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How Your Home's Heating System Can Impact Sale Price

When it's time to sell your home, your home's heating system could impact your final sale price. Some systems make it more expensive to heat your home, and potential buyers could consider this when making an offer. Here's a breakdown of the most common heating types and how they could impact your home's sale.
When it's time to sell your home, your home's heating system could impact your final sale price. Some systems make it more expensive to heat your home, and potential buyers could consider this when making an offer. Here's a breakdown of the most common heating types and how they could impact your home's sale.

Whether you live in a cold climate, where winter temperatures dip below zero, or in a hot and humid climate with summer temperatures above 100 degrees, potential home buyers will look at the cost of heat control in your home when making a buying decision.

If you’re unsure of whether or not your home’s heating system will be viewed as a pro or a con, talk to your real estate agent about the preferences of home buyers in your market. Which of these heating systems you have installed will be a factor in your home’s eventual sale price.

Gravity Air

These systems, which you might know by their nickname of “octopus,” will last forever. They have few moving parts to break down so they rarely need servicing. You’ll find them in older houses.

Downsides to these systems are that it can take a while to heat up the house, as they operate on simple convection currents. Heat rises to the top floor, then settles down to heat the main floor, which can take a while. In the meantime, your bedrooms could be a sauna but you’ll need a sweater on the main floor.

While cheap to maintain, many homeowners are wary of overall heating costs in home with gravity air. The inefficiency of heat distribution can become expensive. Also, if the system wasn’t installed with ducts for cooling it’s impossible to extremely expensive to add them. If your home is located in an area with hot summers this will make it a harder sell.

Boilers and Radiators

Cast-iron radiators with fins sit in a room’s corner and distribute heat through steam or water. These are efficient, but can take a while to warm up. Also, the units can grow quite hot to the touch and can be dangerous around small children.

Commonly found in older homes, they can be converted to baseboard heating but don’t allow you to convert to air conditioning. Plus, the walls in older homes are thinner than newer homes and there often isn’t even an option to install ducts for A/C. Home buyers in areas with hot summers definitely view this as a negative.

Hot Water Baseboard Heating

Am evolution of radiators, hot water baseboard heating moved the heat distribution to a baseboard along your wall instead of an upright unit. They distribute heat efficiently through fins in the unit and are quiet.

Temperatures can be precisely controlled in each room, but there’s no way to add air conditioning to them. Units have to be kept clear of drapes or furniture, which can make certain areas of a room unusable.

Forced Air Heating and Cooling

Found in newer homes, forced air is an efficient heating method. A furnace hooked up to a powered blower moves either hot or cold air through ducts in your house. This blower can be noisy, which is a downside.

Because ducts travel to different rooms in the house the temperature adjusts quickly, and it’s easier to control the temperatures in different rooms. While you can install allergy filters and humidifiers within this system, if they’re not in place when you buy a home, the system can distribute allergens and the home’s air can become quite dry.

Radiant Heating

Radiant heating transfers heat from warm surfaces to cold. In old-fashioned applications think a pot-bellied stove in a cabin. More modern uses have been tubes installed in mortar under flooring such as ceramic tiles.

This type of heating is efficient and evenly distributes heat, but it warms up slowly. It can be heated by a boiler or, if heating coils are installed, electricity. However, if any issues develop it can be expensive to maintain. To access it, the contractor might have to tear up your floor!

For this reason, it’s not often used throughout a whole home but rather in specific rooms such as a bathroom.

Heat Pump

Heat pump systems have been the latest thing in heating and cooling for a few years now, and luckily have gone down quite a bit in price. These units extract heat from one source – such as outdoor air or the earth – and deposit it in another. They’re highly energy efficient and quieter than the blowers in forced air systems.

For a mini-ductless or ductless system you’ll need a unit in each room, and have to deal with unsightly rectangular boxes on your walls. If you’re using this system to add air conditioning to a home with radiators where installing ducts isn’t an option there may be large tubes covered with black insulation running across the top of your walls.

They’re just plain unattractive in some circumstances, and if you’re thinking about adding them to a home without air conditioning to increase its resale value you should take this into account when making your decision.

In some parts of the country, heating bills can be above $400 a month, and home buyers will add this to their estimate of total housing costs if they purchase your home. If you’re lucky to live in a place with a mild climate this won’t be as much as a factor.

If you’re concerned that the type of heating system in your home could impact your home’s overall value or how quickly it will sell, talk to your real estate agent.

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Jamie Ayers

Jamie is the Director of Content at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents and helps you save thousands on commission. In the past, Jamie has managed columns for clients in a variety of leading business publications, including Forbes, Inc., CEO World, Entrepreneur, and more. At Clever, Jamie's primary goal is to provide home sellers, buyers, and investors with the information they need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

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