When purchasing a home, the inspection process can sometimes be a nail biter. When selling a home, you may envision a lengthy laundry list of items for you to fix or pay for from the buyer . Of course, inspection items are negotiable, but there are certain faults of the home that you should take seriously. If you are a seller, you will want to consider taking care of these top 15 things before putting your home on the market (aside from the aesthetic tips that your realtor will give you). If you are a buyer, you will want to make sure these items are discussed with your realtor when putting together the Inspection Objection, as they could cause stress and financial woes down the line. It’s a wise idea to at least get bids from service technicians and professionals during the purchase process to see what you might be up against as far as cost and wait time to repair/replace the item or issue.
Here are the top 15 most expensive house defects, in approximate order of highest to lowest cost:
- Structural/Foundation repair: if this is significant enough, many buyers will walk away from the purchase. Your inspector will likely suggest that a structural engineer or contractor be consulted.
- Wet basement or crawlspace: this can include surface grading, installation of French drains, sump pump, replacement or installation of vapor retarder and/or general clean up
- Roof replacement
- Sewer line repair/replacement: if the street must be torn up to replace or repair, keep in mind that the city will need to be contacted and a permit is often required, since the street will need to be closed. This takes time! Also, see if there is a warranty that comes with the work.
- Exterior Siding
- Heating- boiler replacement
- Central cooling/Air Conditioning: if you are thinking about installing air conditioning, you should consult with an HVAC specialist who may be able to give you options, depending on current duct work, etc.
- Heating- furnace replacement
- Decking/balcony replacement
- Aluminum wiring remediation: this can be found in homes from 1965-1973
- Plumbing supply pipes replacement
- New kitchen/laundry appliances
- Electrical breaker panel replacement
- Water heater
It is also helpful to know the general life expectancy of home items- for budgeting purposes down the line. Don’t get me wrong, in many cases I feel like they don’t make ‘em like they used to (see my blog, I Adore my 1963 Thermador: https://lindseyfriedmanhomes.com/2016/02/16/i-adore-my-1963-thermador/). However, your realtor can certainly ask a seller how old these items are when under contract for a home. It’s just more challenging to ask them to replace the items if they are in working order and only “nearing” their life expectancy. Plus, it’s possible the seller doesn’t even know the age. You may want to ask for warranty paperwork as well as operational instructions to be passed on to you, if you are buying the home. Life expectancies for certain items include:
- Heating- furnace: 20 years
- Heating- boiler (cast iron) 30-40 years
- Heating- boiler (stainless steel) 20 years
- Cooling/air conditioning- 15 years
- Water heater- 15 years
- Asphalt shingle roof (regular) 20 years
- Asphalt shingle roof (premium) 30 years
- Wood shake roof: 25 years
- Tile roof: 40 years
- Windows: 15-25 years
- Electric breaker panel: 40 years
- Kitchen appliances: 10-15 years
- Deck/balcony: 20-25 years
- Exterior lap siding: 40 years
It’s always most helpful to hear from the experts- roofers, HVAC technicians, and other home item specialists to understand the condition of these items and if there are any signs that might predict upcoming failure. Realtors can be great resources for providing referrals in these areas.