Appliances

28 Replies

How do you guys handle appliances in single family homes? Provide them, provide some, none, charge more for them?

Hi Scott,

Assuming you're talking about a rental? I provide all built in appliances but not the fridge unless it came with one and I don't care about it. When I have provided it, I write it in the lease that it's not included in the lease and I'm providing it as a courtesy only and if the tenant wants to use it they may and if it breaks down, I won't be replacing it.

Allen

Allen Maris, Real Estate Agent in CA (#01918765)

I provide dishwasher, refreidge and stove.  I don't provide washing machines, dryers or microwaves.

We provide a fridge and a stove and also supply washer/dryer hookups but not the washer and dryer itself.

As far as dishwashers go we only supply them in the better neighborhoods we have properties in where we feel the tenants have more of a likelihood to use them responsibly.

Michael Noto, Real Estate Agent in CT (#RES.0799665)
860-384-7570

I provide the appliances that are part of the real estate -- range, dishwasher and built-in microwave -- and those that are personal property -- refrigerator, washer and dryer. I often have tenants moving from apartments. I think it would make my rental houses less appealing if, after coming up with a deposit and first month's rent, the tenants immediately had to buy appliances. I also don't want tenants and their movers hauling major appliances around and banging up doors and walls.

I bought most of the washers and dryers used. To guard against neglectful tenants, the leases do say that repairs to the refrigerator, washer and dryer will be made at the discretion of the landlord.

I am with @Allen Maris .  I provide the stove, dishwasher, and otr microwave.  If there happens to be a refrigerator, I leave it and let them know if it goes out, they will have to replace it.  I was buying new appliances and getting 1-2 years out of fridges.  I started buying appliances off of craigslist.  I look for whole kitchen packages where people are replacing with stainless or newer.  I can usually pick them up for $500 with range, dishwasher, otr microwave, and fridge.

Man I like this group. Thanks for the replies. Yes, my question applied to rentals, and it appears we are all close to doing the same way. Real good point about them banging up the walls and tenants coming from apartments. 

I to am a big CL user for everything: appliance, patio doors, building materials, etc 

Thanks All

I've always supplied garbage disposals (though may only supply those in high end homes from here on out) fridge, dishwasher and range/oven.  Have supplied washer/dryer if kicking that in is all it takes to win what I think is a solid tenant.  They arent much used.

I think what you supply depends on your local market and if you sense throwing something in to sweeten the pot to win over the right tenant is a good move.

Originally posted by @Michael Noto :

We provide a fridge and a stove and also supply washer/dryer hookups but not the washer and dryer itself.

As far as dishwashers go we only supply them in the better neighborhoods we have properties in where we feel the tenants have more of a likelihood to use them responsibly.

This is exactly what we do. 

I think this answer depends a lot on your local market and what is expected. 

In our area, most rentals do not include a washer/dryer but always include a fridge and stove - so that is what we do

The less you have to maintain the better.

Guys,

I'd like to start a revolution and I need your help.  :)

I no longer supply appliances (outside of a built in microwave if it was already there) in my SFH or duplexes. I do have a couple that had appliances already but I don't warrant them in the lease.

My thinking is this:

1) Spend your money making the unit nicer, not investing in machines that will need service calls. A really nice home with some extra touches (a little granite, better flooring, nicer paint job, nicer cabinets, etc.) compared to the area will make potential tenants fall in love with the place.  

2) Tenants that bring or can swing their own appliances are more financially stable (or just stable in general, ha!) and likely to stay far longer than the tenants who are more transient. I'm looking for folks to make the house their home, not a 12 month pit stop after all.  

It's working out so far.  

Best,

 - Chuck

Thanks for all the input. On this one, I went with new appliances for the kitchen but not the washer and dryer. I found through a referral a great supplier that can provide new, and not scratch and dent, for about what I would pay for used. And that was a really really good point about bugs. not worth the risk. If you are in NE Ohio, I can provide that lead for you.

Around here it wouldn't work not providing a stove. I thought about putting W/D in my units but turns out that most (stable) people actually have their own. I have one fridge in storage as a tenant brought their own, so that is a mixed bag.

Refrigerators and stoves are reasonably failure-proof appliances if you stay away from ice makers, water in door options, and other things that add complexity. My own garage fridge was my kitchen fridge 20 years ago and still works perfectly. 

I always put a stove in my SFHs and a dishwasher if the cabinets are setup for one.  I always buy new and get the extended 5 year warranty.  When it breaks for the first 5 years it's someone else's problem.  After 5 years, throw it away and start again.  My units don't come with refrigerators but for $25 a month more I will supply a basic unit.  19 cubic foot, no icemaker, no water in door, etc.

i provide dishwasher if we are putting a new kitchen. also a garbage disposal.

sometimes i provide washers/dryers if i have extra laying around (i always seem to have them).

sometimes i have purchased fridges and ovens since it's best to invest in capital expense and get a tenant than to have a house sit empty forever.

our lease also states that tenants should purchase the appliance plan, which noone really does purchase. 

We supply kitchen appliances for all of our units, on the SFR's we supply dishwashers because they are in nicer neighborhoods where a tenant would expect it. I've offered to rent W/Ds to tenants in the nicer neighborhoods as I can buy a used set for $40 and rent them for the same price per month, but the tenants typically have their own.

I'm also entertaining the idea of getting a whole house service contract for all appliances including the AC, plus plumbing.  There is a company in my area that it looks like it will cost me about $400 a year per property but after this week I would welcome that "insurance" as I just had a large unexpected AC bill.  The idea here is when something breaks the tenant calls the service company, not me.  Its a local business, not a national service which gives me more comfort as I'm not a fan of "home warranty."

Originally posted by @Michael Noto :

We provide a fridge and a stove and also supply washer/dryer hookups but not the washer and dryer itself.

As far as dishwashers go we only supply them in the better neighborhoods we have properties in where we feel the tenants have more of a likelihood to use them responsibly.

 Same.

Part of it will depend on what is expected in your local market. You'll want to maintain as few appliances as possible, but not at the expense of extended vacancy.

I can't imagine what a unit would look like if the renter supplied the appliances. We provide the appliances except the washer and dryer. That way I know the appliances are not a fire hazard. I worry about a renter with a good rental history being to cheap to put anything in but his grandmas avocado green range, cause it still "works".

Not providing appliances in my area would also be a bad plan causing extended vacancies.

I forgot to mention I also supply dishwashers. Frankly, I'm not crazy about tenants messing with anything that has to do with connecting water that is always left on (ie dishwasher, washing machine) or electricity that needs to be specifically wired (ie range, dryer). That said, good tenants around here have their own washers and dryers, so I would end up having to store those appliances. Almost no one has stoves, no one at all has dishwashers, and refrigerators seem to be 50/50. 

I think some of the takeaways are:

If you have a nice place, you really don't want appliances being moved in and out banging things up.

If they do bring their appliances, they are more app to stay longer. They would consider the hassle of moving the appliances, again.

However, if they do bring their own appliances, you have the possibility of getting bugs. Same with buying used appliances.

No one really wants tenants hooking things up so supply at least a dishwasher. 

Appliances supplied mean better rents and a higher quality tenant.

The location of the rental and the type of tenant you want will dictate what you supply.

Finding a good supplier of new appliances will get your cost down to the point that used doesn't make sense. Warranty, no bugs, excited tenants.

Also remember to check your local laws.  What Chuck describes (supplying no appliances at all) is actually illegal in a number of states.  It is quite common for a state's definition of habitability to include at least a stove.

I provide a used stove and a used fridge at minimum typically.  I usually spend about $50 for the stove and $100 for the fridge but sometimes more or less.

@Chuck B.

Great Point.  So you do not provide any appliance, unless it was already there with the property?  If you bought a property that didn't have a stove/oven or dishwasher.  Would you put one in or leave it out?  How does your tenant retention look since you have started doing this?  What I mean is does it seem like your tenants are staying longer, also does it seem harder to find tenants when you do need to find a new one.  

Sorry for the questions just curious about your method since it seems different than most.  

@Nathan Patterson   

I have one house where I supplied appliances six years ago when I got back into rentals in earnest.  I've since had to do a service call for the fridge and had to replace the oven recently as the repair was going to be about as much as a newish used one that was in great shape.  I've also had to deal with a couple of appliance issues in a duplex I have where I do supply appliances.  I think about taking these few issues and multiplying them out times ten (that's today, and hopefully in the future 20X or 30X) and it just makes me depressed thinking about it.  

After that first one, I decided that I wasn't going to supply appliances and everyone thought I was crazy, especially when I did the same in the houses rented out section 8.  I advertise the houses that way, even if there's an appliance or two that the previous owner has left in them and I don't mention them so that the people coming aren't (or shouldn't be) expecting to find them.  I have a note in the lease that they're not supplied or warranted by the landlord and the extent of what I will do (if any exist at all) is haul them away.  The exception to this is a built-in micrwave, of course I'll manage those.  

As for lease up, yes, I'm sure this makes renting the house more of a hurdle for folks but I'm pretty sure that I think differently about this than many of the local landlords that I know.  I'm really all about adding hurdles, ha!  I'm absolutely not interested in leasing fast at all and I'm extremely picky about tenants and I do things like require a large security deposit (even for section 8 renters, I have three of them and love them), don't supply appliances, take my time doing background checks and arranging multiple calls/meetings with potential tenants.  I always do current home inspections to see how they live today and if I can't (e.g. they're moving in from out of town) I'm probably not going to rent to them.  I'm looking for tenants that are professional, stable and can act like a thoughtful, organized person regardless of their economic status.  Across ten doors I've had three turnovers in five years and one of the ladies that moved out (she wanted a larger house) still calls me occasionally to see if I have something available again.  She apparently moved into slumlord territory to get a much larger house.  The longest one took 9 weeks to fill and the other two took four weeks.  When the houses were just acquired it usually took me two to four weeks to get a tenant in them though I had some that were rented prior to make-ready and renovations being done, that's happened a couple of times.  

Just for reference, these are not high-end properties.  They're working class or in lower income areas.  I'm typically all in after fix-up/renovation at 45K to 85K and they rent from between $850 a month to $1050 a month.  $900 seems to be the sweet spot right now and most of those cost 45-55K including fix-up.

With all that said, I'm positive I spend money on the properties in ways that most landlords at these price points do not.  In fact, I think I spend money in places where many landlords with more expensive properties don't as well.  I make sure they're well insulated, have replacement windows, spend more on nice flooring that looks great (plank style / wood-look porcelain tile, hardwood or click-together LVT planks, not peel-and-stick squares).  I'm a fan of gated yards and higher-end security doors and will install chain link and even some wood privacy fencing if I think the house/area warrants it.  The units all have tri-paint jobs with ceiling paint, a nice wall color and super-white glossy trim on everything else.  I do whole house HVAC systems, not window unit ACs.  I HATE plastic shower stalls and put in steel tubs with tiled surrounds.  I also install hardwired alarm systems because I've always used them and I appreciate them.   Most of the tenants appreciate and use them too, so that makes me happy.  

Would this work at $1,800+ rents? I went to a learn-on-the-site program that our local REIA had recently. 3BR/3BA house, owner is probably in 145K after fix up (I know the purchase price, don't know what was spent to get it ready after purchase) and a handful of years later it's now worth 190K. Rents for $1,800+ a month, depending on how long tenant will commit. The bathrooms made me so depressed... plastic shower units with sad apartment class vanities with some sort of beige solid surface tops. The kitchen counter laminate was also very dated looking. A big set of nice stainless steel appliances though! To me, it looked like someone was living in a large 3BR apartment and not a nice 3BR house. If it was mine, I'd fix those bathrooms up with real tubs and tile and different vanity tops and change out the kitchen laminate with something modern and I definitely wouldn't supply appliances.

Would it work... I don't know.  Maybe I'll get the chance to try someday.  I'm positive though that in this business there is no single right way to do things.  I think everyone has to find their own way to some degree.  What type of tenant can you deal with, what type of neighborhood, SF or MF, etc. etc.    

Good luck!

Best,
 - Chuck

The variation in what fits where is why that is awkward for an approach around here. Someone has a gas stove and the new rental only has electricity; someone has a 33 in fridge and only a 30 in fridge fits; counter space is cut for slide in, not drop in; etc. Washer and dryer is different because they are pretty standard. Do you have people bring in and plumb their own dishwasher units as well? More power to you if it works, and as you said there isn't any one way of doing this. I agree with your approach on tiled bathroom tubs, etc. I do this and still supply the stove, dishwasher, and fridge unless they have their own.

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