How to Choose the Right Appliances for your Rental Property
Thanks to popular home improvement TV shows like Fixer Upper, Property Brothers, Flip or Flop and Love it or List it, homeowners and renovators are often associated with new appliances in the kitchen and laundry rooms.
Yet rental property managers often have to buy them for their condos, houses and apartments. Tastes for property managers might not be as esoteric as you might see in home improvement shows, however sensible, quality appliances are an investment with ROI.
In the current economic climate, you can raise rents higher and improve your property investment returns, and perhaps capture a much better quality tenant and keep them happy.
Modern Appliance Features & Benefits
The typical kitchen appliances are fridges, stoves, microwaves, and dishwashers and perhaps the ubiquitous coffee machine. Toaster ovens, wine coolers and extra freezers are possibilities too if there’s room. And in the laundry room, you have your dryer and washing machine.
It makes sense to buy durable appliances that require little maintenance and ones that can fit into the space. We discuss the top benefits renters want below.
You can discuss features, warranties, and maintenance free operation with the sales person and make sure you get all your needs covered now, and for many many years.
Upgrading to New Means a Happier Tenant and Less Time Waste for You
When you’re buying a condo or apartment, the stoves, clothes washers, and dishwashers may have outlived their usefulness and are becoming a liability or perhaps hazardous.
Unseen frayed cords, broken elements, and leaking refrigerant on run down appliances that gobble up electricity is a hazard. It’s now way to treat your valued tenant. And in an era of high apartment rental prices, renters expect something better.
Old appliances, to the renter, may mean poor performance and breakdowns, which would require them to pester you to fix them. And non gas powered dryers and dishwashers means higher electricity bills. As negatives build up, high quality tenant applicants begin to walk away. New appliances attract good tenants.
When you the owner or property manager choose to upgrade the appliances, it makes the unit rentable at a higher rate to better prospective tenants. It’s surprising that some tenants are so sensitive to the appearance, type and quality of the appliances in the kitchen and laundry room, and that’s exactly why upgrades work.
Plan Your Appliance Purchase
But before you start shopping, think about your tenant’s lifestyle, how many people will occupy the apartment/condo, and what features are not commonly offered in comparable rentals. With appliances with extra benefits and a cool appearance, renters will want your unit instead of comparable units available. The apartment renters search will stop when they see your apartment.
Believe it, because for them, it’s all about comfort and convenience. The home is a place where stressed out workers who commute want to come home to a place they like and feel good in. For instance, having a stackable washer/dryer in the apartment unit might be considered a big bonus. No one likes public laundry rooms. Help your renter avoid pain.
The Kitchen as the Heart of the Home
It’s a cultural thing today that the kitchen is the center of the home, in contrast to decades past when the living room was king. Renters too like to cook, prepare healthy meals, and cook/store a wider variety of foods, drinks, and ingredients than they used to. That means the kitchen is a well used space whether families in condos or couples in apartments.
Kitchen and Laundry Appliances
So lets start with kitchen appliances and laundry appliances, and then in later posts we can talk furnaces, air conditioners, lighting, and bathroom/kitchen fixtures.
What are your main criteria to guide your selection:
- appropriate style and features for the target tenant (upscale renters and older renters may expect sophisticated, modern refrigerators and washers, and they be influenced by a wine cooler)
- price point (the maximum you can spend for a high quality appliance that is maintenance free)
- service and parts warranty costs
- cost of gas, water, and electric power in your community
- sizes (size of family)
- presence of young children in the unit
If you want to play it safe, you might choose stainless steel appliances as a neutral but modern style that doesn’t turn anyone off.
Washers and Dryers
Styles, capability, and energy savings are big in modern washers and dryers. New washing machines don’t use physical agitators which break and wear down clothes. Open viewing, side loading washers and dryers let you load your clothes and soap and walk away.
And there’s nothing much to break. On older units, door handles, switches, and agitators get stuck leading to costly repairs. They look impressive to renters. Matching dryers powered by gas help tenants avoid high utility bills.
You might have your own ideas about which appliance brands are best, and which ones are liable to result in repair costs. Keep in mind that appliance repairs can be expensive. It makes no sense to buy a $300 washer if it will require a $300 repair plus maintenance in 3 years.
Here’s 8 Top Appliance Features to Look at:
1. flat top electric range with a variety of cooking modes because they’re easy to clean
2. stainless steel fridge, oven and dishwashers for clean appearance and ease of cleaning
3. large 20+ cu ft refrigerators for plenty of food storage and a cold water/ice cube dispensing unit as well as a large 9 cu ft freezer for frozen pizzas and more
4. gas powered clothes dryer for cost savings
5. side-loading washing machine which lock and don’t allow manipulation of clothing or soap which reduces user caused damage to the appliance
6. ultra-quiet energy star efficiency dishwasher
7. large 1000 watt microwave oven for cooking just about anything quickly
8. quiet range hood fan that whisks away smoky odors without deafening tenants
Check out the appliances on Home Depot for selection from top name brand manufacturers including LG, Samsung, GE, Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Frigidaire, and Bosch. Prices of fridges range from $400 to $7000, and washers from a low $400 to $1200.
Check out consumer reviews of appliances just as regular home buyers would and find the right ratings for durability and maintenance free operation. Before you buy, consider how much it costs to fix and what is needed to ensure warranties aren’t voided, and educate your tenants on operation and cleaning.
We hope this post gets you thinking about the value of appliance upgrades and in taking care of the long term profitability of your properties. There’s a price point that you can live with to give your tenants the quality of life they’re looking for.
Generosity is a sign of a good character and your tenants will think highly of you when your treat them well and show that you respect their lives. What goes around comes around!
With new appliances and other delicate features in the apartment, you may want to ask renters to buy renters insurance. Today it’s increasingly desirable to cover all your insurance needs.
Speaking of high quality, you deserve the best property management software solution too. Try a simple, user friendly cloud-based rental management app that helps you manage tenants, tenant requests, tame your paperwork beast and let you access records anywhere, anytime. Landlords, owners, tenants and contractors love it too.
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