No Home Is Perfect

No home is perfect

In Search of the Right Home for You

The inspectors of James Dobney Inspections have conducted over 55,000 home inspections and we haven’t found a perfect house yet.

Since perfection is not an option, what should you expect?

The 1% Rule

When you consider the life cycle of every component of a house, a reasonable annual
estimate of the 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 average 1% per year. It’s incredible but this rule is not far off even for very expensive and very inexpensive houses.

Normal Maintenance

If you strip away the cosmetics, a house is made up of the structure, roof, exterior envelope and the “systems” of the house. The “systems” are things like heating, plumbing, electrical and cooling.

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”.

What’s the Message Here?

A homebuyer should arrive at the home inspection with realistic expectations. If you are buying a 12-15 year old home, let’s face it, you may need a new roof covering. If you are buying a 60 year old home, you may have to update some plumbing. Don’t let this scare you away from a perfectly good home.

How Long Does it Last?

Below is a short list of typical life cycles of the most common components of the home. Please keep in mind that there will be exceptions in every category.

ROOF HEATING
conventional asphalt shingles 12 – 15 yrs conventional furnace 20 – 25 yrs
top quality asphalt shingles 25 – 30 yrs mid efficiency furnace 20 – 25 yrs
low slope shingles 10 – 15 yrs high efficiency furnace unknown, < 20 yrs
slate 40 – 200 yrs cast iron boiler 35 – 50 yrs
tar & gravel roof (built up roof) 15 – 20 yrs steel boiler 20 – 30 yrs
single ply roof membrane 15 – 20 yrs copper tube boiler 10 – 20 yrs
roll roofing 5 – 10 yrs humidifier 5 – 10 yrs
roll roofing 5 – 10 yrs electronic air filter 10 – 20 yrs
EXTERIOR COOLING
gutters & downspouts 20 – 30 yrs air conditioning condenser 10 – 15 yrs
copper gutters & downspouts 50 – 100 yrs
aluminum siding 50 plus yrs PLUMBING
wood siding maintenance dependent
stucco maintenance dependent galvanized steel supply pipe 40 – 50 yrs
exterior paint 4 – 6 yrs copper pipe indefinite
deck 10 – 20 yrs toilet 30 – 40 yrs
asphalt driveway surface 10 – 20 yrs sink 12 – 20 yrs
driveway sealer 1 – 3 yrs faucet 10 – 15 yrs
concrete driveway 30 – 40 yrs whirlpool bath 15 – 25 yrs
garage door opener 8 – 12 yrs shower pan unpredictable
submersible pump for well 10 – 15 yrs
INTERIOR suction or jet pump 10 – 15 yrs
paint 5 – 10 yrs water softener 5 – 15 yrs
windows maintenance dependent sump pump 2 – 7 yrs
water heater 8 – 12 yrs
tile bathtub enclosure 10 – 50 yrs