How flower wallpaper could save you thousands of dollars

When searching for a home, often times buyers get smitten with what I like to call “window dressing.”

An outdated property that needs a little cosmetic TLC can be a great purchase.

Buyers tend to focus on the ceramic tiled floor and fresh paint instead of the old roof, single pane windows and ancient siding.  Many times, updates to the interior can be easy and less expensive than spending thousands on what really matters.

Let’s Do Some Quick Math

This is a very rough estiamte of home improvement costs. I’ve taken into consideration an average house, labor and materials.

Cosmetic Fixes

Wallpaper Removal $250
Lawn Cleanup (Weeding, mulch, trimming, mowing) $300
Paint House Trim $700
New Carpet (1 room) $800

Non-Cosmetic Fixes

New Furnace $3000+
New Siding $5000+
New Roof $5000+
New Windows $5000+

Hmm, that house with the old wallpaper, smelly carpet and ugly exterior doesn’t look so bad since it has a new roof, siding, furnace and windows.

But I won’t Live Here Long Enough to Upgrade Those Things

Chances are, you will. Around 50% of buyers will live in their home at least 10 years. Over 25% will live in their homes for at least 20 years.

Here are some averages for how long you can expect some of the big ticket items in your home to last:

  • Furnace: 15 – 20 years
  • Roof: 15 – 30 years
  • Heat Pumps: 16 years
  • Water Heaters: 10 years
  • Air Conditioning Unit: 10-15 Years
  • Aluminum Windows: 15-20 years

So, if your house is 10+ years old with no major updates, you’ll probably have some big expenses in your near future.

So from now on, if you see a property that has been well maintained with old flowery wallpaper.  Try not to focus so much on the wallpaper!