Should we 'Do Windows'?

deb1853August 14, 2010

We plan on listing our 20 year old home sometime next year, we've updated almost everything including:

HVAC, roof/gutters, re-routed plumbing/extended gas lines, installed new and refinished existing hardwoods, new paint (including trim) and carpeting, granite counters, high-end custom tile, under-mount sinks, all new fixtures (lighting, faucets, tubs, showers) up to and including floor registers and door hardware, new exterior doors, plantation blinds etc., the list goes on and on. The only thing we haven't done is replace all our windows.

Kitchen windows were replaced and it was $1800. We really don't want to spend another 15K or more to replace the rest, though they need it. Seals are not broken they're just wood windows whose time has come. Will it hurt our bottom line much if we elect not to do the rest of the windows and, if we do, will we re-coup the cost? Should we offer a window credit in the sale price? Will older windows be an inspection red-flag? So, should we do windows?

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I wouldn't do anything about them - you've already put in so much, yet can't anticipate new owner's tastes, and I don't think you'll recoup the money for windows anyway, not unless comps in your area are much higher and the market there is very good. I would not even have put those blinds in - again, a matter of personal taste, as were bath fixtures, granite and carpets. I might have done windows first, and not some of the other fixes, but it's been done.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 8:34AM
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I remember asking our realtor to emphasize that we'd replaced all the windows in our house -- not to sell; we'd just done it over time. She said, "Buyers expect there will BE windows." That was about 12 years ago. I'm sure thre are *some* buyers who care more today, but I wouldn't replace in your case. Don't bring it up AT ALL. I'd even balk at being asked to 'help' the buyer who wants to replace the windows. I'd tell him that's already been taken into consideration when you set your price.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 12:14PM
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I wouldn't replace them either. They aren't a selling point.

One thing you will possibly need to do if it's an issue is to fix windows that have moisture between the panes. Our last house had a couple when we bought it. It was no big deal to us so we let it slide. We used the same realtor who had sold the house previously. He said it would be an issue when it was our time to sell and we did have to fix it. I can't remember exactly, but it may have been the mortgage company that had the issue.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 1:35PM
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You won't recoup the cost on resale for replacing the windows. I think I read where window replacement has a 60-70% return on investment. As long as the windows are in good functioning condition leave the windows alone. We purchased a couple of homes that had a few windows that had moisture between the panes and we had the seller replace those specific windows.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 3:45PM
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If you go over to the old house forum, you will find a good proportion, if not the majority of folks over there would prefer a good functional old wooden window over a new ones unless you are going to the expense of wooden replacements.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 5:06PM
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really depends on how bad they look. realistically most people don't care, even though they should.

if they really detract from the look, it might be worth it, but mostly people will just be enamored with the shiny countertops.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 4:58PM
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Thanks for all the advice. I guess I'll just leave them and deal with it when and if it should come up.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 11:46AM
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I like the idea of a window credit. Maybe a negotiating point. I get sort of disappointed when looking at a house and it has new vinyl windows. I hate vinyl windows (but like formica and vinyl floors go figure:). Its such a big expense, something you just can't change but they really turn me off.
With everything else so new it wouldn't bother me at all (unless the price is way too high in general).

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 4:03PM
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I wouldn't initially offer a window credit unless the potential buyer is balking. Otherwise, it just draws attention to them and your offer probably won't go far to total replacement cost. A buyer would be able to get a tax credit up to $1500 if they replaced current windows with qualifying efficient ones.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 5:24PM
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A little late in the game, but---one thing to remember is that there's a subset of buyers out there who *want* original wood windows, especially if your house is pre-1950 or so. The fact that the windows hadn't been replaced in our 1915 home was a major selling point for us. They're not perfect, but if they aren't rotting, it's relatively easy to rehab old windows and preserve them, if you're so inclined.

If they have widespread dry rot, though, that's another story, and could be called in an inspection. Maybe you could identify windows that are actually failing vs. windows that are simply old, and just replace those? (In our house, of 30 original windows, only two had dry rot that was significant enough that they actually had to be replaced, as a reference point...those two were on a wall that was especially exposed to the elements, and the rot was indeed noted in the inspection before we bought.)

Just another view!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 1:02AM
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Well they stated they have a 20 yo home, so it's def not an old home! LOL!

I'm not sure why windows would have to be replaced after only 20 years. They should still be in good shape. Is there some undue acceleration on the aging/wear of them? Good wood windows should last far longer than 20 years.

If the buyers are so concerned about new windows, let them pay for new ones. Don't even bring it up. You've put a ton into this house already. Due to the market being a buyer's market, they may try to nitpick and see how far they can push you. At that point it will be your choice, not ours!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 12:58AM
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If they are a mess, and you expect a quick sale, you might have to bite the bullet. There might be that one buyer, cash, but hates the idea of doing the windows. You might not get all the money back, but then again, what if you can't sell the place, have to drop the price by 15k, 20k etc...I remodeled our last house, over 3 years, everything, and it sold in one day. The guy that bought it did not want to do any remodeling, paid the asking price and just wanted my old lawnmower. I think it paid off for us because we wanted out in a declining market, and had bought a new home in a different city.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 6:32PM
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