Appliance lifespans can be a key factor in helping you budget for the house you’ve got your eye on — or the one you already have.
Here’s a question that’s easy to dismiss when you’re in love with a house and eager to make an offer: How long are its appliances and systems going to last?
Skip that question, and you might regret it.
Because if you end up spending three grand in the first year to replace broken-down appliances, you’re probably going to wish you’d offered $3,000 less.
Make a copy of this easy worksheet to avoid regrets like that.
Simply add the year when an appliance was installed (scroll down for more on this), and the worksheet will tell you how much that house could cost you over the next 10 years — the typical time people stay in a home.
Then, with the help of an agent who knows the market, you decide if elderly appliances ought to be a negotiating item with the seller.
Check out this video for a quick tutorial on using the worksheet:
How to Find Out the Age of Appliances
Ask your agent to ask the seller. This is the most straightforward approach because homeowners usually remember major expenses like replacing a fridge.
Consider the home’s age. A house less than 12 years old may still have all original appliances.
Ask your inspector. If you’ve already made an offer, they’ll often have this information for you.
Ask to see the Realtor TipTypically, sellers hand over the disclosure statement after an offer is made, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask to see it beforehand. Many will comply if you’re a serious and qualified buyer.property disclosure statement. The property dosclosure statement could have the answers you need. Sellers are legally required to fess up about problems with the home or anything that comes with it.
Scope it out. If a range is missing knobs or the oven bears years of burnt-on grease, chances are it’s in its twilight years, and you should probably plan to replace within the year.
Find the serial number. Then visit building-center.org for HVAC equipment and water heaters and appliance411.com for the rest to find the manufacture date. This is the most difficult but most accurate method if you want to be precise. But it’s up to the seller if they want to let you snoop around to find the serial numbers or to provide those numbers to you.
How Long Do Appliances Last & What Are the Costs to Replace Them?
Below are the typical lifespans and costs of appliances and other key home components. (We’ve listed our sources at the end, if you’re interested.)
Costs include professional installation, FYI. And your cost could vary depending on whether you buy top-of-the-line, find a bargain, or DIY the installation.
Consider these numbers a general guide:
Central A/C unit
Furnace - electric
Furnace - gas
14 - 16 years
Water heater - tank
Water heater - tankless
Roof - asphalt (1,500 sq. ft)
Roof - tile, slate, metal (1,500 sq. ft)
Note: For the worksheet, we used the median number for the lifespan and cost ranges and broke down some appliances in more detail to create the calculations.
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