Appliances included in sale, Fixing up Dad’s old house


Dear David,

Why are appliances, unless they’re built in, being included in so many purchases? ‎Who wants someone else’s old stuff?  – CURIOUS

DEAR CURIOUS: As the saying goes, one person’s junk is someone else’s treasure. Nothing is written in stone of course, but over the past few years, the pattern in our Region has been “trending” along these lines:

When a first-time homebuyer moves into their house, they’ve had to save for the minimum down payment already and often may not have money left to purchase new appliances. If the appliances that are already in the house look good, they’ll often ask for them to be included in the sale. On rare occasions, existing appliances may have sentimental value to the seller and will be excluded from the sale, but more often than not, they stay with the house – especially if they are basic models.

When that first-time buyer moves up to their second home, they’ll often ask for appliances to be included. A higher-calibre home may well have nicer appliances, so it often turns into a domino effect as a buyer moves from one property to the next.

We do see it go both ways, but when a buyer moves up to their million-dollar dream home, they’ll expect there to be beautiful appliances in place. When there are, it takes another chore off the buyer’s list of things to do. The top-end seller is often happy to part with their appliances: they are most often downsizing, and won’t have room for that “sub-zero” fridge in their new 1500 square foot condo on the golf course.


 Dear David,

My Dad just passed away. He lived in the same house for 30 years. My siblings and I think we should fix up the house before we sell it, like a flip. What do you think? – WEIGHING IN

DEAR WEIGHING: I’m sorry about your Dad. This is a lot to wrap your head around when your family is grieving. Families often wonder if there is extra money to be made from the sale of a loved one’s outdated home. For a house that hasn’t seen cosmetic updates in the last few decades, large renos rarely work out well. Along with the time and work involved, there are significant carrying costs and decision-making can be tough when emotions are already running high.

Renovating tends to be an all-or-nothing proposition: if you fix one room, you have to do the whole house or the untouched parts will be that much more obvious. I recommend focusing on critical repairs such as a roof leaks, dripping taps or filthy carpets, and working to get the home sparkling clean. If there are obvious items that could offer dramatic impact with minimal cost (such as painting or unveiling hardwood hidden under carpet) go ahead with those.

While the Greatest Generation may not typically have put a lot of stock in updated kitchens and baths, they were excellent at maintaining fundamentals. There’s a good chance the roof, windows, furnace and A/C are in solid shape. Focus on those elements, make the house shine, and you’ll be ready make your Dad proud.