Is It Worth It to Replace HVAC Before Home Sale?

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HVAC systems often become a big point of concern while considering possible repairs before selling your house.

Going in for a new HVAC system might seem expensive, but in many cases, it might become a big factor in helping you get the desired price.

Here, we’re going to discuss which factors are crucial in helping you decide whether to lay down the cash for a new system, or take the hit in price as a sunken cost.  We’ll also be discussing whether spending on parts rather than the entire thing is sufficient.

Featured Image via Chris Dickens@chrisdickens

Is It Worth It to Replace HVAC Before Home Sale?

You’ll also learn the steps to ensure you go in for the best HVAC replacement or renovations possible.

Should I spend on a new HVAC system?

This questions forms the ethos of the entire concern. There are a number of factors to consider before making this decision. In any case, it is expected by every prospective homeowner that the HVAC system should be in working condition.

Going in for a new system just before a sale can, at maximum, help you recoup half of the cost which you put into a new system. However, if the system is over 20 years old, it becomes a valid concern, putting your sale into jeopardy. Make sure you consult your broker to know the state of air conditioning equipment in your area for similar asking prices.

Here are a few questions that will help you take the final call:

Does my area need air conditioning?

If the answer is no, your concern regarding the HVAC system should probably be directed towards other important factors which influence the price. There’s no real reason to go for a new system if the old one is sparingly used.

Image via Grace Ho@fifteenincluded

However, the opposite also holds true – in an area with significant temperature changes, the HVAC system is a crucial part of the house. As such, you need to take care of it, and go in for a new system if the system is too old or in a questionable state.

Does the duct-work need replacement?

The ductwork is another part of the HVAC system which requires attention. If the HVAC system happens to be aged (more than 15 years), the ductwork is also on its way out. Bear in mind that the costs incurred in ductwork replacement cannot be realistically recouped during the sale, so make sure you go in for this only if you absolutely need to.

This cost is heavily dependent on the HVAC services you rely on, so make sure you ask around before taking the decision.

Which price range does my house lie in?

Million dollar homes come with different expectations than fixer uppers, in every aspect and the HVAC system is no different. If you’re considering the upper half of the market selling price in your area, you’ve got to put in the effort and get the repairs done thoroughly.

However, if that isn’t your intended demographic, and your house requires many such repairs, going in for an HVAC system isn’t significantly going to alter your chances of selling. It may bump your chances of getting a higher sales price.

Image via Alex Perz@alex19perz

How old is my system?

This is a more obvious question – one which is equally important. A system which should’ve been replaced half a decade ago is very different from a system which can still weather (pun unintended) a few seasons hence. The state of the system is the most important factor in deciding whether to go in for a new system.  

Will replacement HVAC parts be enough?

This is related to making the decision on going in for an HVAC replacement in the first place.

If you’re targeting a higher price point, or the extent of the damage is large, then you’ll have to go in for a newer system. However, you can get away with replacing just a few parts of the HVAC system if it is used maybe a few times in a year, or your asking price doesn’t warrant a new fitment.

The final call should be taken on the basis of the $5000 dollar rule – take the unit’s age, and multiply it with the prospective cost of repairs. If the product comes out to be more than $5000, your system is definitely on its way out.

What should I look for in a new HVAC system?

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re likely going in for a new system. The best part of a newer system is, it radically improves the feel of the house, since the effect of an HVAC system is evident wherever you are in the house.

  • Smarter, Internet-of-Things enabled HVAC systems are likely to make your house fetch better values, since they can be directly controlled using your mobile phones, tablets and laptops – this convenience can become a price point booster.
  • Choosing the right size HVAC installation is crucial to making the home a comfortable place to be in.

A larger-than-necessary installation will encroach on space and drive up the electricity bill while delivering no tangible gains in performance. Meanwhile, a smaller unit won’t suffice for cooling the entire place, thereby reducing the value of the system as a whole.

  • Heat pumps are a helpful tool in making sure your HVAC unit runs efficiently, and can add some value to your house for not much upfront cost.
  • Space saving HVAC fixtures are available, and these can clear up large chunks of space in the basement or wherever the unit happens to be. This can help you increase the asking price if space is a major selling point!
  • Energy efficiency is all the rage in consumer electricals, and for a valid reason. Energy-efficient HVAC units put less pressure on the environment, and end up costing much lesser in the long run. Your buyer is likely to appreciate the long-term cost advantage.

Image via wang ward@banli4929

Steps to take care of your HVAC unit

Your HVAC unit is definitely a major factor in influencing the price of your house. Here, we tell you the basic tenets of HVAC maintenance to make sure your unit lasts long and works well, regardless of its age.

  • Whenever going in for an HVAC maintenance, repair or replacement, make sure to go in for a qualified HVAC team. These indirectly affect your price by giving the buyer a sense of reliability and belief in the HVAC system’s state.
  • Going in for regular maintenance checks and surprise inspections will help you mitigate the damage much quicker, if there is any. Your system should be cleaned every five to six months thoroughly.
  • Making sure your ductwork holds and isn’t infested with spiders, rodents and insects will help you ensure its longevity. The same goes for the vents.

Conclusion

HVAC systems can be tricky to navigate for home sellers, and are a two-edged sword to deal with. Newer systems break the bank and their returns keep on fluctuating; however, they may become a major reason for the sale. Old systems may become potential deal breakers, but some buyers take the initiative of dealing with it themselves.

If your system works properly, your best bet is to consider your price point, your ability to decide the extent of your investment in the HVAC system and your replacement costs, along with the climate in your area.  These will help you make a rational, informed decision on replacing your HVAC system.

 

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