Purchasing rental appliances - Posted by Katharine (OR)

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Purchasing rental appliances - Posted by Katharine (OR)

Posted by Katharine (OR) on July 05, 2004 at 15:48:35:

Hi everyone, I just wanted to ask for any opinions/past experiences from landlords. I own a few rental properties and recently aquired another one that I will have to buy a stove and fridge for. I am semi new to real estate so haven’t have to replace any appliances in other units yet. Does anyone suggest I buy the best quality (such as Maytag brand, etc.)or just the cheapest appliances? Does one really last longer in a rental? Also, do you usually buy self-cleaning ovens or just the cheapest thing available? I am considering self-cleaning because I don’t want to mess with it when someone moves out. Thanks for any suggestions or opinions! -Katharine (Oregon)

The Appliance gospel according to David… - Posted by David Krulac

Posted by David Krulac on July 06, 2004 at 19:52:22:

and if I could I would never rent any place with any appliances.

However, the market and tradition sometimes dictates otherwise.

Here’s what I try to do.

  1. Rental houses I rent with as few appliances as possible. Just showed a house tonight only appliance is a stove. I have several reasons for this inlcuding expense of buying appliances, expense of repairing appliances, and tennats who bring their own HEAVY appliances tend to stay longer and not move.

  2. For special situations like luxury places I disobey rule number 1 and have all appliances including refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, disposal, washer and dryer. I’ll often buy used appliances. I can get a stove for $150 with a year warranty.

  3. For rental apartments I usually provide refrigerator and stove, sometimes a washer and dryer.

  4. I would not buy expensive appliances like Maytag. If bought new I’ll buy the cheapest decent appliance I can find.

  5. I triple hate garbage disposals. I’ll pull out working disposals for any property on a septic. And an disposal that breaks, other than a luxury place will be replaced with a drain basket and PVC pipe.

  6. I haven’t included window air condtioner since the 1970’s. If tenants want window air conditioner they can bring them themselves, though 3 times this year the tennats have installed them wrong with the water draining into the house!

  7. When I buy a place with existing appliances that are beyond what I would put in there, the lease specifies that the appliances are gratis and that they will NOT be repaired. The tennat has the option of having them repaired themselves, or I will dispose of the dead appliance.

  8. An attorney friend of mine who has beaucoup rentals NEVER rents any unit whether house, apartment or mobile with a refrigerator, after an incident where
    refrigerator failed and tenant wanted reimbursed for lost food. Now all his tennats own their own refrigerator and are resposible for their own food losses.

  9. One tenant of mine rented a new refirgerator rather than accept a used one for free from me that needed to be cleaned. Go figure!

Re: Purchasing rental appliances - Posted by GL(ON)

Posted by GL(ON) on July 06, 2004 at 15:33:16:

Do you belong to a local landlord’s association, rental group, investor’s club or what have you? Once a year, have them put out a flyer offering wholesale appliances and see how many people respond. Our group does this, and usually sells 30 or 40 stoves fridges etc. This allows us to get a special wholesale deal from a local appliance dealer, saving big $$$$$ on brand new, name brand appliances.

Re: Purchasing rental appliances - Posted by Frank Chin

Posted by Frank Chin on July 06, 2004 at 05:14:31:


My opinion is it depends on what’s available in comparable units in your area. I always include a fridge and stove with my units, and I’ve been renovating my rentals, and renovated units include a dishwasher as well. Some units even include a “washer dryer”. I’ve taken out window A/C’s due to mainteance issues, unless its a “thru the wall” unit".

My reasons:

1- In my area, NYC, and suburbs, many apartments and homes available for rent includes such appliances. A few don’t and I hear applicants complain loudly about them, and they usually avoid those units.

2- Rents for SFH runs $2,000 or more. If the tenant pay “first, last, a months security” PLUS appliances for another $1,500, then he’s into $7,500 already. That’s not far from paying 3% down on a $300,000 home that often includes appliances.

3- I price my units 10% below market PLUS have my rentals look just so, and I manage usually to rent it out in one day, often on the third week of the month, after I have time to paint and clean the place whent he prior tenant vacates the last day of the prior month. In other words, I rent out a unit on the third week of June for July 1 occupancy, rather than to wait for a tenant to give his 30 day notice, and start on Aug 1, resulting in losing a months rent.

I just rented a unit out for June 1 on the third weekend in May. The tenant I picked originally wanted to move in July 1 so he can give 30 days notice where he was. But after I told them that several applicants (which was true) wanted the place for June 1, and will be given priority, this applicant who happens to be my first choice worked something out with his prior landlord, and the 30 days was waived.

Because he rented his prior home for 15 years, the wife made over 100K/year, the husband works 2 free lance businesses, PLUS the fact that they rented for so long because they don’t have a desire to be a homeowner, and an excellent credit report made them my top choice - compared to others.

4 -I had a dozen applicants who wanted the place because it was:

a- 10% below market
b- Includes an AC, washer, dryer, dishwasher, stove, fridge.
c- Painted and newly carpeted.

By renting this a month sooner, and a good possibility they stay 5 to 10 years compared to the normal 2 years, my ability to offer value would in the long run save me plenty in turnover costs, besides collecting a months extra rent to begin with.

5- I now buy stoves with self cleaning ovens because rentals with dirty ovens are a big turnoff, and the wife was tired of spending hours cleaning ovens with the irony that we don’t have a self cleaning unit ourselves, and we don’t have time to clean our oven adequatley.

The funny thing we found was some tenants who complain about an oven not thouroughly cleaned when they first rented the place, after my wife spent hours scouring it, are the same ones that leaves an oven never cleaned when they leave.

YES - for this reason, I find the few extra dollars well spent, and if tenants can just have the oven clean itself, after each use, it’ll save half a days work for us during turnover of the units, since as I mentioned, some tenants never bother to clean the ovens.

Hope this helps.

Frank Chin

Re: Purchasing rental appliances - Posted by Carl CA

Posted by Carl CA on July 05, 2004 at 18:48:41:


I don’t recommend supplying any appliances other than a range. Rich is right, tenants will beat the heck out of them, won’t clean them, and will want to charge you for their spoiled food when the fridge fails (and it always does eventually). Dishwashers and refers with icemakers will leak and ruin your floors. Heck, I’ve even shown up to find that when they vacated - they’ve taken them all! Guess they don’t get their deposit back…

When I buy ranges, I buy the least expensive kind - for one of the reasons listed above. Cleaning is your tenant’s responsibility, no need to spring for a self-cleaning range. The tenant gets charged for leaving it dirty.

BTW - I’m not a slumlord either. My houses are nice.


Re: Purchasing rental appliances - Posted by RichV(FL)

Posted by RichV(FL) on July 05, 2004 at 17:43:38:


I buy the stuff thats on sale. I try to shop around a bit but in general I stick with the cheaper appliances.

Most tenants beat the heck out of them anyway so for me buying Maytag just is not worth it.

One thing I do not do is buy used stuff. I tried that a few years back and had nothing but problems with them.



Re: The Appliance gospel according to David… - Posted by Eliza Terry

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Re: The Appliance gospel according to David… - Posted by Frank Chin

Posted by Frank Chin on July 07, 2004 at 05:15:16:


Is this the same attorney friend that ripped out all his UST’s??

I have my tenants buy renters insurance, and I believe the policies cover food spoilage. I also had two small portable refigerators that I’ve hauled over to the tenant’s rentals on a few occasions that refigerators failed, and the repairs won’t be made till the next day, or I had to order a new unit, and it it won’t be delievered for a few days.

So far, no one sued me on food spoilage.

As to window AC’s, I stopped supplying them when we had to clean and change filters as tenants fail to maintain them. But the straw that broke the camel’s back was a young lady tenant who often complained about the apartment being too cold in the winter. We tried everything, but only by taking the AC units out of the windows winter time that we managed to raise the interior temperatures by 5 to 10 degrees especailly on windy days. This means I have to put the units back in come every summertime.

What a pain.

She was the only tenant that tried suicide in my rental, but was found in time after her boyfriend isnsisted on our entering the unit with the passkey after she couldn’t be reached for a whole day. I insisted she move out afterwards.

Frank Chin

Re: Purchasing rental appliances - Posted by Jimmy Henson

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Re: Purchasing rental appliances - Posted by Nev Bowers

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Re: Purchasing rental appliances - Posted by Tiffany

Posted by Tiffany on July 07, 2004 at 15:17:30:

Hi Frank,
I found your post very informative. I have a couple of questions if you don’t mind.
I am also renting my condo in new york area (queens), my question is, how do you rent your unit out in a day. I don’t mean making your property attractive, but rather how do you qualify the potential renter in a day. What kind of documents and information do you ask them to give you and do you ask them to bring it when they first come to see your property? do you ask them to get their own credit report and give it to you? do you ask them for bank statement, copies of SSN and drivers license? I am a bit scared and always wonder if I forget to ask them for important document. If you can give me a list of things to request and how to make it more efficient, I really apprecaite it.

thank you.
Tiffany (newbie to landlording)

ovens and the cost of vacancies - Posted by Anne_ND

Posted by Anne_ND on July 06, 2004 at 13:25:11:


I agree with you, I’d rather give the tenants something “extra” and have them happy and stay longer. We provide washer, dryer, range and frig, and sometimes even microwaves and dishwashers. I usually put in better quality appliances so that I get fewer repairs and the tenants seem to treat them better.

When we put someone into a rental I pay a cleaning company ahead of time to come in and clean everything- especially bathrooms and kitchens. It’s expensive ($300 for a 3-bedroom house, not including windows or carpet cleaning), but they do a better job than I could (and I’m tired of that particular chore). Then when the tenants leave I tell them the place has to be as clean as when they moved in, and if it isn’t then I’ll send in my cleaners and it comes out of the security deposit. I also offer to just have the cleaners do the job and pass on my discount to the tenant (from the money that comes out of the security). Most tenants have been happy to let me have it cleaned by my cleaners, and I’m happy to have a professional job, rather than the tenant clean.

The cost of vacancies was recently brought home to me. For the first time I’ve had to deal with a vacancy for more than one month, and it’s all my own fault. We owned a condo where we were assessed a $5000 fee for new windows and roof for the whole complex, plus the condo fees went up again. We were given 5 months to come up with the $5000. I decided to sell the condo, and we gave our long-term excellent tenants 60 days notice. I’ve been unable to sell or rent the condo since then, probably because the kitchen needs renovation (it’s clean but old).

So now we’re looking for a lower rent than what we had in there, two months vacancy, probably replacing kitchen cabinets and bathroom linoleum, and the place was vandalized while it was vacant. The only good thing is that the condo association, upon a rebellion by irate condo owners have backed down on the $5000 assessment and are going to assess the money in a more reasonable fashion after they get more estimates. All of this could have been avoided if we could put a dog-owner into the unit, but the condo association also recently outlawed dogs. I will never buy another condo, that’s for sure!

take care, Anne

Re: Purchasing rental appliances - Posted by Beachboy-GA

Posted by Beachboy-GA on July 05, 2004 at 18:46:06:

Find you a good used appliance shop and stick with them.Also I buy scratch and dent stuff… and keep in mind. Try not to get the ones with all the bells and whistles… the more you have in the house, the more you will have to keep up.I also have a repairman who works for a large co. that comes after hours and fixes them reasonable.I like the saying…They cant tear up what aint in there.

Re: Purchasing rental appliances - Posted by Frank Chin

Posted by Frank Chin on July 07, 2004 at 17:33:36:


There’s three major things tenants look for:

1- A below market apartment. Ten percent below attracts many lookers.

2- Average to above average appliances and extras. A fridge and stove is a must in the NYC area, with a dishwasher close behind, as many younger folks growing up with dishwashers don’t know how to wash dishes by hand.

Then, washers, dryers, and A’C’s are further attractions.

3- Freshly painted, cleaned, and carpets shampooed. No bad odors

If you can do all of the above, you can rent it out in a day, for IMMEDIATE OCCUPANY if not the first of the following month. I make it clear whoever can move in the earliest gets preference.

If you are a newbie landlord, you’ll need to do the following:

A- Get a good rental application, which also serves as your authoriztion to do credit, eviction, background checks.

B- Sign up with a “tenant screening service” I used “American Tenant Screening”, though there are many of them out there. Refer to their URL:


C -Check out “MrLandlord.com”. I beleive they may have applications, but they also run a screening service.

When you have a serious applicant, ask them for:

i) Latest Pay stubs, 1099’s.

ii) Cancelled checks or receipts evidencing timely payment of rent.

Hope this helps.

Frank Chin

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A few words on condos - Posted by Frank Chin

Posted by Frank Chin on July 07, 2004 at 04:37:47:


Nice hearing from you. I also feel your pain on condos.

I have a condo that I failed to sell a few years ago, in early 2001. Bought it as an REO back in the early 90’s S&L crises, when the bank itself was taken over by the RTC.

Its one of those situations that’s a nice rental, but difficult to sell. The condos themselves were brand new in 1991, and so’s everything inside. The place still looks brand new today, i.e.the common areas as well as inside the condo units, with excellent upkeep.

We placed it on the market when a good tenant of two years told us he was leaving, and renting a SFH in town with a freind. It was January, not a great time to start selling, but we went ahead anyway.

August came around, and we had no real offers. The town has down payment grants for first time homebuyers, and one and only potential buyer was interested, but had to “take a homwowner’s course” before she qualified, and because the courses were all booked up, had to take the October class. She was not interested to L/O in the meantime, and I didn’t want to take a risk of closing in Dec, have the deal fall through, and try renting the place out, or selling it next January, not to mention having the place vacant for ONE WHOLE YEAR.

My sister who manages this out of state condo kept in touch with the former tenant via e-mails, and joked with him that he’s welcomed back if things don’t work out. As it turned out, by August, the former tenant was dissatified either with his roommate, or the place he rented, and asked if he can return.

So by September, he moved back in, and we had him ever since.

If I had to do it over again, I’ll never buy a “one BR condo”, though I added a den. It does not have a big resale market. For a few dollars more, I could’ve bought a 2BR back then.

As to condo fees, thank goodness we have over 75% owner occupants in the place, and the owners took on many functions such as interior cleaning, landscaping, changing bulbs, “move-in move-out” etc., when fees started escalating. Now the management company basically handles billing and collecting the monthly fees.

The condo has a landmark designation, and I understand roof replacement can cost a million. Its got specialized state of the art heatpumps within each unit that cost thousand to replace. On top of which the company that made it is out of business.

Do you hear “motivated seller”?? LOL.

Frank Chin

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