy of that item. The actual lifespan is going to depend on many factors, including how much use (and abuse) it gets, maintenance and updates performed, the environment in the location where it is situated, and the quality of both the product and the installation.
How Can I make _____ Last Longer?
You can extend the life of your appliances and mechanical systems by having regular maintenance and cleaning performed by a qualified technician. A regular maintenance schedule will not only increase the likelihood of your equipment lasting for more years but will also have it working more efficiently and save on operating costs. Simply vacuuming all of the dust bunnies from under the refrigerator can add to the life of your appliance.
Product user manuals will usually include recommended maintenance and schedules. If you don’t have a manual, or your manual doesn’t have a maintenance schedule, either can often be found with a simple web search.
Knowing the expected life left for an appliance or item in your home can help in making decisions on whether to repair or replace when it quits working. You can also use the life expectancy to plan and budget for future expenses. It can be extremely helpful to be able to anticipate and save for larger expenses that come up as a part of home ownership.
Is it time sell your current home and move on? If you are planning to list your home for sale soon, you will have several considerations to make. Do you need to complete any repairs, maintenance or updates? Does a quick sale for top dollar sound more appealing than prolonging the sale and selling the house as is and possibly leaving money on the table? Can a minor improvement or even a fresh coat of paint make your house jump out to prospective buyers? These are a few questions that will cross your mind if you want to impress our buyers and get a good sale for our houses.
However, before you start worrying about renovations it can be helpful to understand how your home has stood the test of time. Let's have a quick look at a few reasons why you may want to consider investing in a professional home inspection before selling your home.
Know Your Home's Current Condition
Give some thought to your home's current condition. How old is it? When was its last professional inspection? Has your home suffered any significant weather or other kinds of damage? Have you put off any repairs or maintenance? Take a walk around and look at the key structural areas. Do you see any issues with the roof? How do the walls or siding look? Are there visible cracks in the home's foundation? If there are obvious issues, it is time for an inspection.
Are you Hoping for a Quick, Hassle-Free Sale?
Another excellent reason to get your home inspected early in the selling process is that it's likely help you to have a quick sale and closing. If there are any repairs required, you can have them taken care of before you start staging your home, having professional photos taken and hosting open houses. Those minor fixes might help a potential sale go through more quickly and for a higher price.
A recent inspection can also give you a competitive edge over nearby or similar homes that are for sale. It signals to potential buyers that you have done some of the heavy lifting in the process and that they are unlikely to uncover any major issues when they have their own inspections done.
Fix the Big Problems
Finally, a home inspection can identify major issues that could stop a sale from going through. Having your home inspected before you list it ensures that you will be have time to take care of any of those potential big issues that could ruin a sale. Even if you decide to skip repairing some of the minor problems, taking care of things like a leaking roof, cracks in your foundation, mold problems or old electrical wiring will all help with keeping your sale on track.
These are just a few of the great reasons to invest in a professional home inspection before listing your home for sale.
Homes are a lot like a gemstone, which is part of how I came to choose the name Agate Inspections. You can find flaws in even the finest diamond if you put it under a microscope. Just like a house – you are going to find a flaw or two - even in a brand-new house - if you look closely enough. Even those flawed gemstones are beautiful and functional, just like a house.
A thorough home inspection is going to find many of those defects. We are not doing very well at our job if we don’t find anything wrong. Even new construction is going to have some defects. You as a homeowner or potential homeowner need to decide if this is something that you can live with, or are willing and able to repair or replace, or if you simply want to move on to the next listing.
Almost everything can be fixed – but some things won’t
There are a few things that can terrify a client when they hear them, and may even scare them away from buying a particular home. Yes, there are buzzwords that can scare a client away from a home, but often those fears are misplaced and even a bit overblown. Almost any problem in a home can be repaired. Sometimes they don’t even need repair. Sometimes the fix is quick, simple and inexpensive. You should know all of the information before jumping to any conclusions. We can help you to understand what the big problems are in terms of effect or cost, what can be repaired inexpensively and easily, and what can be deferred to a long-term maintenance list.
No home is perfect and not everything will be fixed. My own home has repairs that need to be done and systems that are ready to be updated. It is an expected part of owning a home. Relax! Keep a home repair list and tackle the repairs at your own pace or as your time and finances allow it. Prioritize those fixes that may cause a hazard in the home or can get worse and costlier to repair with time. There will be new issues and problems that arise well after you have moved in – add them to the list and keep plugging away.
We can’t predict the future
I really wish we could tell you how long the roof will last or when the furnace or hot water heater will need to be replaced. It’s just not possible. We can give you an idea how old they are, how long they normally last and what kind of condition they are in now. But we can’t predict the future.
A 30-year asphalt roof in good condition that is 10 years old and appears to be installed properly with no unusual wear is expected to provide at least 20 more years of service. You can help to ensure or extend that life by keeping branches near the house trimmed, keep the gutters clear and remove the branches and leaves that build up on the shingles, especially in the valleys. That’s about as good as we can tell you if you ask how long the roof will last. We can’t tell you that there will be a hailstorm next week that damages a 2-year old roof to the point that it needs to be replaced, but it might happen.
We might miss a few things…
Although we strive to find ALL of the defects with a home, sometimes things are not found during a basic home inspection. Some problems appear seasonally, some were not there during the inspection, some are in a place that we cannot see them without taking something apart, and some we just plain miss. If somebody inspects a 40-year old house and only identifies one or two items on the report, the inspector didn’t look very hard or you have found a house that has been very well maintained by qualified professionals.
Owning and maintaining a home is a continuous process. Every year I find, and sometimes fix, things in my home that have been there and were never noticed or have just popped up. It’s a part of home ownership and homeowners need to be prepared to make these repairs or to have a resource to keep your home regularly maintained.
Leave emotions out of the final decision
It can be incredibly difficult to step back from your love of a home to see it as “just a house.” If your inspector’s list of defects and other observations seems to be long, it can be a bit overwhelming and feel like a punch in the gut. Take a deep breath and ask questions of your inspector. It’s usually not something that will put your purchase at risk.
Our report may include some things that should be done right away because they are dangerous or may lead to bigger (AKA more expensive) problems. Most of the items that we point out can be deferred and still others that don’t really require any action. It will mostly be a to do list while you own the home. Not everything needs to be done right away and a good inspector will help you understand that. Many of the recommended repairs can even be negotiated into your purchase agreement in your favor.