Take Time to Factor Appliances into Your Buying Decision

When you find the perfect home, you want to make sure you are offering the right price. Before you begin negotiating, however, it’s a good idea to get a bit more information about the age of its major appliances, as well as other systems and amenities.

After all, if you assume the appliances and systems are relatively new, based on appearances, you could face several heartbreaking and budget-busting replacement costs after moving in.

How to Determine the Age of Appliances

Ask the Seller – Ask your buyer’s rep to request this information from the seller. Most sellers will remember when they had to replace a major appliance. They may be organized enough to provide invoices or sales receipts for these items.

The Disclosure Statement – While every state requires sellers to list any known problems with the home in a property disclosure statement, the extent of what must be revealed varies from one market to the next. Ask your buyer’s rep to secure and review this document with you.

A Home Inspection – Typically, buyers include an inspection clause in their purchase contract to protect themselves if significant problems are found. If you’re not in a competitive situation and time is on your side, you may want to request and pay for an inspection before submitting your offer. That way, everything is on the table in the first round of negotiations, instead of negotiating initially over price and a second time for repairs.

The Serial Number – If you have the time and energy—and can get the owner’s approval—either you or the owner can retrieve the serial numbers from each of the appliances. If you need help knowing where to look, enter the brand and type of appliance into this tool. Once you have the serial number, you can pinpoint the appliance’s age.

How Long Will Major Appliances Last?

Longevity depends on the quality of the appliance, how well it has been maintained, and how often it is used. For instance, a washing machine owned by a single person who does a couple of loads of laundry every week or two will last longer than the same washer used by a family of six on a daily basis.

According to Consumer Reports, this is the average life expectancy of several major appliances:

  • Washing machines – 10 years
  • Dryers – 13 years
  • Refrigerators – 13 years
  • Freezers – 11 years
  • Dishwashers – 9 years
  • Kitchen ranges (electric) – 13 years
  • Kitchen ranges (gas) – 15 years
  • Central air conditioners - 15 years
  • Furnaces (electric) – 15 years
  • Furnaces (gas) – 18 years
  • Water heaters (tank) – 10-11 years
  • Water heaters (tankless) – 20+ years

Other Considerations

You may also want to review the remaining life on other big-ticket items like wood decks (they last 10–30 years) and roofing (about 20 years for asphalt, while slate, metal, or tile will last more than 50 years).

Additional attention should be paid to the age of a pool, hot tub, sprinkler system, kitchen/bath exhaust systems, built-in security systems, garage door openers, central vacuum systems, and any outdoor cooking appliances.

Before submitting an offer on a home, be sure you have a good idea of any significant expenses you will be facing shortly. Your Accredited Buyer’s Representative can help you factor these decisions into your purchase contract and negotiating strategy.