Buying a home can be a stressful thing. It’s a major financial commitment but beyond that you are investing in something that could have significant repair issues down the road. Always take time to investigate the major components of a house and plan for possible repairs or replacements down the road. Here are a few “age old” questions to ask when buying a home.
How Old is the Roof?
The roof is one of the most expensive parts of a house to replace. A younger roof with a transferable warranty is ideally what you are looking for but that isn’t always what you will find. If the roof is a concern and it is your dream home call in an experienced roofing contractor to give you an estimate and you can plan on that cost before you make an offer on the home.
How old is the heating and air unit?
The heating and air conditioning unit is another big ticket item with the potential to need replaced. You should expect a new unit to last about 10 years depending on its use and maintenance. They can last longer than that but its a good rule of thumb to plan for its replacement during that period so you won’t be caught off guard when it does go out.
How old are the appliances?
Typically the dishwasher, stove/range, and built in microwave stay with the house. Sometimes the refrigerator or washer and dryer stay at the request of the buyer or if the seller does not want to move them. Their replacement time can vary quite a bit depending on the quality of the appliances and amount of use but expect most appliances to last around 5 years.
How old is the hot water heater?
Hot water heaters can last about 6-10 years. They can suffer from a number of issues but leaks can be very common. Depending on the type of hot water heater can be expensive to replace. Tankless hot water heaters can be very expensive but are very energy efficient whereas tank hot water heaters are cheaper but cost more on the utility bill.
How old is the garage door opener?
Garage door openers are a much cheaper thing to replace than many of the others on this list. As they are used frequently the parts wear out and their replacement is eventually inevitable! Garages are often the most used entrances into a home and those openers get a workout.
You should get a home inspection to find other potential issues but before that you should look at the property condition disclosure form completed by the sellers. The property condition disclosure form should have the age of all the items listed above and more. If the property was not lived in by the owners (as in the case of a rental) or is being sold “as-is” there may not be a disclosure available so it is important to do your due diligence with these types of properties. Don’t let these items scare you away from a great home as they are all replaceable but do consider them when trying to determine your ultimate financial investment into your dream home!