Author Topic: replace boiler and other things before selling house?  (Read 3763 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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replace boiler and other things before selling house?
« on: July 23, 2015, 07:39:14 PM »
So my husband and I are planning on selling our house next summer in hopes of moving closer to work! We have some home renovation projects in mind to spruce up our house, and a few things I may or may not replace.  Our house is a very adorable salt box style house in the country in VT, about 40 minutes outside of Burlington.  We are going to market to the "first time home buyer" with a price around $200,000.   Looking for some feedback:

Boiler: Our boiler is pretty old, maybe 40 years old, and needs replacing.  However, it is still working at the moment.  We need to either a. purchase a $400 heating coil, or b. replace the boiler for $8,000. Will we be able to recoup this money or not?

Kitchen: I am going to paint the bottom cabinets, refurbish the beautiful but beat up butcher block counter tops.  I am thinking about replacing the top cabinets as they are glorified plywood shelving. It should really spruce up the kitchen, seems like a good idea right? I hear the kitchen is what sells the house.

Bathroom: Again, pretty out dated. We're going to at least re-glaze the tub and re-tile the floor. I am also thinking about replacing the vanity/sink, making this the room we renovate the most. 

Windows: At least 1 window will have to go, the kitchen window is also looking pretty bad. The bathroom window is in so-so condition, but passable. Replace this one or let it go?

Carpet: somewhat out of date, but we have to draw the line somewhere. I feel at some point the people who purchase it might want to pick out some of this stuff, new carpet being one of them.

I am thinking because it is a "starter home" we can get away with it not being in 100% pristine condition for a slightly lower price. 


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: replace boiler and other things before selling house?
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2015, 05:49:49 AM »
Most people buy a house based on looks. So your priority should be to improve the visual appeal of the house. A boiler does not fall into the visual appeal category. Just fix the heating coil if you wish to do something about it.

On the other hand, carpet is definitely visual appeal. Old carpet looks grungy and might smell (pets?). You can replace that.

I would suggest fresh paint (neutral colors) in the house, which will also improve appeal.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: replace boiler and other things before selling house?
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2015, 07:51:41 AM »
I am in a VERY similar situation around the same price point, thinking of selling my place next year as well.

I agree with CowboyAndIndian that "Most people buy a house based on looks."

I am doing the same renovations too. last year I put hardwood floors (over the old tile) throughout the house, and renovated the kitchen with new cabinets, and butcher block countertops. The whole looks of the house completely changed!

Now I need to update the bathroom floors, walls, and vanity. My bathroom is small with a tub, and the tub space is tiled. If you DIY yourself, it shouldn't cost a lot. The bathroom is important so the nicer it is the better. I am also thinking of putting some crown moldings in the rooms, because people do notice that, but I don't want to put something that would be out of place  with my price point.

By boiler, do you mean water heater? If it is something really old like 40 years and does cost $8k to replace, that might be brought up during inspection(almost certainly), and the buyers might renegotiate for you to fix it/replace or back out. People usually don't have that kind of cash, the heating coil is the least worry (you'll have cold water and it's cheap at $400) the real problem is, if the water heater blows up/starts leaking it can flood and damage the property, and it has to be replaced.

I  have an old electric water heater too, It works like a champ but I have decided to replace it and reduce potential headaches during negotiations. Also, I reduce my risk of the thing blowing up and flooding my hardwood floors.

For the butcher countertops, I used Waterlox Original. I would sand and prep your countertops, tape off any areas that you don't want to get paint on, and get 5-6 good layers (or more). There are a bunch of videos out there that show the process. I would recommend, 2-3 coats the first day(depending on how it dries, than for the next few days, each day do light sanding (take off any bumps or runoffs) and another coat. It will take a few days, but your countertop will look amazing and water resistant for a long time. You will have to have good ventilation in the kitchen however for those days, and ideally you want to have it dry for another week before it gets any heavy use or you put anything on top of it.

Than again if you do just want to refurbish it before sale, you can just do rubbing oil or another less time consuming alternative.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 07:54:35 AM by Mr.GrowingMustache »


  • Stubble
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Re: replace boiler and other things before selling house?
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2015, 11:00:23 AM »
my $0.02:

Definitely update the bathroom.  I would replace the window in the bathroom, otherwise the old window in the newly updated bathroom will really stand out.

Kitchen cabinets, how does your kitchen compare to the area?  If it's in line with the neighborhood as-is, you could touch up the existing cabinets (paint and new hardware, for example) instead of replacing them... If your kitchen is below-average for your area, a light upgrade could be justified imo.

Carpet, you may want to rent a carpet cleaner, that can make a surprisingly positive impact.  As long as the carpet doesn't scream "no one has maintained this house for 20 years" it's probably ok.  If a buyer is concerned about the carpet, you could always negotiate a seller concession (possibly matched with a higher sales price) that gives the buyer enough $ to get the flooring they want.

Boiler, ask a local realtor or prospective home-buyer, but especially in an area with cold winters and since you are targeting first-time buyers I would consider replacing the boiler now*.  I can't promise that it will get you much more in a selling price, but in upstate NY a new boiler or furnace definitely reduces time on the market and make first-time buyers calmer.  When we lived in CT, the attitudes were a bit different and a well-priced starter home in a desirable neighborhood wouldn't fix anything unless it was a needed repair to allow the house to be financed.  So ymmv, check locally :) 

IF you aren't going to start looking for a new place until after you sell this house, and IF houses in your area frequently sell with heating systems that are beyond their expected useful life, then you could probably get away without replacing the boiler.  Warning: houses seem to be able to tell when you are going to move.  Our dishwasher failed a week after we put our last primary residence on the market.  My in-law's furnace failed a month before the end of heating season and just a few weeks before they listed their home of 25 yrs.

*now: in summer - call around, some heating companies offer good deals for summer replacements.  However, there may be a slight lag to starting the job if the boiler you need isn't in stock locally (vs. winter, when most suppliers have plenty of inventory).  And if a company does a lot of air conditioning work, they aren't likely to offer summer discounts or be able to start a heating job any time soon.

Best wishes for the process!


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: replace boiler and other things before selling house?
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2015, 12:34:15 PM »
Fellow Vermonter here.

I wouldn't be psyched to buy a house with such an old boiler, but I don't think I'm the usual home-buyer that you're targetting anyway.

Let me know if you do decide to get rid of your cabinets - they would probably be an upgrade for me!