Buying appliances for your rental properties is a part of providing your tenants with fine service and top amenities. Many rental properties include a stove, refrigerator and dishwasher as standard. Some properties even provide washers, dryers and microwaves. When one of those appliances is wearing out and the repair service person is estimating a bill that rivals the price of a new one, it’s time to go shopping.
Here are 5 tips for shopping for appliances so you get the best deal and keep a little money in your pocket, both immediately and over time.
Comparison Shop for Appliances
It always pays to shop around between 3 or 4 of the leading stores in your area. While one store may be running a sale, the competition may be willing to match that price just to get your business. Certain times of the year are also more popular for retailers to run sales, such as holiday weekends and after the winter holidays. Christmas, Fourth of July and Easter are generally top sales times for appliance stores. Going out of business and liquidation sales are also a great time to get the best deals on appliances.
Read Consumer Reviews on Appliances
Sometimes, cheap appliances are cheap for a reason. Even appliances with respectable brand names can put out products that consumers don’t like. Take the time to read online reviews and reports about some of the different brands and models you are interested in and get the real story. Consumer reviews evaluate price, performance, and more, so you get the actual experiences of hundreds or thousands of customers of the very products you are interested in. You will find reports that range from wonderful to awful, but you’ll get a general idea about the product if many different reports swing to one side or the other.
Consider Less Than New Appliance Options
Retail stores have models on the sales floor so customers can get a good look at all the features and details. However, these floor models eventually get outdated and replaced with the newer models. Retailers are often willing to sell the floor models at a discount, which means big savings for you. Other ways to save big are scratch and dent sales for appliances that have some cosmetic defects and therefore aren’t likely to be sold. Refurbished appliances, where something was returned and repaired, can also give you quality items at low prices.
Consider Appliance After-Purchase Costs
A low purchase price is not going to be worth it if the appliance repairs are overly expensive and frequent. Likewise, appliances that are not energy efficient can drain your wallet, as well as your tenants, in energy bills. Make sure that the brand and model you are considering has easy-to-get parts and that servicing it won’t be a problem. Look for the ENERGY STAR label or similar energy efficiency notice as well.
Unadvertised Specials and Other Extras
Sometimes, sales people at appliance stores know what’s coming around the corner and may be willing to tip you off about unadvertised specials, upcoming sales and other hot tips. You can also ask about freebies with regards to your purchase, like free delivery and installation, and taking out and disposing of the old appliance. It never hurts to ask and sometimes they will be eager to close the sale and will make it worth your while to buy right then and there.
Once you get the best appliance and get it installed in the rental property, don’t forget to leave a copy of the operating manual with the tenant. Make sure you have access to a manual as well, either via photo copy or online PDF.
When you can get a fine appliance at a good price, it’s a smart investment over the long term. Having nice appliances that work well and don’t need much repair will only add to your bottom line as you take good care of your real estate investment property.