Should You Sell, Throw Out or Fix the Expensive Stuff?


Owning big-ticket items like a house and car is a decision not to be taken lightly, mainly because the responsibility of ownership doesn’t end with that initial purchase.

When we buy something expensive, we expect it to last for a long time and are not necessarily thinking about future costs associated with repair, replacement and maintenance. When something does go wrong, it always seems to happen at the most inopportune time.

The life expectancy of many household appliances is at least 10 years if taken care of properly. Meanwhile, items such as the home’s interior windows should last 20 years or more. Even a car can last 20 years; however, the average age of all cars on the road is 11 years.

It may be difficult to know exactly when to ditch or sell your old appliances, cars and windows. You may want to consider fixing them before getting rid of them. Selling your old appliances can also be a great way to make some extra cash on the side.

Let’s look at how to know whether to sell, toss, or fix some of life’s more expensive necessities and highlight ways to make the selling, fixing and throwing out processes easier.


Maintain & Clean Appliances

To make sure you’re getting the most mileage you can out of your appliances, you should schedule regular maintenance checks and cleanings. A dryer is supposed to last a decade or more, but if you aren’t cleaning out the areas that trap lint such as the motor, belt, drum and vent pipe, it may die before its time. Washers and dryers also become unbalanced over time, which can cause the components to fail and be costly to repair. If your washer is rattling and rocking back and forth during a load of laundry, it’s probably unbalanced.

Your first solution should be to fix the problem rather than buy a brand new appliance, especially if it fails before its intended lifecycle is up. Regular maintenance of any appliance can help extend the life of it, but sometimes it may make more financial sense to replace an old appliance rather than repair it. If you aren’t sure about the condition of your appliance, you could always ask a repair technician for advice.   

Be sure to research the lifespans of your appliances and systems and consider purchasing a home warranty plan in case something major breaks down.


Sell Your Old Appliances

If you’ve taken good care of your older appliances and simply want to upgrade to newer appliances, you can probably earn money to put toward a new purchase by selling your current appliances if they are in good condition. This is why it pays to properly maintain appliances like your refrigerator, stove, and washer and dryer.

Selling your items online through Craigslist may be your best bet as that’s where bargain hunters are looking to buy large appliances and furniture for themselves or to sell for a higher price. Unless you have a truck or trailer, you’ll have to specify that you want the buyer to pick it up.

If you simply want appliances gone, you may consider hiring a dump truck service if you have heavy loads and want someone else to haul the junk away. But if you really want to make a little extra money, you’ll have to get creative. In addition to Craigslist, you could sell at a garage sale, to a local scrap metal recycling center, or to an appliance reseller.


Replacing the Windows

Like our modern appliances, it’s easy to take our home’s windows for granted. Eventually, windows wear out, become drafty and lose their luster. Even if window replacement is not at the top of your priority list, keep in mind that replacing them will help increase the value of your home, make it look nicer, and improve energy efficiency. Other benefits of replacing your windows include better security, more comfort and lower heating and cooling bills.

A standard, double-pane vinyl window will cost about $450-$600, including installation. A wood replacement window runs between $800-$1000 each. Depending on how many windows you need replaced and the size, you could spend a pretty penny.

According to HomeAdvisor, the cost of 10 new replacement windows and installation for a single-story home ranges from $3,000 to $7,000. If the window frame needs replaced, cost of replacement increases anywhere from 50-100 percent, which raises the average cost to $5,000-$40,000.


Cars: Sell, Trade, Repair

Other than your home, you probably don’t own anything more expensive than your car. But unlike a home, a car depreciates in value as soon as you buy it.

You may be wondering when is the perfect time to sell, trade in, or repair your used car. A lot of it depends on your current needs and the condition of the car. If the car you have runs perfectly fine and it’s paid for, it wouldn’t make sense to trade it in for a new car unless you have disposable income or want something fancier. If your car is old and beat up, you could still sell it for cash if you know what your “junker” is worth, even if it’s just for parts.

The mileage and age affect the value of the car even if you don’t have repairs to make yet. Cars tend to dip in value after the warranty expires and around the 70,000-mile mark. Around 100,000 miles, the car takes another dip in value and seems to be a symbolic milestone when people either decide to sell it or run it into the ground.

Expensive repairs also need to be taken into consideration. Let’s say you have an old car and the transmission went out but the vehicle is otherwise in good condition. You could either sell the car or rebuild the transmission. If you sell it, you may only receive salvage value for it. If you get the transmission replaced or fixed, you can keep driving it because it’s in good shape otherwise or decide to sell it once it’s fixed.

If your car, home appliances and windows are all perfectly functional and you don’t have the money to buy new things, maybe it makes more sense to pay for repairs until you absolutely need those upgrades in your life.  

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