Many homes for sale boast claims that the appliances are new, the roof replaced, and kitchens and baths recently "updated." But just how soon can you expect to start repairing and replacing major home components and appliances? A lot depends on how well the sellers (and prior owners) maintained the property, as well as how you've been using the space. Other factors that influence the lifespan of major home systems include the materials used to build them and your climate.
The typical roof, for instance, is designed to last approximately 20 years, according to the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). However, a roof's lifespan is affected by the slope of the roof, the material used to build the roof, and the weather conditions in your area. Maintenance can extend a roof's life five to 10 years. Similarly, a slate roof will last up to 75 years, whereas a roof made of selvage- or asphalt-based materials could show significant signs of wear within 12 years.
Here's a look at how long most major home systems last, based on data from Freddie Mac*, the lender, and data published in Realty Times. These time frames can help you plan when to address different home systems either as part of a home maintenance regime or a planned remodeling project. If you're in the market to buy a home and you have the opportunity to ask a seller or the seller's agent how old the home's different systems are, or if that information is contained in the home's listing information, then you can plan when you'll need to replace these home components - or negotiate on them with the seller.
If you're planning to sell a home soon, consider whether you're willing to fund repairs and replacements beforehand - or if your pre-listing inspector will give an estimate of how long various systems seem like they'll last. Home repairs and replacements can be expensive, so the more information you have as a buyer or seller, the better equipped you'll be to handle the inevitable expenses they create.
Appliances or system Lifespan (years)
Trash compactor 10
Roofs and gutters
Asbestos shingle roof 30-50
Asphalt roof 15-20
Copper gutter/downspout Life of home if well-maintained
Fiberglass roof 15-20
Galvanized gutter/downspout 15-20
Slate roof 40-75
Rolled/asphalt roof 12-20
Wood shake/shingle roof 15-20
Heating and cooling systems
Warm air furnace 8-12
Heat pumps 8-12
Air conditioning compressor 8-15
Gas hot water heater 8-12
Electric hot water 10-15
Bathroom and plumbing
Septic disposal system 15-25
Galvanized water pipes 30-50
Doors to exterior 12-15
Garage door opener 10
*Data provided here are intended as estimates only. The health of home systems varies widely based on ongoing maintenance, the type of home system in use, and climate.