How Long Should Stuff Last?

Has your air conditioner ever failed on a hot summer day? It’s a struggle no homeowner wants to deal with. When you own a home it’s important to budget annually for repairs that might be needed and anticipate when things might need to be replaced. If you take care of your home, your appliances and fixtures should last longer. This means keeping them clean, performing regular maintenance and preventing unnecessary wear. Even the most well-kept homes will need repairs at some point and it helps to know how long you should expect your items to last. We’ve put together a list of how long certain household fixtures and appliances should hold up.

Exterior:

Fixtures outside your home can suffer the most wear and tear of anything you own because they are constantly exposed to the elements. However, they are usually some of the most sturdy and are typically built to last. These are the items you will likely have to pay more for but luckily not as often. 

  • Window Unit Air Conditioner: 10 Years

The typical window unit air conditioner can last anywhere from 8–12 years depending on how much it’s used and how well it’s taken care of. Be sure to turn the unit off when it’s not needed and clean the air filter often.

  • Garage Door: 12 Years

You can expect 10–15 years of reliable service from a garage door depending on how often it’s used. To prolong its life, apply lubricant spray to door springs every three to six months.

  • Siding: 30 Years

Siding can last anywhere from 20–40 years depending on the material used, weather conditions in your area and how well it’s taken care of. For instance, aluminum siding will last 15 years but needs to be repainted when it fades every five or so years. Wood siding that is painted or stained every five years should last decades. But vinyl siding is a popular choice because it can last up to 40 years and is virtually maintenance free! No matter what material you use to keep your siding clean to prevent dirt and mildew that can shorten its lifespan.

  • Roofing: 25 Years

Most homeowners will need to re-roof their house every 20–30 years, although the type of shingles you use will impact this number. A metal roof can last even longer, up to 50 years, although it’s more expensive upfront and therefore less common. To get the longest life out of your roof ensure you check it after inclement weather and be sure to repair it quickly to avoid more damage.

  • Deck: 35 Years :

Depending on the type of wood, your deck can last anywhere from 20–50 years. However, the average deck lasts around 35 years. Seal your deck and keep up with minor repairs to keep it strong and sturdy for many years.

Interior:

Maintaining the interior of your home can keep it looking stylish and new. Even the most diligent cleaners will at some point have to replace worn out fixtures. Doing so proactively can help you avoid an emergency situation. 

  • Carpet: 10 Years

Carpet in your home typically has a 5– 15-year lifespan. It will eventually begin to wear out (in the most traveled areas) and it will need to be evaluated. If you notice it’s starting to look dirty, matted or has a foul odor, it’s time to replace it. It’s a maintenance best practice to steam clean your carpet often (before it becomes visibly dirty).

  • Faucets and Fixtures: 15 Years

Properly cleaned and maintained faucets and fixtures can last anywhere from 10–20 years. However, if they are not properly cleaned they can last less than 10 years. If you want to make them last, clean out hard water residue often.

  • HVAC System: 20 Years

It’s best to replace your system around 15 years which means saving up the money and having a professional in mind to fix it. To get the longest life out of your HVAC change the filters often to avoid overworking your system.

  • Windows and Skylights: 30 Years

Windows and skylights last so long that often people forget they need to be replaced at all. Good windows will last most people from 25–35 years or more, but you will know it’s time to change them when they start looking warn, begin to suffer damage or are not insulating your home properly. Be sure to clean window tracks twice yearly to prevent buildup and prolong their life.

  • Countertops: 15-100+ Years

It’s smart to invest in stone countertops such as granite or quartz because they last so much longer than laminate or cement countertops. Laminate countertops will last anywhere from 10-12 years, while a well-maintained stone countertop can last over 100 years! Keep your investments safe by avoiding contact with hot surfaces or cutting directly on them. Reseal your stone countertops often and they can last a lifetime.

Appliances:

The appliances in your home are some of the easiest things to fix and some of the more inexpensive to replace. While some people replace appliances as newer technology emerges, it’s most cost-effective to use them for the duration of their lifespan. 

  • Microwave: 9 Years

A microwave can last a long time if properly cared for. Usually, they last anywhere from 5–15 years and sometimes even longer depending on usage. When using your microwave, clean it often and avoid slamming the door. Never run your microwave without something inside, as it can cause serious damage.

  • Dishwasher: 10 Years

Depending on the make and model, a dishwasher can last anywhere from 7–12 years. If you start to notice your dishwasher isn’t washing well, give it a good cleaning before giving up on it. To properly clean it, unscrew the drain and clean the filter monthly to prevent clogging. Once the filter is clean, empty the dishwasher completely (racks and all) and running it with a cup of distilled white vinegar inside it.

  • Washing Machine: 12

The average washing machine lasts between 10–15 years depending on the brand and how well it’s maintained. To stretch its usable years further, check your washing machines water hoses for signs of wear or weakness a few times each year.

  • Dryer: 12 Years

Similar to your washing machine, your dryer should last anywhere from 10–15 years. If you buy them together, they likely will be ready to replace around the same time. If you notice it’s making strange noises or emitting strange smells, it might be nearing the end of its life. A good maintenance best practice is to clean your lint trap before every drying session.

  • Oven: 14 Years

Ovens these days will last anywhere from 10–20 years. Don’t wait until you start ruining meals to replace your oven. To ensure it’s running properly, inspect coil burners for deformities and replace any damaged ones.

Miscellaneous:

There are other household items that may not necessarily be fixtures or appliances but are important and should be maintained nonetheless. Things like your mattress and sprinkler system are more obvious because you use them often. However, smaller things like smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and electrical wiring can cause damage if not properly maintained, so it’s important to keep your eye on them. 

  • Mattress: 8 Years

Your mattress is typically used more than most other things in your house and can collect dirt, dust and grime. It’s important to get a new mattress if yours starts to look or smell dirty, or if it’s losing its firmness. Most people get a new mattress every 7–10 years which is a good rule to follow. Make your mattress last longer by rotating it 180 degrees from head to foot every two to six months.

  • Smoke alarms: 9 Years

Three out of five home-related fire deaths occur in a house that has malfunctioning smoke detectors. It’s important to not only replace batteries every year but to replace the detectors and alarms every 8–10 years.

  • Fire extinguisher: 10 Years

It can be tough to tell how old your fire extinguisher is if you didn’t buy it yourself as some don’t have expiration or purchase dates on them. A good way to tell if it’s working properly is to check its pressure gauge monthly to ensure the needle is in the green area of the pressure scale. If it’s damaged, has low pressure or you think it might be older than 10 years, it’s probably best to replace it.

  • Sprinkler System: 20 Years

If you’re lucky enough to have a good quality sprinkler system it can last you anywhere from 10–30 years! Take good care of it to ensure you’re on the high end of that scale. Get your backflow checked annually and drain the system of water during the winter if you’re in an area that freezes.

  • Electrical Wiring: 100+ Years

Old wiring can cause serious safety issues for you and your family. The good news is that wiring systems can last a lifetime if properly maintained. Buy an electric socket tester and routinely test your electrical outlets’ voltage. If you start to notice low voltage, get a tingling sensation when you touch the walls, smell burning anywhere in your home or have ungrounded outlets around your house it might be time to replace it.

In general, as long as you properly maintain your appliances, fixtures and household items you should get fairly long lives out of most of them. If you also save the recommended 1% of your home’s value every year for repairs you won’t be blindsided when a costly repair does need your attention. Use this list to anticipate your product’s lifespans and enjoy stress-free home repairs. 

A home warranty won’t cover everything if it breaks down, but it will cover a great deal if you keep it up. I highly recommend them. Drop me a line if you need to find a good one. I can help.

Relocating to the Big City

Portland Oregon South Waterfront

Moving from a small town or suburb to a large city can be an intimidating proposition. Here are a few tips to help make your move as painless as possible.

Research before you move. It’s important to understand the culture you’re joining. Do research online and find out about school systems, neighborhoods, parking, weather, public transportation, and laws that are native to that area. If you can, visit a city before moving and connect with someone who’s lived there before.

Have a plan. There are a lot of steps to go through before you start packing the moving truck. Find housing before you leave, or at least know where you’ll stay while you look for a home. Never sign a lease on an apartment that you haven’t seen. If you can’t get there, find a friend or an employer to check for you. Have a job waiting for you, or if that’s not possible, know what you’ll do for money in the first few weeks of living there. Try to line up things like driver’s licenses, car insurance, renter’s insurance, and parking passes ahead of time as well.

Get involved. Meeting people in a big city can be daunting. Don’t expect the neighbors to knock your door down with a casserole when you arrive: city life is often too noisy and hectic. Take the initiative. If there are things you liked to do in your town, find ways to do those things in the city. Try new things. Volunteer. Big cities offer so many opportunities to engage other people, so find what you like.

Mind your wallet. City life is expensive. Everything costs more: food, insurance, clothes, rent. There are also a lot more ways to get ripped off, whether legally or criminally. Be careful how you spend, and know where your money is going.

Did Your House Shrink

Have you outgrown your home? Or has your home outgrown you and your household? Fewer and fewer families expect to stay in their first or second home for the long haul. Here are some factors to determine if you’re financially and emotionally ready to sell your house:

  1. Growing or shrinking household — Are you about to welcome a new baby or take in aging parents? Maybe you’re sending your youngest off to college. In any event, if your living space has become too cramped or grown beyond your needs, it may be time to make a move.
  2. Plenty of home equity — Subtract the value of your home from the amount you have left on your loan. What’s left over is the equity — or the amount you’ll have post-sale. After you sell your home, you’ll be a buyer again, so having some funds to put down is key.
  3. Interest from potential buyers — You’ll want to list when you know buyers are looking. Some experts say late spring is the ideal time to sell, but peak seasons vary by region. Milder weather can increase buyer interest, but that also means more competition from other sellers.
  4. Changing circumstances — Location matters. Whether your neighborhood dynamics are changing, you’re unhappy with the schools in your area or a new job significantly increases your commute, your community needs to fit your lifestyle.
  5. Home improvements — Renovations may be a wise investment, but it’s best to avoid listing your home in the middle of a project. If you plan to sell your home as is, completing some minor home updates such as new paint and fixtures can be a huge selling point.

Moving is a big decision, one that requires careful consideration. If your needs have changed since you bought your home, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Wacky Willamette Valley Detours

What is it that makes the Willamette Valley so … eccentric?

[…] Whatever the reason, here you’re encouraged to do what you like, to follow your bliss, to blaze your own trail.

Oregon has long produced and attracted dreamers and drifters, misfits and mysteries, so it’s no wonder that the Willamette Valley claims more than its fair share of the freaky and the far out.

Starting in the south, near the Willamette River’s origins outside Eugene and extending north toward Portland, here’s your checklist of must-see monuments to the mysterious. Read More

Nearly 75% of First Time Buyers Purchased Home With Less Than 20% Down Payment​

Most first time buyers believe that in order to purchase their first home, they need to come up with a sizeable down payment—typically 20%.

But the truth is, you can buy a home for a lot less and, in fact, most first time buyers are.

According to the most recent REALTORS® Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors®, a whopping 72% of first time buyers purchased their home with a down payment of less than 20%.

So what’s changed? While 20% used to be the standard in order to secure a loan, options like FHA loans are more lenient with their requirements. As long as a first time buyer has the financial stability to support their mortgage payments in the long term, they can get approved—even if they aren’t able to save a substantial amount for their down payment.

The Takeaway

If you’re thinking about purchasing a home but have been putting it off to save a substantial down payment, there’s no reason to wait. With the flexible loan options on the market, you can secure a loan with a far smaller down payment than you’d imagine—and make your dream of owning a home a reality.

Ants, Remodels, and… Instagram?

Remodeling Impact: Outdoor Features
You know your yard has some super curb appeal potential, but where to begin? Check out the Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features from the National Association of REALTORS®. It’s got some interesting data on how landscaping affects home value, especially those with tons of curb appeal. They beat out most indoor projects when it comes to adding value to your home!

Who says Instagram is all about filters and trendy decor? We collected some fab home projects posted by Instagrammers that do more than just lure likes: More efficient bathrooms. IKEA storage hacks. Kitchens that function better. And (of course) they look #sogood, too. Houselogic.com

How to Get Rid of Ants
Follow these natural remedies for ants. Trap foragers in a sticky, nearly empty honey jar. Sprinkle ant pathways in dry areas with diatomaceous earth, or put boric acid in crevices. Track odorous ants back to the nest—armed with a vacuum cleaner—then wipe down trails with soapy water to throw them off their scent. Bait can turn foragers into poison mules but can also increase traffic. Now do a deep clean (is that a Twix behind the sofa?). Carpenters are tricky. My favorite solution is TERRO ant bait. It’s amazing! If you’ve got these chompers, or any ant that won’t take a hint, call a pro. ThisOldHouse.com

Yet Another Blog

Well, we’re going to give thing thing another try and I hope against all hope that it actually works! Previous blogs have been thrashed, trashed, and generally ouchified. This one will work, though, darn it!

I am constantly reminded that if I have my systems properly set, such problems never happen. I am now redoing all of my systems! Blogging, marketing, even presentations are all getting the 2020 overhaul (stop laughing!) I have determined that I am disorganized and thus have hired a lovely lady (say hi, Cheryl!) to assist me solve my work vs. time issues. It’s true. I have an assistant. It’s a lovely, lovely thing to be able to just ask her to figure it out and explain it to me in small words while I dash to the next appointment. She’s magical! It just happens! I am so keeping her in a pumpkin shell.

I am so happy to end this quarter and begin the next with a good outlook because everything is running as it should. It gives me the time to do what I love best – and I’m best at- serving my clients! Did you hear that, world? I have time! It’s amazing!

If this post works – and cross your fingers – I am going to ask Cheryl to slam in a bunch of my old blog posts so they aren’t lost forever. Of course, she did that with the one I kinda, sorta accidentally killed. Erk. Sorry!

Best,
Christy