We're considering putting our 19 y/o twnhm on the market next year. Should we replace the ac and heat units (the originals)? AC is not cooling as

Asked by Cville Homeowner, Centreville, VA Tue Jun 14, 2011

well as we'd like, but is it worth replacing? HVAC contractors say it will make selling the house next year easier.

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J, Agent, Greensboro, NC
Thu Sep 29, 2011
This is certainly a "high ticket' cost item for a potential buyer, and this may push buyers to other properties that are available with newer or new HVAC systems and homes that have been updated and renovated. You will more than likely not see a return, however, this may help in competing with other properties in your area. Sellers in today's market are needing to go over and beyond to compete for offers---any offers. Good luck!
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Steve Dunlea…, Agent, Ashburn, VA
Thu Sep 29, 2011
I would replace the units. Buyers have lots of options these days. New units will be much more energy efficient. You will not see a dollar for dollar return on your investment but it will certainly make your property much more appealing to prospective buyers.
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Carolyn Thom…, Agent, Rockville, MD
Sun Jun 26, 2011
Wouldn't you expect this response from the HVAC contractor?

I suggest that you consider the cost of making necessary repairs without replacement and offer a home warranty.

Most buyers want to purchase a property and not have to make any changes or repairs. Those who are willing to do so tend to be more liquid and are looking for a deal.

Which type of buyer do you want to attract?
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Carlos Carab…, Agent, McLean, VA
Thu Jun 16, 2011
Hello Cville:

Air conditioners and heaters are not designed to last forever. Eventually, older components wear out and need replacement with more modern pieces, or the system must be replaced altogether. Installing a new HVAC system or updating an old, outdated system can have many long lasting results for your home. You can enjoy cleaner indoor air, less noise, lower utility bills, and proper humidity control.Over time, a system that is designed to be more efficient can save you thousands of dollars during the time that you have it.
HVAC is an important issue when you considering putting your home in the market.


Carlos Caraballo
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Frank Dolski, Agent, Lahaska, PA
Thu Jun 16, 2011
I would recommend having the units services. Perhaps you should buy a home warranty for a year and have it in case something does go wrong. I would not just replace it but have it checked out first.
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Jacob Taylor, Agent, Ashburn, VA
Wed Jun 15, 2011
This depends on the neighborhood and the market. A new central air system would definitely help sell the house, the question is will it be worth the added cost to you? The answer is most likely yes, as in most neighborhoods this is either standard or buyers dont want to deal with replacing it themselves. However, in a few it actually doesn't mean as much to buyers who don't expect a newer unit as much, and in which case it wont make a difference.

So I would say most likely yes, but take into consideration what buyers in that neighborhood want and expect!
Web Reference:  http://www.TheRealTaylor.com
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Pat & Alex B…, Agent, Chantilly, VA
Wed Jun 15, 2011
I would advise you to have a Realtor evaluate your home and saleability before spending that much money. That way you'd have more information with which to make a good decision. Of course, a new HVAC unit is a big draw, but the overall condition of your home will have a big effect on how it is priced and how quickly you sell it. In most cases, it sure would be desireable - after all, nothing lasts forever, and it sounds as if you are close the end of its lifetime. If it's not cooling as well as you'd like, it probably is close, and you might want to enjoy the benefits too. We have contractors who give great options to homeowners. After you examine the costs vs benefits, and your personal financial situation, then you might ask a Realtor's opinion. This year, this month, good listings are hard to find in Northern Virginia and buyers are looking hard for a good value. That can change by next year, so the situation might be different. You can reach me at pat.bogenn@lnf.com if you'd like more info.
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Terri Miller, , Centreville, VA
Tue Jun 14, 2011
Updating your HVAC unit is a must if it is not cooling properly at this time. The newer units are more efficient and Green. And you will get the benefit of comfort this summer yourselves. It is an investment in your home that will be well spent and you might as well get to enjoy it before your potential buyers this coming year.

Have a great summer and stay cool!
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Robin Short, Agent, Leesburg, VA
Tue Jun 14, 2011
This is definitely a part of the property that will need to be in perfect condition. As we all know, a buyer will walk away from a home with a very old unit, and look more closely to another one that had a new unit recently.
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Connie McLean…, Agent, Fredericksburg, VA
Tue Jun 14, 2011
Dear Cville Homeowner - If it has never been replaced, I'd seriously consider doing so. Get several estimates because contractors' prices do vary - just make sure you're getting estimates for identical-sized units. Check to see if that tax credit thing is still going on (don't you love my IRS jargon?) for upgrading your heating & A/C.

Doing real estate for 10 years, it seems the more that time presses on, and most particuarly in our market now, buyers do NOT want to have to worry about anything nor do they want to fix or paint anything. Home warranties are great but they STILL have to pay the deductible with each service call. A buyer's home inspector will tell them your unit may be on its last leg (hard to fool most of those guys).

Go through your home with a fine tooth comb. Pretend YOU are a buyer - what DON'T you like about the way your home looks or if there's something that's ALWAYS bugged you - get it unbugged now!

If you REALLY want to know if your home shows well - takie interior photos. Pictures are worth a thousand words and if you think it LOOKS good in person - take a photo, THAT'S where the real truth lies.
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Eduardo Agui…, Agent, Vienna, VA
Tue Jun 14, 2011
You should wait until next year to see how is the market in you area by then. Two months before you put your townhouse on the market obtain a comparative market analisys (CMA), determine the price ranges and go from there to see if it is worth it or not. I know someone that can help you with your current HVAC unit, for a really good price. You can start getting estimates to find a good deal.
It is always better to update some systems before selling a property but make sure that is the right decision for your pocket.
Contact me if you have more questions: eaguilar1976@hotmail.com
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Jay Hurst, Agent, McLean, VA
Tue Jun 14, 2011
The HVAC vendor is correct. If this is going to be a straight sale and not a distressed sale, you should seriously consider a new unit. It is hard to tell if you will get the entire investment back, but you may qualify for a tax credit if you improve the unit. That will offset some of the cost.
Many home inspectors make issues out of the roof and HVAC. These are major cost items with most townhomes.

Also, if your home attracts first time buyers, a new unit will help. They are scared away by rust and rattles.
Always get three bids on HVAC work before selecting a vendor.
Good Luck!
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Tina Beasley, Agent, Saint Augustine, FL
Tue Jun 14, 2011
Absolutely! No one wants to buy a home with an old AC or Heating unit, especially as hot as it has been lately! If it is a heat pump, replace both the inside and outside units. If you have gas heat, you may be able to just service that unit and replace the AC. Make sure that you check Angie's list online for reputable contractors in your area.

Also, if your townhome has an original roof & water heater...it may be time to replace those items as well. Having your home in top top shape always helps you bring in top dollar when you sell.

Good Luck!
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