Install new boiler before listing?

thisishishouseSeptember 19, 2012

I'm wondering what everyone's thoughts are on replacing major mechanicals (water heater & boiler) before listing.

We plan to list (and hopefully sell) our home next spring. I started going thru the house with a critical eye, making a list of 'to do' items to fix/replace/update to work on over the winter before listing next spring.

I noticed some corrosion on our (gas) hot water heater. The occasional drip from the relief valve down pipe has caused some rust on the exterior jacket of the water heater. Maybe a 2-3" spot. Had it looked at. It's only surface damage. Inner tank still looks fine. It's 12yo and nearing the end of its expected life, but still works fine and probably would for a while more. But I fear the rust might raise suspicions during showings or inspection and lower sell price.

Thinking about replacing the water heater, I then notice it's sitting next to our ~25yo boiler. Again, it works fine, has been regularly maintained and serviced. But looking at it with 'buyers eyes', I see a 25 yo boiler that'd most likely need replacing in 5-10 years.

So my options are to do nothing, just replace the water heater, or go the "Full Monty" (new 96% condensing boiler with indirect water storage tank). Financially speaking, $0, $1000, or $8000. As I see the risks, it's either lose money on the sale due to end-of-life mechanicals, or upgrade but not make the money back at sale time due to the buyer not placing any value on new mechanicals.

Thoughts? Anyone gone thru similar decisions?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think as long as that stuff is working, you should leave it alone, unless there is something about your local real estate market that would make it advantageous to replace those items. We had to replace both of those things in our current house within probably 6 months (a guy who came out to look at the furnace actually put a lock on it or something and said it would be dangerous to use because of CO2) but it didn't faze us during the inspection when the inspector said that both things were in working order but near the end of their expected life.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 10:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It might be worth paying a house inspector to see what they think. Plus there may be other things that you're not noticing that will show up on an inspection. A furnace nearing the end of its life will affect your price, and may result in a lost sale, as some people want a move-in ready house. Of course, you won't get your money back on a new furnace or water heater.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 11:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You might want to look into offering a home warranty with $550, depending on the company you go with.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 11:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Personally, I put a premium on new mechanicals, I would rather not have the hassle of replacement. But I may be unusual, and thus I doubt it would cause you to lose a sale unless there are a lot of very similar places for sale that have newer mechanicals and similar prices.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 2:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You probably wouldn't recoup your investment in new heater, boiler, etc. but I would do it anyway. It may help sell the house faster or tip things to your way if there is a decision for the buyer between your house and another. You won't have to be getting lower offers because the buyer will be deducting monies off the asking price due to the age of your heating system. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 3:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I might replace the water heater because it is rusted and wouldn't cost nearly as much as a new boiler.

I would not spend the money to replace the boiler unless your competition has new boilers. Especially since you won't recoup the cost and you think the boiler might last another 5-10 years.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 3:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"think the boiler might last another 5-10 years."

That is pretty far out to be replacing a boiler.

If the water heater is already showing problems it would not be very expensive to get it off the table as a possible sale condition by replacing it.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 10:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for all the feedback. I'm still undecided.

I'm told one of my figures might be higher than expected. The cost to replace just the hot water heater (gas, 40-gal) was quoted at $1000. But it was also mentioned that I may need a flue liner also, which might double or triple that price. Currently the gas boiler & water heater just dump out into the chimney. I was told that now I need a liner. Not sure if that's code or upselling.

In the case of 'replace everything', the high-efficency units now vent directly outdoors via PVC, so there'd be no additional cost above the ~$8000ish.

So my choices are spend nothing and risk sale/inspection issues, spend ~$2000+ for just the water heater and still have an old boiler at sale time, or $8000 for the whole shebang (and maybe sell quickly to someone who recognizes appreciates new mechanicals.)

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 1:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

How important is selling quickly?

Will you have carrying costs besides regular expenses of living in the house as your residence?

How good is the market for houses the age of yours?

What condition and improvements is the competition offering at your selling price?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 11:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I faced the same question, new water heater with 10 year warranty is costing under 1500$ and I am doing it. The existing one is over 27 years old, works fine for us, but well past average lifespan and it makes a lot of noise.

New boiler 6-8k, I decided to wait on. The boiler works fine. It is a gamble since a new energy efficient boiler would make a difference for some buyers. But I would rather wait and see if that is what a buyer would ask to replace. The high cost just seems too much to go ahead. I would rather fix whatever other miscellaneous the buyer requests then the boiler PLUS whatever other miscellaneous they are likely to request.

I am having a boiler cleaning and servicing when the water heater is replaced so I can document that it is in good working order.

I do plan to clean the area the boiler is in and remove all dust so it looks nice and tidy. Is there a way you can give the current unit a good cleaning?

Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 1:50PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
what do you do with mail that comes for previous occupants?
I always get mail that is meant for previous occupants...
Would you buy a home near fire station??
We're considering an offer on a single-family home...
Sell Home, Go to Court Or What?
This may be the first time I have posted asking for...
Exclusive listing?
We are moving out of state in July, therefore need...
Home Buyers Please Vote: Would you rather ...
1. A $2,000 kitchen appliance allowance or any stainless...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™