Buyer Beware: Furnaces Can Fail

Word Of Advice: Get The Furnace Inspected Before You Close

At coffee last week with a group of fellow property owners, one fellow Mike described an brownstoneearly learning lesson he had after buying a Brownstone in the late 1990’s.

Seems that within a few months of owning the building several furnaces within the complex failed and he had a much quicker than anticipated repair bill that stretched his finances at the time.

The brick and mortar of any building are key elements to check and recheck upfront when investing in real estate for your own occupancy or as an investment.

As important are the mechanicals that heat and cool the property. This includes the furnace or boilers, the hot water heaters and air conditioning systems.

Too often, we assume these machines to continue to work, because they are currently working.  Just as a roof has a 20 to 30 year life expectancy these critical mechanicals have their own.  A standard home furnace may be 20 years, a hot water heater 8-12 etc.

Just where they are on their life cycles can be tricky to determine.

Annual Furnace Inspections are Recommended
Annual Furnace Inspections are Recommended

Home owners in many areas will have a “Truth in Housing” or other inspection required by local ordinance, but that seldom extends to rental housing.

And even for homeowners, the depth of inspections by these generalists may not detect much more that that the furnace is currently working.

A new development is some parts of the country are independent specialist who focus strictly on inspection and certification of furnaces, boilers and other mechanicals.

In our opinion, getting a professional furnace inspection prior to buying an investment property just makes good sense.