When you’re putting your home on your market, you have to make many decisions about the relative cost/benefit of making certain upgrades throughout the house. For example, will a renovated master bath result in an offer high enough to offset to investment?
The same analysis has to be done for your HVAC system. HVAC can be a deal-breaking point for some people, but not all HVAC upgrades will pay themselves back in a higher offer or faster turn-around time. Here, we break down the HVAC upgrades that are worth the investment versus the ones that aren’t.
Insulation and Weatherproofing: Worth It
Regardless of how new your heating and air conditioning system is, poor insulation increases your energy costs dramatically. Hiring a professional to patch any leaks or gaps in your insulation is relatively inexpensive, and a good selling point to disclose to potential buyers. Sure it wouldn’t cost the buyer very much to do themselves, but it’s one less thing for them to deal with when they’re settling. That alone makes the upgrade appealing.
Replacing a System <10 Years Old: Not Worth It
If your system was first installed less than 10 years ago, you shouldn’t worry about replacing it unless it has other problems. The system still has several good years left in it, so it’s unlikely to cause buyers to lower their offer. Nor is the difference in efficiency between systems installed 10 years ago and today large enough to make a significant impact on the value of your home. You most likely won’t see an equal return on the investment it would take to overhaul your entire system with this HVAC upgrade.
New Windows: Worth It
Double-paned windows significantly impact monthly energy bills. They reduce heat transfer and drafts, and improve the overall efficiency of your heating system. Knowing that the house has been fitted with new windows will give your potential buyer confidence that they can expect long-term savings on their heating bills.
Installing Central Air: Maybe Worth It
If you live in an older house that doesn’t have a central air system, you may be wondering whether you should install central air before putting it on the market. The tricky thing about central air is that it’s now considered such a basic home amenity that it won’t raise the value of your home – buyers just expect it as a given.
But if you don’t have central air, you may have trouble getting an offer equal to your asking price, or selling the home at all. A buyer dead-set on central air will see dollar signs everywhere, calculating how much it will cost them to install it once they move in.
It also depends on the current value of your home. According to a Twin Cities appraiser, Alan Hummel, adding central air can increase your home’s value by 10%. But it can cost between $6,000-$15,000 to install. Do the math to determine whether you’ll be able to recoup enough of your investment to make it worth it.
We recommend bringing up the issue with your realtor. They might be able to give you some advice that compares your home to others in the area to judge the relative value of upgrading. In an older neighborhood, central air could set your home apart from similar homes on the market.
New Plumbing: Worth It
If your home is still cranking water through old, rusty pipes, you can bet that will be noted by your appraiser—and will appear on the home inspection report provided to any potential buyer. In reality, re-piping your home is a lot less expensive that most people think, and it will mean a huge boost to the value of your home. Many buyers are easily scared off by the thought of having to replace something huge like the home’s plumbing system right after they move in.
Not sure which HVAC upgrades to invest in? Bonfe can perform an inspection to help you determine where and how your home’s value can be increased with an HVAC upgrade.