The following is a guest post from Jarrod Frenzel of The North Star Group. Jarrod specializes in homes for sale in The Woodlands, TX.
When most people think of updating a home, their first thoughts are cosmetic items. Big cosmetic updates like a kitchen facelift can really add value to the home, but I would like to point out some of the other important and costly updates that unexperienced buyers might forget about. Here are the three most important updates for an older home that homeowners should save for and plan for.
The roof should probably be at the top of this list. The roof is like the hat on a home, and should be changed immediately when it approaches the end of its life. Most roofs in the Houston area consist of composition shingles, with different expected life ratings. The hot Houston weather combined with the amount of yearly rainfall will make these roofs deteriorate faster than other areas of the country. For example, a 30 year rated shingle may only last 20-25 years before it needs to be changed. And this type of home improvement can cost many thousands of dollars, so it’s very important to plan and save for this.
Second on our list is the HVAC system (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). This consists of many parts that can be changed out all at once or over time. The HVAC system for most homes in the Houston area includes: condensing unit, evaporator coil, furnace, air handler and blower, and all the ductwork. Depending on how large the home is and how many different zones it has, there could be multiples of these components. The expectancy for some of these components can be between 10-20 years, and can cost many thousands of dollars when they need replacing.
Last but not least is a home’s exterior siding. Most brick homes in the Houston area have quite a bit of wood or cement board siding that should be painted periodically. The rule of thumb is to paint it every 5-8 years, but this depends on a lot of different variables. You should keep an eye on the exterior of your home and watch out for dulling or chipping of the paint. Most of the builders started using cement board siding after 1994-1995; if your home was built before that time then you probably have some type of wood siding. Updating a home’s wood siding to cement board can cost many thousands of dollars, so make sure you keep a fresh coat of paint on it when it needs it to prevent rotting.
These three home updates are not the type of upgrades that will make your friends jealous, but are very important and can cost a lot of money. If you’re thinking of buying an older home, make sure you evaluate these things closely and don’t just get blinded by aesthetics of the home.