Part of being a successful landlord is providing the amenities that modern tenants are looking for. It is no secret that a beautiful and updated kitchen adds value to both home sales and rentals. Therefore, energy-efficient or new appliances are a fantastic way to attract tenants, but it does come at a cost. Understanding where to best spend your money to get the greatest return is essential for landlords. Join us below as we discuss tips for choosing rental home appliances and how to get the most bang for your buck!
What to Consider Before Investing in Rental Home Appliances
Before we get started with the best appliance choices, let’s take a look at a few things to consider. Purchasing new or upgraded rental home appliances is a significant investment. So, savvy shopping and weighing your options is your best chance for favorable ROI. Before making your decision, check out these factors:
- What Will a Tenant Need?
- Every Bit of Energy Savings Matters
- Balancing Value and Perceived Value
- Can Landlords Qualify for Added Tax Incentives?
- Create an Appliance Addendum in the Lease
What Will a Tenant Need?
Choosing appliances for a rental property is different than choosing them for your own home. The key here is value and mass appeal. So, ask yourself, what could make a tenant’s life more convenient? Take time to research current rental trends, look at the local competition, and choose a timeless appliance design.
Every Bit of Energy Savings Matters
“Energy Star” is a term many owners may be familiar with. However, you might not realize that Energy Star appliances are a part of a voluntary program through the US Environmental Protection Agency. Items with this rating are a solid investment for landlords, and tenants can reap the benefits of added utility savings.
Balancing Value and Perceived Value
Since appliances are a large investment for property owners, knowing what local renters expect is important. Thus, the rental home appliances you choose need to match the expectations of the area. The best way to evaluate this is to check out the local competition. For example, purchasing luxury appliances for a mid-range neighborhood may not net landlords the same investment return. So, ensure the decisions you make match the needs of the market.
Can Landlords Qualify for Added Tax Incentives?
Maybe! Not only does upgrading the appliances add rental and resale value, but tax incentives may also be on the horizon. Under tax law section 179, landlords may deduct the cost of appliances on their taxes. That said, property owners must meet certain requirements, so research ahead of time to ensure your purchase will qualify.
Create an Appliance Addendum in the Lease
Once you have brand new appliances, you want to make sure they are protected. Therefore, the rental agreement should have clauses that list all included appliances and stipulate any special maintenance requirements or responsibilities. Doing so will hold tenants accountable for keeping the appliances in tip-top shape for years to come.
Tips for Choosing the Best Rental Home Appliances
So, now that you have an idea of what to consider before making your purchase let’s delve a little deeper into specific appliances. Appliances are a great way to attract tenants, but only if landlords choose wisely. Check out these tips to help you narrow down your choices.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Washer and Dryer
An in-unit washer/dryer is a huge bonus, as well as a selling point for tenants. The added convenience allows landlords to charge additional monthly rent of around $25 to $50.00, depending on local market comps. That said, consider the items below before purchasing a washer and dryer for your rental property.
- The Type of Washer and Dryer – Space constraints are considered when choosing the best unit to provide your tenants. Thankfully, these units come in various options, from combination washer/dryer to large capacity front load side by side models. Choose what suits the rental property and expected occupancy. For example, a studio apartment would likely benefit from a space-saving under-counter combination unit, while a 4-bedroom single-family home with a separate laundry room would need something larger. Whatever size is needed, try to select something that is energy efficient and offers water-saving technology.
- Energy Ratings – Anywhere tenants or landlords can save on utility cost is a bonus. Appliances that are Energy Star Certified are worth the investment for property owners. For example, washing machines with this rating use, on average, 25% less energy and 30% less water than standard models. That savings can add up.
- Utility Hookups – Before choosing the washer and dryer you want, take a look at the hookups you have. Dryers come in either gas or electric models. Therefore, to save on added expenses, stick with the hookup you already have.
- Unexpected Repairs – Whenever possible, choosing appliances with a warranty or service plan can save money in the long run. Any time landlords add additional features to the home, such as a washer/dryer, plan to set aside a few extra funds for potential repairs.
Which Is Better, a Gas Range or Electric Stove?
Generally, a home will have either an electric outlet for the stove or a gas line ready for hook-up. Which one your rental has plays a major role in which rental home appliances you purchase. That said, both options come with pros and cons.
Electric Stoves –
- Slight risk of fire or electrocution if not properly installed
- Electric ovens cook more evenly than gas
- Less expensive initial cost
Gas Ranges –
- Risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
- Cooks prefer the temperature control of a gas stovetop
- Greater initial expense but lower cost over time
What Makes a Good Refrigerator for a Rental Property?
Standard white refrigerators are cost-effective and work just fine. However, they are not appealing to the majority of renters. When choosing a refrigerator, consider these cost-saving yet practical options below.
- Faux Stainless Steel – For appliance shopping on a budget, consider faux stainless steel! This offers the look and durability of traditional stainless at a fraction of the cost. Another option is a stainless steel contact paper. This adhesive alternative is easy to apply, looks great, and is, most importantly, easy to replace.
- Skip the Ice – Ice makers are convenient and add value. However, the components of the ice maker can become detached and leak. So, while it is a great feature, the benefit may not outweigh the repair risk in a rental property.
How Long Should Rental Home Appliances Last?
Appliances that receive the proper care can last for many years, even in a high turnover environment like a rental. Landlords must consider both timely repairs and preventive servicing as equally important to get the most life out of their appliances. Below we list some common household appliances and their expected life. However, keep in mind many property owners decide to replace these well before they actually wear out. This could be due to things such as style changes or technology upgrades.
- Dishwashers – Approximately 9 years
- Dryers – Approximately 13 years
- Furnaces – Approximately 15 years
- Gas Ovens – Approximately 10 to 18 years
- Heat Pumps – Approximately 16 years
- Microwave Ovens – Approximately 9 years
- Electric Ranges – Approximately 13 to 15 years
- Gas Ranges – Approximately 15 to 17 years
- Refrigerators – Approximately 9 to 13 years
- Washing Machine – Approximately 10 years
- Water Heaters – Approximately 10 to 11 years
Tips for Protecting Your Rental Property Appliances from Damage
Repairs are an inevitable expense for landlords but avoiding what you can will save big in the long run. Some tenants will be rougher on appliances and may accidentally damage them. That said, setting up some clear maintenance needs or instructions in the rental agreement is vital. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at a few appliance care tips for keeping the hardest working appliances in your rental operating in tip-top shape.
- Refrigerator – A refrigerator is the hardest working appliance in any rental property. One of the easiest ways to extend its life is to monitor the condenser coil. Simply vacuuming these a few times per year can improve efficiency and extend the life of the appliance.
- Washer and Dryer – There are a few common reasons these units do not reach their full potential. Negligent emptying of the lint trap, using too much soap, or overloading the cycle with too many items can all damage a washer or dryer. Insist tenants monitor the dryer vents and follow manufacturer guidelines for load weight and ideal soap measurements.
- Dishwasher – Rinsing dishes before loading the dishwasher is a great idea to prevent excessive build-up. Additionally, the filtering screen needs regular rinsing to ensure proper drainage. Since build-up can accumulate over time, run the unit empty with a mixture of water and either vinegar or specialized cleaner to keep it performing efficiently.
Replacing or upgrading rental home appliances requires careful consideration. However, with informed choices, proper maintenance, and clear tenant accountability in the lease, landlords can reap the benefits of adding value through appliances. If you are searching for ways to maximize your investment return, why not consider professional property management?
Bay Property Management Group is the area’s leading third-party management specialist. We offer full-service property management throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, DC, and Northern VirginiaOur team takes the guesswork out of effective rental management. We understand what it takes to balance tenant satisfaction with a property owner’s bottom line. To see what we can do for you, give us a call today!