If you’re looking to sell your house and move into a new one, you must leave behind an HVAC system that’s well looked after. If an issue with your HVAC appears during a pre-closing inspection, you can forget about closing as planned. Unreliable air conditioning or old furnaces can completely derail your sale, but they don’t have to if you’re willing to take the necessary steps to amend common problems before they appear in a home inspection.
Most furnaces have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years – while some can last longer with great maintenance, you generally run into problems once you push past this time frame. The age of a furnace is quickly detectable in a home inspection, and this type of deception can force a buyer to walk and sink a seller the cost of a furnace installation as well as a lost sale. If your furnace is past its prime, we recommend remedying it in one of two ways. One option is to ask potential buyers to share the cost of installing a new furnace. They, after all, will be the ones using it. Option two is to invest the money in replacing your outdated furnace with a new one. While costly initially, this can make your home more valuable and allow you to ask a higher price than you would have been able to with the old furnace, making back the money spent as well as a potential profit.
Heat exchangers are an essential component of the furnace that converts fuel into heat. While standard home inspections will not catch this issue, a broken heat exchanger can release harmful gases into the air if left unattended. If you have an older HVAC system, it is beneficial for you to go above and beyond by having a licensed professional give your home a clean bill of health in writing. Should you not, potential buyers may find the risk of issues down the line too high to go through with buying your home. It will also save you the headache of negotiating to pay for a defective part, should your buyer elect to do a more thorough inspection themselves.
Empty homes are easy targets for theft. The components of HVAC equipment are especially enticing for those who sell scrap materials for fast cash. Before the inspectors arrive, it is important to check that the internal components of your air conditioning or furnace haven’t been picked up by unwanted visitors – if you find out they have too late, you’ll be paying the price to replace the parts as well as potentially losing the sale.
Poor Installation or Maintenance
It is essential to conduct regular maintenance on your HVAC system to keep it running for longer. Even the slightest maintenance shortcoming could turn off a potential buyer from closing on your home. For this reason, we recommend changing the air filters and having your HVAC serviced within a week of the final inspections. Another way to navigate installation and maintenance shortcomings is to encourage potential buyers to invest in a home warranty. Home warranties cover HVAC repairs that may appear down the line, and tend to ease any existing concerns the buyer may have with the state of your HVAC system. No one wants the unwanted surprise of a hefty repair bill down the line, and home warranties keep these fears from becoming a reality.
Emissions and Leaks
The most persistent and most dangerous issue presented by HVAC systems is leaking, be it gas or liquid refrigerant. While home inspection policies can miss leaks related to defective parts, leaks created by poor maintenance or wear and tear can emit deadly toxins that will send buyers running from closing on your home. To remedy this, as expressed with the other common HVAC issues, we recommend having an HVAC professional service your system before the final inspection to avoid any surprises.
Meeting Realistic Buyer Expectations
Most buyers will not run away from their dream home based on a minor HVAC issue. While taking a full inventory of your HVAC will help you put your best foot forward and avoid any surprises during final home inspections, there is no need for panic should an issue arise. Your buyer’s agent wants to close just as much as you and your agent would like to and is likely providing your buyer with generous and realistic expectations for HVAC standards. By bringing your system up to reasonable standards, you show a level of courtesy and sincerity that is appreciated by this current market’s well-informed buyers.