Should I Replace Furnace Before Selling House? 1 BIG Warning

Last year, homes were selling so quickly that sales reached a rate not seen since the late 1990s. According to the National Association of Realtors, the average home listing found a buyer in as little as a week. Sellers were getting the full asking price or more.

Home sales are still going strong in 2022, meaning it's a great time to sell your home. One question home sellers often ask is, "Should I replace furnace before selling house?"

For most, no. We're here to tell you that there are some crucial factors you need to consider before you invest in a new furnace, and it isn't usually necessary. You could end up losing money rather than making a profit.

Here's what you need to know about furnace replacement prior to selling a home, including some disadvantages of replacing the furnace before listing the house for sale.

should i replace furnace before selling house

Should I Replace to Attract Buyers?

When selling a home, you need to pick the projects you complete carefully. You may not always get a good return on your investment, and some repairs may not even be necessary.

Real estate agents recommend that you never skip doing a deep clean and giving your home a fresh coat of paint unless you've recently painted. Some home improvements bring in more buyers, while others won't.

So what about furnace replacement?

In general, it's not necessary to replace the furnace before selling a house. Many buyers will prefer that you don't if they're well informed by their real estate agent. It makes financial sense for the new home owner to replace the gas furnace and air conditioner.

Along with their own personal preferences for brand and contractor, they'll get the most benefit from the upgraded energy efficiency and pick the smart technology that they will enjoy.

There are even some disadvantages to replacing the HVAC unit. For instance, some warranties aren't transferred to the new owner.

Ask yourself the following questions before replacing an old furnace.

Is Your Furnace in Good Shape?

If your furnace is relatively new or in good shape and you've had it routine maintenance, it should still be in good working order.

Furnaces should last around 15-25 years when they're well maintained. Keeping your furnace clean, investing in a maintenance plan, and having repairs performed when necessary keep your HVAC system in top shape and running efficiently.

If you're worried about safety, you should know old furnaces are no more dangerous than new ones as long as they've been properly inspected and maintained by a good heating and air conditioning company.

Is Your Furnace Working Correctly?

There are a few warning signs that your aging HVAC system may need service or a repair. Usually, you'll notice smells, noises, or other indicators something isn't working quite right. Examples of a failing furnace include:

  • Unusual noises (popping, banging, or squealing)
  • Trouble starting
  • Health issues (headaches, eye irritation, or symptoms of carbon monoxide gas)
  • A sky-high energy bill
  • Rooms are unevenly cooled (too hot or too cold)

What's the Condition of Your HVAC System?

Many homebuyers look for properties that are move-in ready or at least require minimal projects. If the rest of your home is in good condition and the only issue is an older furnace, it's more likely prospective buyers won't feel as nervous about putting in an offer.

If a buyer is concerned with the age or condition of the HVAC system, another option is for the buyer to purchase a home warranty. A home warranty cost is around $500 - $800 and covers most mechanical systems for twelve months.

If you have had your HVAC system properly maintained provide the records to the buyer to give them peace of mind.

What's the Furnace Replacement Price and Is It Worth It?

Replacing a furnace isn't cheap, and you may not want to sink more money into a property you're selling. The cost of a furnace varies somewhat depending on efficiency, the installing contractor, and the features, like two stage heating, you choose.

At the very least, you can expect to shell out a few thousand dollars for a new energy efficient furnace. The replacement cost of some furnaces can be upwards of $6,000, so it's definitely not a small investment.

In addition, most furnace only replacements do not tend to be recommended. An entire new HVAC system is most common. With air conditioning a part of the consideration it can double the cost of replacement.

It's not worth replacing the furnace unless it's a difficult selling market or if it would add more to your sale price.

You should also consider how much longer you plan to stay in the house. If you don't plan to sell for another year or two, you might want to replace the furnace to enjoy some of the savings on energy bills and benefits yourself. However, if you're selling soon, there isn't much of a point.

Of course, even if your furnace doesn't work as efficiently as it once used to, it may not be necessary to replace it. Let's go over some important reasons you might want to hold off on buying a new system next.

It's a Seller's Market

The current situation is a seller's market, as an inventory shortage means fewer options for interested buyers. That means you'll likely have a lot of interest in your listing. You may not need to make major changes, such as replacing the furnace, because the demand is so high.

In some areas, the real estate market is so strong, even the whole house inspection is skipped.

Typically, homeowners replace the furnace to make their home look more appealing to potential buyers. And while this can definitely work, if there's already a high level of interest to purchase real estate, it may not be needed. If your furnace is in proper working order, even if it's older, it's likely you'll be able to sell your home.

The Warranty Doesn't Automatically Transfer

Here's something homeowners may not know-not all HVAC warranties are transferable, and even if they are, the warranty doesn't automatically transfer to the new owner.

There are some other factors to consider as well.

For one, is the warranty transferrable in the first place? If not, the new homeowner won't receive as many benefits, and they would be better off upgrading the furnace after moving in.

Most manufacturers won't transfer an extended warranty to a new buyer. The new homeowner will likely get the basic warranty.

There might be a transfer fee and paperwork involved if you do transfer the warranty. Some manufacturers also have a limited timeframe that you can transfer the warranty after buying a new home.

Make sure you know all about your warranty and think twice about buying a new energy efficient furnace.

Save Your Money and Hold Off

A new HVAC system is a major investment.

In general, we don't recommend you get a furnace replacement unless your furnace needs serious repairs, it's a difficult selling market, or if it would make the house substantially more attractive to a potential buyer.

Save your money and only focus on projects that offer a high return on investment.

However, if you do need to buy a new system, make sure to read our post on the biggest mistakes to avoid.

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ABOUT Robert Bradford

I'm Robert Bradford. I've been in the heating and air conditioning industry for 30 years. Over 40 if you count the years I helped my father as a kid. On this site, I share everything I've learned about finding the best HVAC contractors and equipment for your home. I'm happy to say that over the last few years, The Comfort Academy has grown into a trusted site with thousands of informed site visitors each year.
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