When planning to sell a home, many people presume that they have to replace all the appliances so that the home looks updated and appealing, particularly as part of a kitchen update. In some cases, you may not have to replace appliances. Here is what you need to know about what happens to the appliances during a home sale, and how to decide which ones need an upgrade.
Which Appliances Stay With the Home?
You would be surprised to learn that there are not too many rules governing the division of appliances between buyer and seller. As a general guideline, anything that was built as a permanent fixture of the home must remain with the property. This is why ceiling fans and window treatments are typically considered fixtures, while wall sconces and many appliances are not. However, if you would not remove the appliance before listing the home, you may consider the possibility that the buyer will add the item to the purchase contract.
The standard is to leave at least the oven/stove in its place, but a built-in microwave and dishwasher may also apply. Refrigerators, washers and dryers and any small appliances that sit on the countertops are usually considered yours to take with you after the sale. If the buyer wants these, it is up to them to specify each one in the purchase contract.
How Do I Decide Which Appliances to Replace?
Even if you plan to take a lot of the appliances with you, they present a certain vision to potential buyers when they come to look at the home. Old, outdated, stained appliances send a message that the home has not been cared for particularly well, especially in recent years. They may stand out from other parts of an updated kitchen or laundry room and turn buyers off before they have a chance to see the advantages of the home. Use these criteria to decide if your appliances can remain as-is:
- bought within the past few years
- maintained ideally
- still in near-new condition
- top of the line when purchased
If your equipment does not meet any one of these criteria, you should consider replacing the models in question.
Do New Appliances Have to Be Stainless Steel?
Although not everyone loves the look of stainless steel appliances, they have a certain appeal that is easier to guarantee for buyers. The goal is to offer a united look so that the entire room appears like it was meant to be together. Buying stainless steel can cost as much as $100 more per appliance. You may not need to buy all new appliances at the same time, but they should all be exactly the same color, in great condition and very, very clean. If you are going to buy mostly new appliances and the existing ones are not stainless steel, you should either buy the new ones in the current color or plan to replace all of them at once.
Should I Replace Appliances I Take With Me?
There are some factors you need to think about before buying new appliances that you will be taking to your new home.
First, if your existing appliances are approaching 10 years old, it is likely time to replace them anyway. Moving them to a new home may shorten their already-short lifespan. Second, you must confirm that the new models will fit into your new home. A smaller fridge that barely fits into your current home may get lost in the space of your new kitchen. Third, the rule about coordinating colors applies to your next home, as well. If the appliances in your home will simply not match the ones in the next property, you might decide to offer them to the buyer in exchange for a slightly higher purchase price.
What About HVAC Systems and Water Heaters?
Your furnace, air conditioner and water heater also count as appliances, and you should ponder their condition before you sell as well. These are fixtures that must remain with the home, so make your decision carefully. The average lifespan of the machines varies from about 10-15 years, so you may want to replace anything that is older than that. For replacement, your best bet is to get models that are sized appropriately to the home and represent decent efficiency, if not the top of the line. You may not get much back in increased resale value for these systems even though they can cost several thousand dollars, simply because they come standard in most homes. It makes sense to avoid buying the most expensive versions before you sell, unless you have to.
Replacing appliances is a costly endeavor to do right before selling. With these tips, you can decide which of your appliances needs a makeover, and which ones you can keep.