Does Washer & Dryer Really Make That Big of a Difference?

20 Replies

Hey Everyone,

I wanted to get some input from all the Renters and Landlords here on BP. I'm currently a renter and moved into a newly constructed apartment a couple months ago. It is a small one bedroom but the quality is excellent. New granite counter tops, nice tiled bathroom floor and showers and nice hardwood flooring. The one thing that is going to make my girlfriend and I move at the end of our lease is the fact that there is no washer and dryer in the unit. There is a common one on each floor that is shared by all tenants. It cost $3.75 to do a wash & dry (which can add up quick) and the dryer always seems to be filed with sand, lint and weird things from other tenants (kinda gross). it is also such an inconvenience since you have to make sure you're home to during the whole process so your clothes don't get tossed on the floor.

Question's are:

Do other tenants feel the same way I do?

How do landlords feel about this? 

Does it cause a higher turnover rate with tenants?

Are they really that much of a pain for landlords to take care of?

Thanks BP!

It depends on who is managing the property and if they are even aware of the issues you stated.  Have you informed them and they haven't done anything?  When I was renting a couple years ago I paid $2 per wash and $2 per dry.  It was kept nice but a hassle each time I needed to use it.  From an owner stand point a central laundry area is always best because possible water/maintenance issues are centralized.  If each unit had their own washer and dryer it could be a maintenance nightmare with one leaking hose soaking through to the unit below, etc.

That is one of the key parts of my business.  I buy apartments that have certain items that make them desirable as a rental.  The items that seem to be the most important to people are washer/dryer hookups, great location, single story, and private yard/patios.  There are other items as well and the properties do not have to have all of these items.

In my opinion, I can add $60-100/month by adding washer/dryers.  I like to find properties that don't have them but they can be added.

Yes washers and dryers are a pain for the landlord, they are an expense to buy.  If the tenant doesn't pay water they are more of an expense for the landlord.  They are also a damage issue if they leak on a lower unit and damage it.  If you move somewhere that has them in the unit you will hopefully for the landlord pay the additional cost of water.  Since you have W/D units in your building you don't have to go to the Laundromat which is more convenient.  I have 6 units that don't have anything in the building and it costs me some tenants but if I had them I would still charge for them because it is a use based cost. I would not put them in unit due to possible damage and the fact that there are not separate water meters.  I include them in single families but they pay for water. Some people just have hookups but that is not usual in our area.

I provide a washer and dryer as it is standard where I am renting, but am thinking of reducing to w/d hookup available as I get sick of washer/dryer repairs, much more than I've ever had as an owner, so they must over-fill or treat them harshly, and they certainly never keep the dryer vents cleaned out.   We have recently moved frequently for work, and so have had to rent in many temporary spots.  I have had both w/d in unit and shared facilities, and shared facilities are disgusting, can't believe what people leave in a dryer, so I would never want to offer that.  My daughter, however, lives with communal w/d for a few years now because the unit is affordable for where she wants to live, and she usually just saves up her laundry, visits family and does her laundry while visiting as she is lucky to have that option.  Most of the tenants in her building are very long-term as it is a safe, affordable apartment tucked in an expensive area, so they put up with the communal washer and dryer when they have to but most that live there have alternate options.

Our 8-plex has a shared laundry room on premises... one washer and one dryer. Coin-op machines that take $1 for each load. So a wash & dry is 2 bucks. Also the room has a nice utility sink and a large shelf for folding clothes.  We have rules for using the laundry room, so everyone is courteous and keeps the laundry clean. If a tenant doesn't follow the rules, we will respond to this with swift, polite, firm and fair action. They either shape up or ship out.

We maintain the appliances and it doesn't cost much to do so because they are good quality machines. In the last nine years we've only had 3 service calls - all related to the dryer for normal age related maintenance. We also make sure the laundry room is swept weekly, the drums for both the washer and dryer are wiped down with vinegar monthly, and the dryer vent  to the outside is cleaned periodically. The room has a concrete slab floor with a drain, so if there is a water leak, there is no collateral damage. Our tenants will go to a laundromat to do extra large loads, for things like comforters. If they have something messy to take care of, they rinse it out in the utility sink first, before putting it in the washer.

Our duplex units with w/d hookups are more marketable. We can charge a higher rent for them. Sometimes there is damage to floors and door trim when tenants move machines in and out. We've also had tenants hook up their washer drain hose incorrectly and cause significant water damage. So now we are present for move-in/move-out and we double check hook ups.

Families with children are likely to feel w/d in the unit is a necessity. Families with children also tend to be harder on a unit in terms of wear and tear and damages. Single folks and senior folks are more likely to be okay with sharing a laundry. Some tenants will take their laundry home to "mom". So, we have noticed. Our longest term tenants are at our 8-plex with the shared laundry, one has been there 26 years and the other 23 years!

Marcia Maynard, Fischer Properties | Podcast Guest on Show #83

I would not want to rent an apartment without a washer and dryer hook up. Every area I have lived it is not standard for the LL to provide the appliances and we do not provide any washer and dryer, but we do make sure we have the hookups there. One thing I am inclined to provide is good quality metal mesh water lines so they don't bring their crusty crappy dry rotted 15 year old water lines when they move in my unit and then wonder why they break and flood the unit.

How much do you guys recommend spending on each machine (washer + dryer? From what I've seen, there are $300 machines, $600-$800 machines, and $1000+ machines. Does it even make a difference if you buy the more expensive machines for a rental? 

Ever buy used machines off craigslist? More trouble than they're worth? Any appliances to avoid buying used? 

I usually end up spending about 1000 for the set.

@Richard Villandry ,

So far all my units are metered separately so tenants pay their own bills and I hope I never have a unit where I pay the utilities.

I wouldn't let it stop me from getting a good deal but I would want to make sure I could do some sort of separate metering or at least monitor usage so I can bill the tenant for it. Some people don't have any problems paying utilities but I have heard some horror stories of thousand plus dollar bills by PITA tenants.

I don't provide washer/dryer in any of my residential properties.  Too much of a headache for the Landlord if they leak, break down, excess water consumption, etc. (as stated above).

Nope! I hate them! they add no value, are the highest cost for repair and honestly not worth it! I even have higher end rentals :)

Back in my renter days a washer/dryer in the apartment could definitely make a difference with regard to my desire to rent the place. 

I certainly lived in more than my share of apartments without W/D and I can tell you it's a pain for the renter. You either get a choice of a lot of W/Ds in the basement, which means you have to schlep all your clothes downstairs. Or there are a couple of W/Ds on the floor, which means you're competing with everyone else who wants to do their laundry the same day. It reminds me of living in a college dorm.

I did live in one apartment complex which had a big laundry building for the entire complex to use for free. Or we had the option of renting a W/D for the hookups in the apartment. Most everyone chose the latter.

We are on well in the multi-unit so it is an issue to provide washer dryer. Overuse impacts everyone. I can't meter water so I would never provide them in the unit. The units are also up down so that is an issue for leakage that I would not want to take on. We thought about a laundry room but it would require a new well. It would be more attractive but I don't think I am cheating my single bedroom apartment users without a washer dryer. How much does one person wash anyway. For SFH I do provide the washer dryer and I have had to replace them more then my own and we are not easy on stuff so that is saying something. That being said I am not worried about damage of tenants moving the units in and out we provide them because the space is not unlimited so if you need a stacker you need to provide it. A low water use machine is better and many tenants may not get that so if you pay for water get efficient machines. We do provide a clothes line..

From my own experience, I know that once you have lived with your own washer/dryer you never want to go back to using a laundromat- even if it's just down the hall. I had a few units that didn't have WD hookups, and I would always specify that in the ads so people wouldn't waste their time if that was a priority for them. My current units have hook-ups (tenants provide their own machines), but they are in the basement where leaks would do minimal damage. And the water is sub-metered so tenants pay their own water.

Medium team zen logo vJean Bolger, 33 Zen Lane | http://www.solidrealestateadvice.com

If I supply a laundry room, I get some portion of the income from the machines.  I also pay water, sewer, and electric for that room.  None of the residents like the option of a shared laundry facility.  The company that supplies the equipment makes out on this deal.

Now, if I can show that my rents are $70 higher as a result of having washer/dryer in the units, I can show a huge jump in value of my property.

That is how I make my money.

In my area, W/D hook ups are standard, but we provide washer and dryers. This makes it easier to rent and we can charge $50 more per month. We ran into the same thing you did, we were renting and hated not having our own and would have been willing to pay more for an apartment that had some. We keep an extra washer and an extra dryer in our garage so that when one breaks down, we can swap them out quickly for the renter. We probably get 2 or 3 breaks per year but they're not very costly.

When I show a house sitting in the laundry room is a wash board and a tub and a rope across the room . I tell them this is the washer and dryer I provide . I then point out the W/D hook ups and tell them they are free to bring their own automatic ones .  Always get a laugh 

I provide them.  Usually the under $400 per machine at lowes or Home Depot.  But, I also charge above market rent. 

Always provide them in quality rentals. Have a clause in the lease where renter pays first $50 for maintenance and repairs. Hard to believe how much that first $50 can effect a tenant in being good to their washer and dryer.