We’ve owned our house for about 8 years now, but the last owners put in some major renovations about 6 years before we bought it. That adds up to 14 years, and you know what starts happening when a house gets 15-20 years old? Stuff starts breaking and failing.
Why would I say that? Well, there’s some particulars to our home, but in general there’s a lifetime to certain appliances, etc. such as:
- Water Heaters: 10-11 years. We have 2 water heaters. One (gas) is about 15 years old and the electric one is about 13. Both are well past their lifespan.
- Dishwashers: 9-10 years. Ours is about 9 years old now.
- Carpet: 10 years. We have 3 rooms where we haven’t replaced yet and all are at least 14 years old and have had pets and most likely smokers on them. Two rooms have original hardwood underneath, but we don’t know the quality and I’d rather just replace with the same Pergo floor as the rest of the house.
- Fridge: about 13 years. Ours is about 9 years, but I’ve already replaced a lot of parts on it myself so I’m not sure how long it will last ultimately. I know it was an expensive fridge when they bought it based on the receipt, but that doesn’t mean it’s reliable.
- Clothes washer: 10 years. Ours is probably 14 years or older. The knob broke off years ago, but we’ve been resourceful and use pliers to start it up.
- Clothes dryer: 13 years. We’re actually on our 3rd dryer. The first came with the house and the next two (counting our current one) came for free from our friend.
- Furnace and Air Conditioner: 15-20 years. Ours is about 16 years old, but it’s a high-efficiency unit. We’ve spent about $1000 over the years on repairs, but it just takes one crack in the heat exchange unit to jack up the cost of repair to the point of replacement.
- Roof: It varies, but our shingles are 20 year warrantied. I was just up on our roof recently and the roof looks good, but there’s a bit of buckling in one spot (I noticed it a few years ago) and it appears they just put the new layer of shingles over the original on the old part of the house. That could cause problems.
- Pool Plaster Lining: Ours is supposed to last 15-20 years, but we’re noticing it thinning and lots more “blue stuff” in the cleaner than 8 years ago. We spent $7000 just 2 years ago on brick and tile-work, and I expect to spend another $7000 on replastering the pool in the next 3-4 years (it’s quartz plaster, not the regular stuff that would cost $4-5k).
So what kind of bomb are we sitting on? A big financial bomb!
All of our appliances are at the end of their lifespan right about now and we’re just waiting for stuff to fail. I added up over $30,000 if everything hits at once (maybe even over $40k). We have a nice savings account set up for the home and emergencies, but not THAT much. The good thing: it won’t all hit at once and we can start planning repairs and replacements now.
But the question is how much longer do we want to stay in this home? Do we want to stay in this house till we die, upgrade, rent something smaller or move away entirely? There’s more to this question than just dying appliances such as our mortgage rate increasing (it’s variable) and needing to refinance. We have been questioning our careers, traffic, cost of living, proximity to family (or lack of) and much more.
The question is do we stick it out, spend the money on maintenance (that won’t significantly increase house value) and live through the payback period or dump it now and cut any losses? Granted, since we have a pool, we wouldn’t sell during the winter, but we need to do some heavy thinking very soon.
What would you do?