This article was posted on Sunday, Jun 01, 2014

Let’s just be honest – appliances are a pain in the butt.  They are one of the costliest parts of my business.  I am constantly buying new ones, getting them repaired, moving them in and moving them out.  It does not seem like there is a week that goes by that some appliance doesn’t require my attention.

If I could get out of the appliance business, I would.  But for the most part, my rental market will not let me.  In my part of the world, almost all of my competitors supply appliances.  Meaning at least a stove and refrigerator along with a dishwasher and a washer and dryer, if the connections exist – are a part of the rental package.  If I did not supply appliances, I would lose most of the good tenants to my competitors or my rents would have to be significantly lower.

The Reality of Supplying Appliances

It isn’t always standard to supply appliances.  It is extremely localized and dependent on your specific market.  For example, the provision of appliances differs depending on the area of town you are in.  In some of the lower-end parts of town, appliances are never supplied due to issues with theft.  Sometimes, only a stove may be supplied and the unit is advertised as having hookups for other appliances.

The provision of appliances may also depend on the type of unit you are renting.  Apartment units usually provide appliances as opposed to single family home rentals.  It often seems to be the case with single family home rentals that the tenants are moving from another single family home and tend to have their own appliances.  So, even if you did supply them, you would likely need to move them out and store them.

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Check out the classified ads both in your local paper and on websites such as Backpage and Craigslist.

What are Other Landlords Doing?

If you do find that appliances are generally provided in your market, here are some tips to help you out:

  • Find a good used appliance shop.  Prices will be significantly less and most items will work just as well.
  • Always buy refrigerators and dishwashers new.  I have tried used refrigerators and dishwashers and find that they just do not last.  For a few dollars more, it is worth it to buy these items new.  Just look through the sales at your local big box stores for the best price.
  • Make sure the used appliance store thoroughly cleans their inventory.  The last thing you need is bugs brought to your property by dirty appliances.
  • Find a used appliance store that delivers.  Not all of them do.  Believe me, you do not want to waste your time moving appliances around.  You have better and more important things to do.  You may have to pay a little more, but it is so worth it.
  • Find a used appliance store that will also make repairs.  Many do not and you may have to search for a while but that repair person will be worth their weight in gold.
  • Finally, wheel and deal.  Everything is negotiable in the used appliance business.   Haggle a bit on the price.  Ask for discounts.  Trade in your broken appliances for “new” ones – (they want them for the parts).

I hope you can avoid getting into the appliance business all together.  But if you’re like me and cannot really avoid it, use these tips to help you out.

Kevin Park is co-founder of Kevron Properties and has been involved in real estate investing for 10 years.  Reprinted with permission of the Wisconsin Apartment Association News.


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