Do you take age of windows/roof/etc. into consideration

dreambuilderFebruary 1, 2014

We are interested in a home that is 27 years old. Original windows (all huge and custom sizes), wood shake roof, gutters, furnace/ac, etc. The real estate agent assures us everything is in great shape and has been serviced twice a year (we would get an inspection). That said, things only last so long before they must be replaced and all of those things are pretty much at the end of their life. The house also needs a gut job for bathrooms/kitchen/etc which are all original. It is an estate sale. The lot is my dream lot. A double heavily treed lot, hence why I'm interested. They were offered $70k below list and did not counter, just rejected. I guess my question is, do I offer $50k under list and see if they take it, has been on the market for 5 months with only 1 offer as mentioned.

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In what world do 27 year old windows become "at the end of their life" when there are plenty of 100 year old homes that have original windows that function just fine with the addition of storm windows. A gut job? A 27 year old house is a baby in home years, yet new enough to have modern wiring, plumbing, and insulation. Where are these notions coming from?

Are you a first time homeowner?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 10:45PM
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Live Wire--Nope not a first timer. We currently own two homes, one brand new one 30 years old. We have purchased 3 houses in 8 years, soon to be 4 homes in three different states. I understand there is debate over whether to replace windows or put on storm windows--that is not my question. My understanding is that at approximately 30 years you are better off to replace for the energy savings. You evidently feel otherwise. Also, we want updated bathrooms and an updated kitchen, hence "gutting" them. We have had avocado kitchens and loved them but most would agree that selling an avocado kitchen/bathroom is harder in the current market than an updated one. So back to my original question of adjusting our offer based on the improvements to the home...anyone have constructive advice? This home is in a very upscale, gated community where all other homes have been renovated since they have been built, hence why this one has been on the market so long. Even though it is a "baby" in terms of home age, people in this particular market are looking for updated or move in ready properties.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 11:21PM
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For my house which was in my dream location and also on the double treed lot, I took all the same considerations that you have into account. I then offered the top dollar I could afford with repair costs in mind because I wanted the house very badly.

I was careful not to offend the seller by offering too low. However if the neighborhood you desire has a larger housing inventory then you take that risk, and if it doesn't work out resume your house search. If it does work out that is even better.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 11:39PM
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Wow by the time I posted my response there was already a discussion. I type very slow.

In response to live_wire_oak- I must say I agree with your window statement. I foolishly replaced all the windows in my old house for all those promised energy savings that never materialized.

My new (old) house has 64 year old functioning wood windows with storms. I kid you not this house is comfortable set at 57 degrees with no drafts from the windows even with sub-zero outside temps. I crossed replace windows off my to do list and instead will reglaze them whenI learn how.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 11:50PM
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Well, I venture to say that a house that was built 27 years ago was probably built with windows, roofs, furnace, etc. that are not going to last much longer. Unfortunately, unlike in some European countries, even million dollar houses here are built with crappy materials and workmanship and certainly not meant to last for 100 years. So, no hardwood windows and doors, slate roofs, concrete walls with plaster.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 12:57AM
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Does Europe have any million dollar homes?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 7:46AM
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When you convert from Mark, pounds,kroner, franc,etc. they do.

If the house is already priced with taking these things into account then no additional deduction should be done, but if not then you can always try. They may be fine with holding onto it for a long time to get price they want.

This post was edited by lyfia on Tue, Feb 4, 14 at 10:33

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 8:51AM
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I think I need more specific info on the 27 yr old windows - if youre only talking about the supposed energy savings, fyi by some analyses replacement windows do NOT recoup their cost in energy saving - there is a lot of info out there on how much/most heat loss actually happens via unsealed attics, basements, etc., and windows not so much.

In other words if they are in good working condition then the seller and another buyer may not agree with YOUR OPINION that they are at the end of their life and so may reject your offer on that basis.

If they ARE broken or literally falling apart, well that's another story - I do not think the average 20-30 yr old window can be comparable to the average 100 yr old window referenced above. Apples and oranges - often the newer window really cannot be repaired, only tossed into the landfill. (The 100 yr old rope and pulley system on the other hand because it is so mechanically simple can be easily repaired and restored and made to last another 100 yrs.)

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 9:31AM
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You don't say whether or not the windows are single or double paned. I think that would be more important than their age. If they are double, you can tell if they have lost their seal and become cloudy.

Shake shingle roofs have a longer life span than asphalt. I recall 50+ years being the target given.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 10:53AM
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Going back to your original question...
Ask their agent what sort of offer it would take to get them to respond and not get offended. She/he may have a clue as to what it would take to get the deal moving forward.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 12:40PM
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it is also possible that the owner now regrets rejecting the prior offer - was it early on in the listing or more recently? I would tend to think that the more time that has elapsed the more amenable they may be to reconsidering a similar offer....

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 5:11PM
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@ncrealestateguy (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 2, 14 at 7:46
Does Europe have any million dollar homes?

You may have misread what I posted:
"Unfortunately, unlike in some European countries, even million dollar houses here [i.e. in the US] are built with crappy materials and workmanship and certainly not meant to last for 100 years."

In the US, even million-dollar homes are built with crappy materials.
This is unlike from, i.e. different from, Europe, specifically, the German-speaking countries, where houses are built with better materials and workmanship than in the US.

However, we are digressing. To answer the OP's question:
yes, the windows, roof, furnace are nearing their end of life, and I'd make an offer that reflects that.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 5:34PM
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I understood your original post. I just disagree with such a generalization. I see many million dollar homes here that are of great workmanship and will be around after 100 years. If and when I do run into a million dollar home that is in poor shape, it was because the owners did not maintain the home. Not because it was built with crappy materials to start with.
What better materials do the Germans use?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 6:21PM
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What better materials do the Germans use?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 7:09PM
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The only thing I would even consider replacing is the furnace, because technology has advanced considerably.

A wood shake roof, if well maintained, will last 50-70 years and can be selectively repaired by replacing shakes. I had repairs done to a 1930s roof in the 1990s and the house is still shake roofed.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 9:26PM
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I completely disagree. Have you ever been in a newly built 1.5 mio dollar house in the DC area and a relatively modest house in Germany and compared building quality and workmanship? I have.

Most of US building focuses on looks rather than long-term quality, partially because people don't expect a house to last for 100 years and consider their house much more temporary. This has undoubtedly advantages, too, as homes are more affordable. On the other hand, the houses are "cheap."

Here is a link that might be useful: U.S. interest in German windows

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 10:40AM
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Back to the OP, I think Kashka_Kat has it right. As the seller, I would not consider giving any sort of concession for items that were in good working order. Even, say, for a 20yo water heater, and you know they only last around 20 years, but there is little rust and no could last another year, or another five years. Generally, we don't take future repairs into account, or we buy a warranty just in case.
My in-laws nearly lost a sale because although the inspection passed with flying colors, the septic inspector made a casual comment to the buyers that septic systems only last 25 years (and this was a 20+ year old septic). So they asked my in-laws to shell out another $8K to replace it (after weeks of negotiations and concessions already). When they asked the buyers to send the inspection results directly to their lawyer, the issue was dropped and they finally closed.

The exception to this is here in Florida, where a licensed roof inspection has to state specifically that the existing roof has a certain amount of life left (I think it's five years), or you can't get homeowners insurance.

The main problem with the OP is that we have no scale of what is being asked. Is this a $100K home? $200K home? What are the comps? For all we know, the home is already priced appropriately for necessary updates and trying to ask even $20K is low-balling or even insulting.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 4:05PM
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Do you realize that a house does not lose most of it's heat to the home's window's? Maybe 12%.
Also, you can not compare a $2500 window to a $500 window. Like most of this "green" technology, it doesn't make economical sense. Hence why most builders and home buyers here run away from it fast.
Sorry to hear you live in a cheap house. I think most homeowners here would not classify their homes as cheaply built.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 4:08PM
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I would get the inspection and then make a decision. If the windows are old and the house needs new bathrooms and kitchen, I would offer at least $30,000 less. I'd probably offer lower.

Of course I don't know where this house is and the location. What are the comps? You need to weigh all the variables. Five months is a long time for a house to sit. Its obviously overpriced.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 4:16PM
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Hmmm. Our neighborhood is 35 years old and almost all houses have original windows. Andersen wood windows, double paned. I had an energy audit done last year by an independent assessor and he recommended insulating the attic (which we did) but did not think we would get much payback from replacing the windows since they were in good shape and pretty solid. We did changed out all the leaky recessed lights to insulated ones. That alone made a big difference in the house comfort.

I do not think that any seller would concede that working items in good shape need to be replaced. That said, the market is what it is and you can always make an offer. The good features that you have mentioned sound hard to find and you should offer what you are comfortable with to snag the deal.

Best wishes

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 8:22PM
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Recessed lighting is a huge area for heat loss, ( the most in my home) as well as electrical receptacles and baseboards.
I wonder if the Germans make a nice $2500 insulated recessed light?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 6:30AM
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@nc This is a silly discussion since you obviously have not been outside the country to express a truly educated opinion here. 1. I personally can compare different houses, and based on that comparison, US houses, even very expensive (> 2 mio) are cheaply built. 2. As my builder and architect friends explain, many people in the US, unlike e.g. in Germany or Switzerland, don't expect to live in their homes forever. 3. That's why "building lifetimes" in those countries are longer as per an international study by CPI in San Francisco.

To the OP: In my area, inspectors will list what they perceive the remaining lifetime of the items you referred to.
Also, how does the asking price compare to the other renovated homes that have sold? It may already have been factored in.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 10:38AM
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Nosoccermom... I lived in Germany for over 7 months.
I am not saying that the homes there are not built well, I am saying that multi million dollar homes here are not built cheap. And also that they WILL still be around after 100 years. That is not that long of a time.
Let me ask you this... what part of our multi million dollar homes here will cause the home to be inhabitable in less than 100 years? You have not yet said.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 5:14PM
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So, are you saying that all these studies stating that the lifespan of buildings in Europe is longer than in the US are wrong?
In my area, houses that cost several millions are built with drywall, hollow-core interior doors; asphalt shingles; vinyl windows; hardy plank siding.
You can hear people talk in rooms next door with the doors closed. You can hear people walking upstairs. You can hear when toilets are being flushed.
I can tell you from personal experience that this is not the case in an average house in Germany because interior doors are massive wood, walls and ceilings are stone or cement block, windows are hardwood, roofs are slate or clay.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 4:58PM
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dreambuilder: I certainly do factor end-of-life materials into the cost of a home. Figure out what it'd be worth if perfect, then deduct the cost of repairs/modernization. Hopefully that gets you to the listing price. If not, the sellers may have unrealistic expectations. If they're not countering, they're not ready. Let the POS sit for another 5 months and try an honest bid then.

BTW, we went thru the same thing last fall. Unmaintained house in a very nice area. Sellers wanted full price as neighboring homes. 24 year old roof and furnaces. 18 windows with blown seals. Wood rot on all the trim. Floors scratched to h*ll. Carpets stained. Deck boards cracked. To top it off, our inspector found evidence of mold under some of the rotted (but recently painted) siding. We walked. Funny though: the selling point was that they had recently sunk $75k into a kitchen. High end appliances, cabs, granite, etc. Lipstick on a pig. They too barely budged on price.

NCREGuy & nosoccermom: Not to add fuel to the fire, but I will have to agree with one point: a million dollars doesn't buy what it used to. Certainly not in the areas with high land cost. In my city, a 1/5th acre buildable lot will go for $200-$250k. In the metro boston area, out to a 20-30 mile radius, a million new construction will get you spec-grade materials: vinyl windows, particle-board sheathing, min spec mechanicals, pre-finished oak strip floors, GE or LG appliances. A million in resale will get you a 1950s-1980s era home that needs a full gut redo.

Another fact of life is the million dollar tear-down, A builder will buy a million dollar home for the land. Tear down the house to subdivide the half acre into 2 quarter-acre lots, then build 2 new homes.

Not that they end up unlivable, but they'll need a lot of replacements after just 20-25 years. Not the 30-50 year materials you'd hope for when spending 2 commas on a home.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 6:46AM
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We have homes here in Vermont that were built in the 1700s. The value increases if they have the original windows! When you drive past an old farmhouse with 12 over 12 windows with wavy glass, you know it's original.

Roofs? A majority of the houses in my town were built between 1830 and 1870 and have the original slate roofs.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 7:00AM
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I suppose it depends on where you live in the States. Builders would not get away with this type of building if it were not for the "Low Information Buyer".

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 8:03AM
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Builders get away with this because (a) 1 mio doesn't buy you much if the lot is 800K, and (b) because many buyers don't demand quality, but size and "surface" wow factors because they won't live in the house for the remainder of their lives (according to architect friend). People want larges houses with humungous kitchens and as many bathrooms as bedrooms. In comparison, homes in Germany, for instance, are substantially smaller and also relatively more expensive than here. For example, my house has hollow-core fake grain interior doors (probably 35.00 each), my parents' has massive wood (about 400.00); difference is that I have lots more doors.
As a student, I lived in a 100-year old house that had a slate roof, stucco on the outside, thick plaster walls, 15 foot ceilings, solid hardwood windows and doors. I closed the door to my room and couldn't hear my flat mates' music. How much do you think I house like that would cost to build?

This post was edited by nosoccermom on Fri, Feb 14, 14 at 12:04

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 11:59AM
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You are interested in purchasing a 27 year old home on a premium lot. You are not purchasing a brand new home. You prefer new windows, baths and kitchen even though all items are in working condition. We sold a twenty plus year old home a few years ago, the wife was in love with the home, the husband wanted us to replace all the windows (we had replaced a few that failed with very expensive wood trimmed windows), he also wanted us to replace the furnace with a top-of the line model. We declined. We had extensive updates, but were selling a 20+ year old home. They purchased the house.

You can offer whatever you think the home is worth. If it is an estate situation the heirs may be in no hurry to sell, unlike people living in a home it isn't a big hassle to keep it on the market for them. Conversely, they may want their money from the estate.

If they have not dropped the price in 5 months they may be willing to wait, the house is "worth" whatever someone is willing to pay and a bank is willing to finance. If it is worth 50K less than asking to you then make your offer, knowing it may anger them that you don't think mom's 1987 kitchen is perfect as is. If it is worth more to you make your offer accordingly.

I am assuming you have looked at comps in the area to determine if the home was overpriced considering the updates of other homes as well as the value of the double lot.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 9:16PM
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Depends--if the price is right, I will consider replacing these items. If the house is at the top of my budget, it might very well be a deal-breaker if these things need to be replaced.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 5:40PM
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If the people got a $70,000 below asking price some time ago and rejected it AND haven't had any offers since, you might go ahead and offer $50,000 less. If they outright reject you, go ahead and make a higher offer, if you want. I sold my father's house and rejected a low-ball offer and I know I wouldn't be offended if the guy came back with a higher offer.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 9:13PM
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