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Those big-ticket items in your house

Should you replace them before you sell?

Created date

February 21st, 2012

Should you replace big-ticket items like your roof, heating/cooling system, or water heater before you put your house on the market? I don t like to see sellers pay for anything they won t get back. That s why every situation needs to be evaluated on an individual basis.

Think small-ticket

Replace those small-ticket items immediately visible to buyers. Replacing a broken, rusted, or ugly screen door will be worth your while. Do you have a window with a broken seal? It not only looks bad both inside and out, but buyers will spot it right away. The best rule of thumb is put some money into small, noticeable, quick fixes. As a personal moving consultant, I can advise you on what should be addressed. Don t spend money on replacing big-ticket items that will neither excite the buyer nor garnish a higher price for your house. If your furnace or roof is 20-plus years old and you think it might need to be replaced, think again. After 17 years of home inspections, I can tell you the reoccurring theme is If it isn t broken or leaking, don t fix it. Many products made years ago were typically constructed with higher-quality materials. Another reason for not replacing these things is because nine times out of ten your buyer will want to negotiate with you after the home inspection which is commonplace in this day and age of buyer brokerage.

Negotiate in dollars and cents

I have seen two home inspections on the same house by two different inspectors what was a glaring red flag for one inspector wasn t even on the radar for the other. Wait until you get the laundry list of issues your buyer wants addressed, then decide what you will or won t pay for. I recommend you pay for a repair or replacement either off of the sale price or as cash back at closing out of the proceeds. And please don t agree to do the work prior to closing. You will open a can of worms with contractors, future issues, as well as an unhappy buyer who needs to approve of the job after it s complete. Negotiating everything in dollars and cents after an inspection will be the cleanest and easiest way to get to the closing table. Also, don t get your own house inspected before you list the property. Your inspector will have a list of things that are wrong and then it will be your responsibility to fix or replace and disclose all of that information to the buyer. However, sellers can t be expected to disclose defects they are honestly unaware of.