With the spring real estate market in full swing, many potential home buyers are in pursuit of the perfect house. Unfortunately, our experience over the past 35 years and more than 120,000 inspections has shown us that no home is perfect, even if it is brand new.
A lot of the homes we inspect do not have major issues, but it is important to understand that no home is perfect. Since absolute perfection is not an option, when you are potentially purchasing a home what should you expect in terms of regular maintenance and repair costs? The 1% rule.
When you consider the life cycle of every component of a house, a reasonable estimate of the annual 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 should average about 1% per year. This number is fairly accurate for most homes, regardless of their size and expense.
Carson Dunlop has developed a helpful list of the average life expectancies of the major systems in the home. 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”.
Life Cycles of Common Components of the Home*
|Conventional asphalt shingles||12-15 years|
|Premium quality asphalt shingles||25-30 years|
|Tar & gravel roof (built up roof)||15-20 years|
|Modified bitumen roof membrane||15-20 years|
|Roll roofing||5-10 years|
|Gutters & downspouts||20-30 years|
|Aluminum siding||50+ years|
|Wood siding||Maintenance dependent|
|Exterior paint||4-6 years|
|Wood deck||10-20 years|
|Asphalt driveway||10-20 years|
|Driveway sealer||1-3 years|
|Concrete driveway||30-40 years|
|Garage door opener||8-12 years|
|Termite treatment||10-20 years|
|Cast iron boiler||35-50 years|
|Steel boiler||20-30 years|
|Copper tube boiler||10-20 years|
|Electronic air filter||10-20 years|
|Air conditioning compressor||10-15 years|
|Whirlpool bath||15-25 years|
|Submersible pump for well||10-15 years|
|Suction or jet pump||10-15 years|
|Water softener||5-15 years|
|Sump pump||2-7 years|
|Water heater||8-12 years|
|Tile bathtub enclosure||10-50 years|
Interested in learning more about normal maintenance items and the costs associated with replacing or repairing them? Check out our blog on Home Improvement Costs. Carson Dunlop’s Home Reference Book also includes a wealth of information on these subjects as well as other areas related to homeownership, click here to learn more about the value of this text.
*Please keep in mind that there will be exceptions in every category.