The Perfect House

THE 1% RULE

When you consider the life cycle of every component of a house, a reasonable annual estimate of the cost of normal maintenance is 1% of the value of the house. One year you may replace the furnace; a few years down the road you may re-surface the roof. Throw in the odd unexpected repair in between and you average 1% per year. It’s incredible but this rule is not far off, both for very expensive and very inexpensive houses.
NORMAL MAINTENANCE

If you strip away the cosmetics, a house is made up of the structure, roof, exterior envelope and the “systems” of the house. The “systems” are things like heating, plumbing, electrical and cooling.

All components and systems eventually wear out. Fortunately, they don’t all wear out at the same time. Different components have different life cycles. Houses tend to settle into what you might call a “normal maintenance pattern”.
WHAT’S THE MESSAGE HERE?

A homebuyer should arrive at the home inspection with realistic expectations. If you are buying a 12-15 year old home, let’s face it, you may need a new roof covering. If you are buying a 60 year old home, you may have to update some plumbing. Don’t let this scare you away from a perfectly good home.
HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?

Here is a short list of typical life cycles of the most common components of the home. Please keep in mind that there will be exceptions in every category.
ROOF
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Conventional asphalt shingles ....................................................
Top quality asphalt shingles .........................................................
Low slope shingles .........................................................................
Slate....................................................................................................
Tar & gravel roof (built-up roof)......................................................
Single ply roof membrane .............................................................
Roll roofing........................................................................................ 12 - 15 years
25 - 30 years
10 - 15 years
40 - 200 years
15 - 20 years
15 - 20 years
5 - 10 years
EXTERIOR
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Gutters & downspouts ...................................................................
Copper gutters and downspouts ................................................
Aluminum siding ............................................................................
Wood siding.....................................................................................
Stucco................................................................................................
Exterior paint ....................................................................................
Deck...................................................................................................
Asphalt driveway surface................................................................
Driveway sealer ...................................................................................
Concrete driveway................................................................................
Garage door opener............................................................................. 20 - 30 years
50 - 100 years
50 plus years
maintenance dependent
maintenance dependent
4 - 6 years
10 - 20 years
10 - 20 years
1 - 3 years
30 - 40 years
8 - 12 years
STRUCTURE
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Termite treatment ................................................................................ 10 - 20 years
HEAT
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Conventional furnace ...........................................................................
Mid efficiency furnace .........................................................................
High efficiency furnace .........................................................................
Cast iron boiler .....................................................................................
Steel boiler ............................................................................................
Copper tube boiler ................................................................................
Humidifier ..............................................................................................
Electronic air filter ................................................................................. 20 - 25 years
20 - 25 years
unknown, suspect < 20 years
35 - 50 years
20 - 30 years
10 - 20 years
5 - 10 years
10 - 20 years

COOLING
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Air conditioning condenser ............................................................... 10 - 15 years
PLUMBING
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Galvanized steel supply pipe .....................................................
Copper pipe ..................................................................................
Toilet................................................................................................
Sink ................................................................................................
Faucet.............................................................................................
Whirlpool bath ..............................................................................
Shower pan...................................................................................
Pump for well ...............................................................................
Water softener .............................................................................
Sump pump .................................................................................
Water heater.................................................................................
Tile bathtub enclosure ............................................................... 40 - 50 years
indefinite
30 - 40 years
12 - 20 years
10 - 15 years
15 - 25 years
unpredictable
10 - 15 years
5 - 15 years
2 - 7 years
8 - 12 years
10 - 50 years
INTERIOR
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Paint..............................................................................................
Windows ...................................................................................... 5 - 10 years
maintenance dependent

 

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