Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How Much Does Central Air Add to Home Value?

You're thinking of spending thousands of dollars to retrofit your home with central air conditioning. And you're probably wondering, What will this mean when I sell my house? Does central air increase the value? How much? Enough to pay for itself (and maybe make a profit)?

All good questions. But of course, there's no simple answer about how much dollars to add to your home's value -- or what percent increase you will get when you sell your house -- once you install central air.

Rule of thumb used to be you could tack on $5,000 to your home's price by offering a central HVAC system (that's heating, ventilation, air conditioning, in case you didn't know)  when you sell. But that old rule is probably (pardon the almost-pun) out the window these days. A good system can easily top $10,000 to install.

In some areas, and some neighborhoods, central cooling and heating may mean the difference between selling your house and not selling it. If buyers are expecting it -- and you don't have it -- finding a buyer can be a tough sell. Down south, where it gets awfully hot, or way up north, where winters are danged cold, buyers might be expecting central cooling and heating no matter what. Lack of central might reduce your home's price by 10%, according to some knowledgable folks.

So...think of your HVAC as a possible ten percent premium on your home's value. Not a bad bump, especially if you're in a high-priced area of real estate (there are some left, I believe!)

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