In Unit Washer/Dryers?

46 Replies

Hi,

The trend in Silicon Valley, in the pricier buildings, is toward in unit W/Ds. I'm wondering a few things, but mostly has anyone done this and how much more (in %) they were able to get for their units after installing them? 

There is a hassle factor if/when they go on the blink.  Also, there would be one less usable closet for my resident. But aside from that, the real question is: How soon could I potentially make my $$ back? 

Your thoughts appreciated! 

We bought 2 side by side duplexes that had washer, dryers in the utility closet.  We had no idea who these belonged to but assummed the tenants owned them.  One tenant moved out almost immediately and took the w/d with them.

This is a blue collar/immigrant area and we feel allowing the w/d is an important positive feature. The rent is $1,100 for a 2 bedroom.   The downside was water damage on the floor beneath all the w/d units and we had to repair/replace those areas.  So we never bought the w/d but are just responsible for the hook ups and we prefer not to have to buy or service or own the w/d units.  We still feel just the hook ups and space makes our units more diserable and easier to rent.

So that's another option you might want to think about.

We always supply w/d with all of our homes. We purchase a set off craigslist for around $300 and it allows us to get an extra $25/month. The reason that we provide them isn't necessarily the extra money, but it really helps us rent homes out sooner. 

I really feel it's market dependent. However, that being said, I know when I was a renter I didn't even look at units without a washer and dryer.

They add more value than just the financial benefit of the extra $25-$30/month.

Originally posted by @Eva Salas :

Hi,

The trend in Silicon Valley, in the pricier buildings, is toward in unit W/Ds. I'm wondering a few things, but mostly has anyone done this and how much more (in %) they were able to get for their units after installing them? 

There is a hassle factor if/when they go on the blink.  Also, there would be one less usable closet for my resident. But aside from that, the real question is: How soon could I potentially make my $$ back? 

Your thoughts appreciated! 

JACKPOT!!!   You just hit on one of my MAJOR considerations.  It is one of the items that has paid off tremendously for me.

I find that I can rent units for $50-100 more a month with washer/dryers.  The ONLY reason that I care about the income is that it will dramatically increase the value upon sale.  The rent is small potatoes compared to what you will get on sale.

There are a number of renters that will only rent if there are washer/dryers in the unit.  There are limited affordable apartments with these included so the competition is fierce for these units.  People are likely to stay longer if they have them as well.

One of the key things that I look at when evaluation potential purchases, is the ability to add the washer and dryer.  There needs to be a location that is close enough to plumbing, has enough electrical supply, and has the physical space to put them in without hurting the apartment space.  I have put them in hall closets and carved off parts of dining areas.  I have also put them in outside storage areas but this is less desirable.

It is expensive to retrofit properties that did not have them initially but I have it down to a science.

We have en suite laundry in all our smaller properties (<=6-units) and have the objective to have it in all units.  In some instances the laundry was already present, in others we have installed it ourselves.  We always install laundry on the lowest floor in the unit (several of our units are 2-story) and install an overflow pan with floor drain under the laundry units themselves.

We have winter here which comes with a month or more of temperatures in the -20 to -30 range.  Not having to leave your unit to do laundry is a big checkbox for tenants in this market.

Medium greenapartmenthires 1024x1024Roy N., Louer Louer Ltd. | 1.506.471.4126

Thanks everybody! I so appreciate your input!! I do have plumbing near the closets. And I'm sure electricity can be brought there.  BTW its a 6 plex. Gonna email my managers on this and get their take as well.  Will tell y'all what they say...

My sister lived in one of my units for a while and she brought the idea to me. As a busy full time employee, she did not like having to schlep outside to the laundry room on the weekend only to find the 1 washer already in use. Even in wonderful weather a hassle. Plus could turn laundry room in to downstairs storage, which I have very little of. 

So, I just heard back from my manager who said YES! GREAT UPGRADE! with W/Ds in my 6 plex. Took her more than 1/2 hr to get back to me!! ;-) If anyone on BP owns homes or units recommend my managers highly! 

Don't forget that you need to vent the dryers.

Originally posted by @Steve Olafson :

Don't forget that you need to vent the dryers.

and vent them properly! ... i.e. not into the mechanical room/basement/crawlspace as did the previous owner of one of our properties.

Medium greenapartmenthires 1024x1024Roy N., Louer Louer Ltd. | 1.506.471.4126

Manager said she thought I could get at least $100 more/unit, but is checking with the regional manager so will get back to me,  

She also mentioned getting 2 piece stacks instead of 1 so that if (more like when) the washer goes on the fritz the dryer will be fine and vice versa. 

Now to talk to my plumber...

Yes if you are getting stack units the 2 piece are better for the very reason you mention.  Unfortunatly sometimes only the one piece stack fits because of the slightly smaller size of the 1 piece stack

Originally posted by @Eva Salas :

Manager said she thought I could get at least $100 more/unit, but is checking with the regional manager so will get back to me,  

She also mentioned getting 2 piece stacks instead of 1 so that if (more like when) the washer goes on the fritz the dryer will be fine and vice versa. 

Now to talk to my plumber...

The positive not on the single unit dryer over top-load washer is that they are made to be entirely serviced from the front w/o removing the unit from where it is installed.  The downsides are numerous:

  • one unit dies, the whole assembly must be replaced;
  • the washer and dryer capacity are less than a stackable laundry pair;
  • they are not as water nor energy efficient as a comparably priced stackable laundry pair;
  • they are a pain to install in 2nd and 3rd floor flats (unless you have modern wide stairwells or an elevator).

We have two of the all-in-one GE units left.  They have been moderately reliable, but will be replaced with a stackable front-load pair when their day comes.

Medium greenapartmenthires 1024x1024Roy N., Louer Louer Ltd. | 1.506.471.4126

@Eva Salas

Eva I don't understand how you are handling this.  You say the apartments are occupied.  How are you going to handle it with the occupied tenents?  Are you going to ask them if they want to be upgraded to wthe W/D units?  How much of a raise are you going to request?

If the apartments are unoccupied are you just going to put in the w'd units?  $100.00 seems like a lot of money.

Barbara

@Barbara G.

When we have converted properties from a common laundry room to en suite, we've placed laundry in all units  and made a moderate increase in rent ($25 - $50 /month) to existing tenants.

Medium greenapartmenthires 1024x1024Roy N., Louer Louer Ltd. | 1.506.471.4126

Hi, Yes the apartments are 100% occupied at the moment.  The plan is to upgrade when units become vacant with W/D's and then rent them for $100 or more than what I would normally ask, (I haven't yet heard the final word on that).  

The market here in Silicon Valley is such that other buildings, considered "luxury" are renting their 1 BR's for $3,500-$4,500 a month. My units are smaller, it's an older building, in a beautiful SFR "A" neighborhood, and so a new tenant paying $2,100, (or more), with an in-unit w/d is definitely in keeping with the market here.

Because I will install W/D's slowly, as units turn, the drain on my CF will be relatively painless...well, almost.  

My managers manage around 2,000 units here, and I would always seek their guidance before making an expensive upgrade such as this.  A good mgt. co.'s value is not only in being on top of what needs handling at my building, but knowing the market intimately!  I was recently prepared to put a 1BR on the market for $1895, until my mgr. caught wind of it and said to offer it at $1,995.  It was pre-rented to the first person who saw it.  She  happened to come to the unit with the rental agent when I was telling maintenance exactly what would be replaced, (It was in need of complete rehab).  The unit was upgraded exactly as I had represented.  

I consider my residents to be customers.  A good thing for all property owners to remember, IMHO.  

Originally posted by @Roy N. :

@Barbara Goodman

When we have converted properties from a common laundry room to en suite, we've placed laundry in all units  and made a moderate increase in rent ($25 - $50 /month) to existing tenants.

 ------------------

Roy I am totally blown away by your "en suite".  Where does this word come from?  

$25.00 or $50,00 sounds like a good  and reasonable amount to charge.    We have just purchased another 2 duplexes.  These new duplexes also have W/D hook ups provided by the previous owners.  All 4 tenants have their own w/d in their "en suite".  We don't want to service, or replace w/d units, but we do want our tenants to have their own with our provided hook ups.

As the other posters have said, it isn't about the money its about having a much more desirable apartment.  I know, personally I would never move anywhere unless i had a washer and dryer, and I don't want one in the Basement, I want it on the floor where it is easy to access.

I like what @Steve Olafson said about resale value. But, this will primarily affect resale value on multi-unit homes (SFHs tend to not sell based on rent history).

But, speaking from a former renter, I know how important in-unit W/D is when finding a place to rent. I remember being willing to spend at least $100/month more for a place with a W/D. An average family will easily spend $40-$50 per month just to use the laundromat, so I would expect anyone to be willing to pay 2x that for the convenience.

Sounds like a good choice to me. Glad to hear your PM recommended it. Thanks for sharing their input.

@Barbara G.

My apologies, "en suite" is French and literally translates to "in suite".  It is common usage in Canadian English and I had, erroneously, assumed it was used in the U.S.A. English as well. 

Medium greenapartmenthires 1024x1024Roy N., Louer Louer Ltd. | 1.506.471.4126

@EVA

No body has addressed the option of just putting the washer dryer hook ups in the apartments and letting the tenants buy their own w/d.  Am I missing something here? We are really happy about our not supplying a washer dryer but just providing the hook up.  I am sure that our apartments are easier to rent because the tenants can have  their own washer dryer and no one is complaining about supplying their own w/d and I don't know if any apartments furnish washer dryers for their tenants.  We are in the state of Conn.     Do you think you do much better buying the washer dryer and servicing them rather then just suppling the hook ups?

 Well I am also impressed and envious about these apartments. Eva has that  rent for $2,000 plus and she has a managment company to boot.    We feel lucky just getting $1,200 for a 2 bedroom, an we manage our own small portfolio.    How much more do you get in cash flow on these apartments that rent in the $2,000 range?  

We have very nice tenants.  They work hard, they pay their rent, they are no trouble.

@Barbara G.  :-) for that explanation! I don't think there would be much if any perceived value of just hook ups when so many are going on sweet. That's just our mkt here and I'm seeing it more and more. 

As far as how much more CF I'm getting for the 2k units? My question is how much more than what? Apts selling here from 3.5-5 cap now. 

I have also been wrestling with this exact question. The first thing is that it really depends on your market and the rents- the higher end the market, the more important the amenities are. 

I own property in San Francisco, so like you are in an expensive market. One duplex I have will need to gut remodel. In this case it much easier to invest in all the necessary plumbing and electrical needed. Plus I have space near my bathrooms, where all the plumbing passes by anyways. But even so, I expect it to cost me $2500-3000 per apartment (incl. the WD units). 

In another triplex I just brought, there are new coin op WD in the garage. To be honest I'm not sure how much of a turn off it is for tenants to share the machines with 2 other couples in the building. But I know in this case that it does not make sense to go in the units. I'm trying to get a sense from new perspective tenants. 

Originally posted by @Eva Salas :

@Barbara Goodmana Goodman The trend is towards on sweet W/D's (gracias to 

@Roy N.  :-) for that explanation! I don't think there would be much if any perceived value of just hook ups when so many are going on sweet. That's just our mkt here and I'm seeing it more and more. 

=====================

Yes you are very high end.  Here, as I said we are getting $1,100 for a small 2 Bedroom apartment (in a duplex) that costs $600.00 in expenses, (we don't set aside a managment fee as we do it)  including principal and interest.  I don't  think most of the other low end apartments have Washers and Dryers or Hook ups for them (all of our tenants have their own w/d) so I think our apartments are more desirable and we would consider doing that in the future in anything we buy.  On those $2,000 apartments how much cash flow is there?   

@Amit M.

When we converted our 5-unit (now a 6-unit) from a common laundry room (2 machines w/ a third set of hookups) to en suite laundry is was motivated, in part, by a higher use for the laundry space (it and the garage are unit #6).  

In smaller properties (2-6 units) with common laundry, you typically find 1 laundry pair for every 2-3 units - a lower ratio and tenant complain about machine availability, rather than arrange a schedule with their neighbours.   Surprisingly, in larger buildings we have found ratios as high as 1 laundry pair per 5 units and tenants seem more inclined to accept it.

We have noted the following aspects when converting to en suite laundry:

1) Commercial coin-op laundry machines are more expensive to acquire and maintain than residential units.  You can find companies who will place machines in your building on a revenue share basis (60-40, 50-50).  In either case, our experience as been that coin-op laundry will generate enough revenue to cover its own operations (Capital cost, plus utilities) ... if you are lucky.

Residential laundry machines are less costly.  They are not necessarily cheaper to maintain and repair, but you are more likely to replace them versus repair if there is a major component failure.  When laundry is placed en suite, the utilities (at lease electricity) will be in the hands of the tenant.

2) Vandalism and tenant damage is lower when machines are located in the units and when it does occur, you know who is responsible.   En Suite laundry also tends to be used more gently and maintained better than those in a common laundry room.

3) We have been able to command a slightly higher rent ($25 - $50 / month) for en suite laundry.  Common laundry tends to be a minimum threshold to get tenants in our market, while en suite laundry is a value add.

Medium greenapartmenthires 1024x1024Roy N., Louer Louer Ltd. | 1.506.471.4126

Originally posted by @Amit M. :

I have also been wrestling with this exact question. The first thing is that it really depends on your market and the rents- the higher end the market, the more important the amenities are. 

I own property in San Francisco, so like you are in an expensive market. One duplex I have will need to gut remodel. In this case it much easier to invest in all the necessary plumbing and electrical needed. Plus I have space near my bathrooms, where all the plumbing passes by anyways. But even so, I expect it to cost me $2500-3000 per apartment (incl. the WD units). 

In another triplex I just brought, there are new coin op WD in the garage. To be honest I'm not sure how much of a turn off it is for tenants to share the machines with 2 other couples in the building. But I know in this case that it does not make sense to go in the units. I'm trying to get a sense from new perspective tenants. 

I am trying to figure out how a gut rehab of an apartment can only cost $2,500 to $3,000, including a washer and dryer and Refrigerator, and stove, and dishwasher, and kitchen cabinets, and counter tops and tile floors and bathroom fixtures, and painting, and electrical, and plumbing.  Come here and do that for me for $3,000.

About your Triplex with the machine in the garage, perhaps when one unit is empty you can try the w/d "en suite" and charge the $50.00 extra and see how it goes.