Do i go basic or decent on appliances on new rental?

23 Replies

Hey All, 

I just got my townhome back from insurance rebuild and instead of selling it i have decided i will go ahead and rent it out for now for the cash flow. 

My question is the kitchen is a Mahogany tint cabinet set. Which appliances should i go with for a rental.....

I am questioning between a basic white setup or pay a little more for stainless?


I also need to purchase a set of washer and dryer also for the unit. 

I would say for the minimal price difference, go with the stainless. It may allow you to get a bit extra in rent, because you can advertise new stainless appliances, and within no time your cash flow can pay for the difference.

Im actually surprised at the deal on that package, may have to look into it myself!

Thats a really good deal on the stainless and I always try to go stainless for new appliances but may leave white in if they are already there.  I just think white appliances say you are looking to do the bare minimum which is not the message I'm trying to convey.  The class of property also plays a role though, if I was in C or less or did section 8 I would probably just stick with white or meet in the middle with black.  For the washer and dryer though I have tenants supply their own unless they need a specific dimension or something along those lines.  They are prone to abuse and breakdowns and I just don't want to have to maintain or buy them so unless it is expected in your area I would skip them.  

They do like stainless so we install them, but I'm finding the fridges & dishwashers take a few dents between tenants. The very thin gauge door skins are prone to denting. Then again the fridge showing the most 'imprints' on the door just died after 7 years. The replacement was a $500 scratch & dent, so I guess we did OK. 

During the install have the fridge water/ice & dishwasher supply lines on dedicated shutoffs under the sink & LABELED for easy QUICK access. We had a girl pull a fridge out to get something she dropped & she ripped out the OEM plastic water line on the rear of the fridge, water everywhere. She called & we told her where the shutoff was. 

You also may want to check those model #'s and conduct a search Shopping.Google.com to see who has the best pricing. Alternatively, you can search Craigslist for some local deals too; if you are able to pickup and deliver. If you are going to buy from Lowes or Home Depot, make sure you receive the pro discounts too.  Usually, especially for big box, stainless steel is only 50 or 100 more. With that said, stainless steel dents easier; so that should be considered too. What I've learned over the years is that many tenants do not take care of their units. So, if you have a fair or marginal tenant, expect to have dents in some SS appliances. Unless it's high end, I just go with black or white; depending on the color of the kitchen. Yours seems basic, which is good, so a white or off white would look fine.

I'd go with white and paint the cabinets white also. Stainless is hard to keep looking clean all the time because it streaks and shadows. White is easier. White kitchens are trendy. Painted cabinets can be touched  up easily. Stained cabinets with heavy wear (or heaven forbid, tenant scrubbing with steel wool to get rid of built-up grime so can get security deposit back and scrubbing through the finish) are really hard to renovate inexpensively.  Comment about dings in stainless is great point.

Stainless is so easily scratched and dented, I wouldn't trust it in a rental property. You could pay the extra now and end up with eyesores by the time the first lease ends. 

I would prefer white. Stainless looks nice but tenants tend to damage it and then it looks trashy...

Originally posted by @Denise Evans :

I'd go with white and paint the cabinets white also. Stainless is hard to keep looking clean all the time because it streaks and shadows. White is easier. White kitchens are trendy. Painted cabinets can be touched  up easily. Stained cabinets with heavy wear (or heaven forbid, tenant scrubbing with steel wool to get rid of built-up grime so can get security deposit back and scrubbing through the finish) are really hard to renovate inexpensively.  Comment about dings in stainless is great point.

The cabinets are brand new with real wood mahogany doors 

 

Originally posted by @Nathan G. :

I would prefer white. Stainless looks nice but tenants tend to damage it and then it looks trashy...

second thought i have been thinking of going black appliances..  

If real wood mahogany doors, then you are right, go with black.  That will be cheaper than matte gray, which is trendy right now and so priced higher.  Plus, gray is not a good look with mahogany.  Pay a painter to put an extra layer of finish on those cabinets. The finishes from the factory are just mere molecules thick, and wear off easily. You need more protection for a rental. You'll be happy, later, you spent the little bit of extra money now.

I go stainless steel in all of my properties. My tenants love them and don’t ever want to leave. My goal is to keep tenants happy in place for years/decades so they can pay off my mortgages. I don’t like turnovers. So I feel if I flip a couple bucks more on nicer looking updated appliances and fixtures they’ll never want to leave! So far it’s working. But I’ve only been doing this for 6 years.

Oh, and I buy all my ss appliances used with free delivery. Check around and ask for people selling used or refurbished appliances. I get huge SS fridges with water/ice dispensers and French style bottom freezer drawers for $750-800. And ovens for $200. So far they haven’t broken down on me!

It depends on the area and who you are renting to. Do other rentals in the area offer stainless appliances? Any rentals in the area getting a premium for stainless?

If so, then you know It would be good to upgrade to stainless. If nobody else is doing it and the rent isn’t strong enough to support it then keep it simple and get the basics.

@William Huston

That is a great question! I always recommend to look at the rental comps to see who your competition is and what they are doing. That is going to give you an idea of what the market rent will fetch/what renters will expect. (And of course I’m sure you looked at the market rent before purchasing). At that point I would also weigh the top market rent and see what is special about those units. If those units have appliances or a certain type of remodel that is not much more expensive yet it gets top dollar it may make sense to pursue. I heavily rely on my GC and property manager to coordinate and see what needs to happen to get the rent I’m looking for. I hope this helps!

Stainless and granite will get you $100-150 more per month in my market, so I always go with them. It also improves the quality of applications I get and the ARV of my units when I BRRRR out of them.

I prefer to have the nicest rental units in the neighborhood and run them attentively and efficiently.  I may be leaving a little money on the table by "over improving," but I have been renting seven units for the last two years and I have yet to lose a tenant or miss a month's rent.

I recommend making your units nice and screening your tenants diligently.  You will have a much better experience in the long run.

Stainless steel, if already mahogany cabinets. Keep it to match, it will rent faster and for more money. $371 more for the side by side fridge and water/ice dispenser and stainless steel appliances!? GO for it!! It will pay for itself in less than a year.

@William Huston  I think putting in stainless steel appliances is a good idea. I know of some landlords that charge a slightly higher rent, about $25-$40 a month extra, for their units with SS appliances. These appliances have that 'wow factor', tend to attract better tenants, and make the unit easier to rent as well. Also, if you decide to sell your unit in a couple of years, buyers really tend to like SS appliances.