04:25AM | 05/28/04
Member Since: 05/27/04
13 lifetime posts
My wife and I are about to purchase a home. This home is "for sale by owner". It is a very nice home, very well built. According to the inspector, you don't see too many ranches built this well.

There is one problem: The oil boiler is shot. We managed to secure the deal by offering more than the asking price. According to the owners, the boiler is on its last legs, but would not require immediate replacement as the inspector has implied. We obviously would like this replaced and would like the sellers to help out with it, totally or partially. Assuming the rest of the house is in great shape, should we not purchase the home if the sellers decide not to help us out this? My real estate agent (buying agent, who is not taking a % comission on this purchase) says it is not a good reason to back out of the deal. What are some opinions out there about this? My understanding is that a new boiler costs about $3500.




07:32AM | 05/28/04
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Greetings mikvg,

Just some general thoughts here; no specific advice. Maybe some things I'd think about in your shoes.

All real estate purchases are different. There are market considerations (e.g., is it a "buyer's market"?), and loads of other factors including peoples' willingness to negotiate.

I believe that the 3 most important factors in real estate are LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. Is the house in the best neighborhood you can afford? Can you walk around the area safely at night, or is there lots of traffic, noise, etc? If you got the LOCATION, it MIGHT be worth paying some reasonable maintenance. Keep in mind there is no such thing as a "perfect" house. You'll have some expenses with any home.

You mention that you "managed to secure the deal by offering more than the asking price."

I would think that a "shot boiler" might cause one to offer LESS not more--but then there are all those other factors at work.

There is that inspection clause, which should allow you to back out of the deal or ask that repairs be done (as you say, ask the owner to help out). If you say that you want, e.g., $2000 or $3500 or $? cash toward the boiler at closing, the seller can choose to back out of the deal. But with a problem like this, isn't the seller likely to face this same problem on the NEXT sale if yours falls through?

My temptation would be to play hardball if it is a buyer's market. It's an emotional thing to go through, but there are loads of houses out there for sale.

If it's a seller's market, or if the house is in a top neighborhood, you might not be able to ask for as much.

But don't be afraid to negotiate!

Hope this helps, at least with some general ideas.

One question...out of curiosity: Why isn't your agent getting a percentage? A friend?

By the way, I am not a real estate pro; just someone who's been on both sides of a transaction a few times.

And you might consider posting boiler questions (if you need to) in the Heating/AC forum.

Best regards,

-k2 in CO

Moderator, Miscellaneous Forum


05:15AM | 05/30/04
Member Since: 09/16/02
251 lifetime posts
If it's a matter of not being able to afford it right now, maybe you can re-write the purchase agreement and split the cost. Ask them to pay for $1000 and you will pay $2500. Or whatever you see as fair. Then increase the amount you are paying for the house by $2500. It will still have to be appraised for that much, but some appraisers are gracious if they know they're close to the selling price.

Remember, if these people put the boiler in, you are going to get the bottom of the line model. Whereas if you put it in you can get the model you want. And you will be the family using it for the next 20 years.

Good luck,


plumber Tom

06:04PM | 05/30/04
Member Since: 05/10/03
810 lifetime posts
If the house means that much to you, i say go for it. Yes a new boiler is going to be what you want to call a 'lifetime' investment. Some points to ponder: Plumber's charge mark-ups on materials. This means if they get the boiler for $1,000.00 then an additional fee is charged to cover their expenses. I have seen people charge as much as 40% mark-ups. This is not only unscrupulous, it's considered robbery. Choose your plumber wisely. Another thing is oil fired boilers are dirty. Yearly maintenence requires that you disassemble the boilers sheet metal jacket and clean the heat exchanger. This is a huge filthy mess, but is required to ensure the boiler operates efficiently. One more thing, then I'll shut-up. if you considered a oil-to-gas conversion, by all means check gas suppliers in your area. Some utilities offer incentive programs to convert. You will get considerable discounts on the labor and the price of the boiler itself. Do research before you decide. The cost of gas goes up just like oil. Good luck, plumber Tom/Moderator/


08:35PM | 07/11/11
Member Since: 03/24/08
62 lifetime posts
I think you have to try to put emotion aside and look at this as a financial decision. Frankly, I would never offer more than the asking price for a house, particularly in this real estate market.

I would ask to have a heating and cooling company come out and give you an opinion on how long the boiler will last. Most last 25 years or so and there's no reason to replace it until it's run its life. Keep money aside for it and shop around so you know what you'll buy, but don't buy it ahead of when you need it. I would ask the seller to pay for it--the house isn't complete without proper heating.


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