published about 6 hours ago
These days, new appliances aren’t just smart — they’re darn near geniuses. Fridges can tell you when your milk is going to expire and 12-cycle washers have special settings, like one specifically for yoga pants.
But that doesn’t mean a standard stainless steel appliance is on its last leg just because it’s not equipped with any flashy features. Most appliances are built to last for many years, and if you’re a prospective homebuyer, knowing the life cycles of these big-ticket items can help you budget for future costs.
“Most buyers are turned off by older appliances, but the reality is they shouldn’t be,” says Samantha Scalzo, a real estate broker licensed in Florida and Connecticut. If the major appliances work and it’s more of an aesthetic concern, know that smaller appliances can be replaced to add a more modernized feel, she says.
If you’re trying to suss out the age of an appliance while house hunting, you can find it by looking up the serial number and using a “date code search” tool, says Jeremy R. Henley, CEO and founder of TheQwikFix, which turns home inspection reports into repair quotes from licensed contractors.
But if you simply want to know which two appliances are known to have the longest life cycles and might still last for years after you move in, these real estate professionals have you covered. Read on to learn which duo can potentially give you more peace of mind.
Among all of the home appliances your kitchen can have, a refrigerator is the one with the longest lifespan, says Ben Fisher, a real estate agent in Park City, Utah. It can last an average of 13 to 14 years, but a well-maintained one can last as long as 17 to 18 years, he says.
Vacuuming the condenser coils and keeping the top of the fridge clear so it can properly dissipate heat can help extend the life of your fridge, according to Consumer Reports.
While there are lots of high-tech refrigerators currently on the market, those extra gadgets and functions don’t necessarily make them better, says Kurt Grosse, a Realtor with Realty One Group in Las Vegas. “I remember a contractor once telling me: ‘A fancy refrigerator and freezer doesn’t keep your drinks any colder or your ice cream any more frozen,” Grosse says. “‘They just have more parts that can break.’”
The second most reliable appliance is a stove. On average, stoves can last 15 or so years, says Grosse, and gas stoves typically last a couple years longer than their electric counterparts. Using the self-cleaning option sparingly and replacing your burners as needed can help extend the life cycle of your stove.
However, since stoves last for such a long time, they can really start showing their age, Grosse says. White appliances, for instance, start to yellow, he says. Most stoves get replaced not because they stop working, but because they look so bad, he says.
One of the main things to consider when evaluating the life cycle of appliances is who lives in the home, points out Henley. His neighbors are retired and spend time at a second home, while his household has six children. “This means a lot more loads of laundry, dishwasher cycles, opening and closing of the refrigerator, along with general wear and tear,” he says.
It’s ok to hold on to your older appliances as long as they still work, and more often than not, your wallet will thank you for it.