Advice on Rental Appliances

36 Replies

Hi:

Im a small timer with two rental properties and was wondering where to buy apartment sized refrigerators and ranges (20") ? My tenant asked me if I could get a stainless steel one, and I said I would try. I looked on line...the prices were MUCH lower than HD but the brands were ones I never heard of, Avanti, Summit, Premier and Profile. They were from on line appliance companies that I am not familiar with. They say $45 shipping. Does that mean they just drop them off at your door? HD is almost double the price. So I was wondering if anyone has had any luck with any of these companies? The ones I have seen are Appliances Connection, Airplane Appliances, etc  THANK YOU ALL!  Gayle Eisner Los Gatos, CA 

I buy all of our appliances at Sears.com. They almost always are shipped for free and a simple appliance like a fridge will be installed. They have a customer loyalty program so that you earn credits with each purchase and Sears has great service (if you deal with the local store, not their 800#).

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I recommend you go retail on appliances. Pay for install and removal of all the old appliances. Sounds like $45 is just to leave them in box and at your door. Those places nickel and dime you because they show up at your door and they don't even have the chords or hoses for the appliance. Then charge you $50 for the chord. 

You'll also get a warranty of some kind. 

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It's tough if you need apartment sized stoves. Oftentimes those will actually be more expensive because you're looking for a unique size. I would see if you can't find an appliance exchange provider. There is a local company that I use that will take on appliances from newer homes, clean them up and re sell them with a one year warranty at a discounted rate. It's not unlike buying a car after it has been leased for a 3 year period. Best of luck!!!

Thoughts: unless you have some kind of high-end apartment that demands stainless, I would stick with white. White is everywhere and oddball stuff is still made in white, like 18 inch dishwashers and 24 inch stoves. 

Thank you for your help!  Also, the range I have there is not completely broken, it just needs a burner part.  It is old however (10 years old)  and is pretty ugly.  Would you replace or fix? Cost of repair  maybe $150? Thanks!

Yes!  Its the coil. 

@Gayle Eisner

I would consider replacing the part since its a special size. At the very least get a quote for the repair.  Those special sizes are costly and have limited selection. For rentals black or white units hold up better than stainless (scratches).  If you ever remodel the kitchen change out the appliances to standard sizes.

Originally posted by @Jd Martin :

Thoughts: unless you have some kind of high-end apartment that demands stainless, I would stick with white. White is everywhere and oddball stuff is still made in white, like 18 inch dishwashers and 24 inch stoves. 

I disagree about white appliances. Stainless steel finish is much more in-demand and can often be had for the same price as white/black. Stainless appliances provide a wow factor the second a prospective tenant walks in the door. White appliances look dated from the day they are installed.

If it means the different between 8% vacancy and 16%, the extra 50 bucks to get the stainless appliance is well worth it!

I'll just add a little to the discussion.

Look to see what your local scratch-and-dent / overstock retail stores have in stock. You can replace an entire kitchen with like-new appliances for a fraction of the cost.

Earlier this year I bought a full-size dishwasher from Appliances Connection. I was pleased with the price and the delivery service.

Appliance connection, Home Depot, and Lowes are where we purchased apartment size stainless appliances.  They all have various deals (especially in October-January).  

One thing about stainless is that it will accumulate rust spots if they get water on them and are not wiped down regularly.  You can remove rust spots with a toothbrush and baking soda (ask me how I know...).  We just went through our first turnover, and after that experience I'm not sure I'll put stainless in our next set of rental units (or at least know to pay the cleaning people to do it).  They sure do sell the place though...

Originally posted by @Dillon Leider :
Originally posted by @Jd Martin:

Thoughts: unless you have some kind of high-end apartment that demands stainless, I would stick with white. White is everywhere and oddball stuff is still made in white, like 18 inch dishwashers and 24 inch stoves. 

I disagree about white appliances. Stainless steel finish is much more in-demand and can often be had for the same price as white/black. Stainless appliances provide a wow factor the second a prospective tenant walks in the door. White appliances look dated from the day they are installed.

If it means the different between 8% vacancy and 16%, the extra 50 bucks to get the stainless appliance is well worth it!

 I have never had a vacancy in any of my properties that was at all attributable to the color of the appliances. By now I have cycled through several dozen tenants and not a single tenant cared about the color of the appliances - in fact, my experience is that tenants appreciate easy-care appliances, and there's nothing more easy care than white. Price has nothing to do with it one way or the other. White is the universal color. I think once you've had more properties and time you will probably change your mind. What you like and what looks great and modern to you is irrelevant to the tenant experience. 

Stainless steel might make sense in high-end rentals where those upgrades are expected, however.

Just installed my 1st SS kitchen in a $1580 unit.  Probably cost 15% more than enamel. I've done lots of black, which is MUCH preferable to white. Half the typical SS range is black anyway. I just figured what the hell. BTW, those odd size things come in SS and black too. I replaced a 24" gas cooktop with black and added an 18" black DW to a unit.

@Jd Martin


With respect, I think that the aesthetics of SS are so much better than white, that it would make a tangible difference in the tenant's perception of how nice the unit is. With that, comes higher rent. I honestly think that if you renovate a kitchen and don't use SS appliances, you are making a mistake. 

Then again, I don't know what your margins are like. If you are renovating every kitchen in a 20 unit building, that difference in price adds up. 

Originally posted by @Dillon Leider :
@Jd Martin


With respect, I think that the aesthetics of SS are so much better than white, that it would make a tangible difference in the tenant's perception of how nice the unit is. With that, comes higher rent. I honestly think that if you renovate a kitchen and don't use SS appliances, you are making a mistake. 

Then again, I don't know what your margins are like. If you are renovating every kitchen in a 20 unit building, that difference in price adds up. 

 I guess I would question what data you have to back up your theory that SS = higher rent. I have my own personal experience with lots of tenants across a bunch of properties that I own. My proof may be nothing more than anecdotal evidence in my own market, but it is evidence. I've renovated most of my properties, and all of the renovations got white appliances, and they have all rented for market rates. I have never had a single tenant, or prospective tenant, comment on the fact that the appliances were white instead of SS.

My experience with renters is that they value location, square footage, basic amenities and practicality over all other aspects of a property. White appliances are easy to care for and keep looking good, which means easy deposit return later. 

To @Jd Martin 's point, I think it's a matter of "if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it". I 100% agree when taking possession of a property. The exception to that would be for a property that rents for more than x. 

I leave the number blank because to @Dillon Leider 's point, there is nothing superior to stainless steel. If you purchase appliances through an exchange program, you can typically get stainless steel for a fraction of the cost and still look like the swanky place. The other thing we've done that has allowed our properties to look so nice is we've purchased packages of appliances as a set. Sometimes you can get good deals that way as well and they're brand new. 

All of this being said, I need to strongly disagree with @Johann Jells . Maybe it's a California thing, but no one out here uses black appliances. Black appliances scream 90's Fraiser era. Everything here is white and bright or stainless steel at least when it comes to appliances. I'm sure it's market specific though.

Originally posted by @Kristina Heimstaedt :

All of this being said, I need to strongly disagree with @Johann Jells. Maybe it's a California thing, but no one out here uses black appliances. Black appliances scream 90's Fraiser era. Everything here is white and bright or stainless steel at least when it comes to appliances. I'm sure it's market specific though.

 So what do you do about the top and often parts of the rest of the range being black, as well as often parts of the MW and DW? By me, black beats plain vanilla, and I've heard lots of other say so too. I guess markets vary, but as was said upthread, no one ever says they don't want it because of the appliances unless they're ancient. But it adds to the overall feel. Actually, you make me feel better about my all white units!! 

Here's a black one

Lowes online get a 10% off coupon. The apartment size frig is very affordable. They are all made in China. Haijer bought GE, Hotpoint so GE brand is mostly from China also. Samsung is on the high side. My appliance guy tells me they are not reliable.

I have luck with Vertex 2 on West San Carlos & Sunol in SJ 95126. It is a refurbished store about 40% off from anyone else. Work through owner Nancy as rest barely speak English. They set up and take or buy your old appliance w/ 90 day warranty, 

Magic chef makes a small, affordable, apartment sized SS they sell at HD. Avanti and summit are RV brands and too expensive for homes

Originally posted by @Kristina Heimstaedt :

To @Jd Martin's point, I think it's a matter of "if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it". I 100% agree when taking possession of a property. The exception to that would be for a property that rents for more than x. 

I leave the number blank because to @Dillon Leider 's point, there is nothing superior to stainless steel. If you purchase appliances through an exchange program, you can typically get stainless steel for a fraction of the cost and still look like the swanky place. The other thing we've done that has allowed our properties to look so nice is we've purchased packages of appliances as a set. Sometimes you can get good deals that way as well and they're brand new. 

All of this being said, I need to strongly disagree with @Johann Jells . Maybe it's a California thing, but no one out here uses black appliances. Black appliances scream 90's Fraiser era. Everything here is white and bright or stainless steel at least when it comes to appliances. I'm sure it's market specific though.

 I love black appliances in my own house (I have them) but they're a lot of work to keep looking nice and thus not practical (in my opinion) for a rental property. It's like owning a black car - nothing looks sharper than a finely waxed black car (especially a Miata! :) ), but you are going to spend a lot of time and effort to make it look good all of the time. 

I realize we are talking mainly about stoves but on a side note: the gaskets for a white refrigerator are much less expensive than the ones for a black refrigerator.  Strange but true.  Just replaced one of both in a couple of rentals.  That alone makes white appliances my vote.  Plus white opens things up to make the kitchen look bigger and brighter.  

I would definitely recommend Sears and Home Depot as stated above, especially because it doesn’t sound like those online companies will take away your old appliances. Maybe I’m wrong? I admittedly don’t have any experience with them. I just know for me it would be a pretty huge headache trying to dispose of an old useless stove or refrigerator.

Originally posted by @Jd Martin :

 I love black appliances in my own house (I have them) but they're a lot of work to keep looking nice and thus not practical (in my opinion) for a rental property. It's like owning a black car - nothing looks sharper than a finely waxed black car (especially a Miata! :) ), but you are going to spend a lot of time and effort to make it look good all of the time. 

 Certainly maintaining them is easier than keeping a stainless Appliance from being streaky. And I think it's just as hard to keep a white car clean as a black one! 

Actually, this is the same reason why I'm considering painting the chair rail and below of my stairwells dark, it will show less all the marks from tenants moving crap like bikes up and down. I have that in one property and you can't see marks unless they actually take a bite out of the wall.

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