While providing appliances in rental homes is not a legal requirement for landlords, it is pretty rare to find rental units that don’t provide them. Having these appliances up to date can do wonders for your rental property. They add value to your home, and can warrant rent increases. Your tenants may also appreciate lower electric bills from energy efficient machines, as well as the aesthetically pleasing looks upgraded appliances can deliver. In this article we’ll be covering the basics: stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers, washers, and dryers.
There are two different styles of stoves: ranges and cook tops. Let’s go over what exactly these are, and the pros and cons of each.
Ranges are an appliance that has an oven and a cook top in one unit. These are the most common types of stoves. There are two different types of ranges: gas and electric. The type of hook up your home has will more than likely determine which type of range your home will have. If there is just an electrical outlet, it will be an electric range. If there is a gas line running to the home, it will be gas.
You can also switch which type of hook up the kitchen has, however, it can get rather costly. Likewise, you could also have a dual range, in which the stove top uses gas and the oven uses electricity. This option is more costly.
Cook tops are burners that sit on top of a counter top and are separate from the oven. It offers flexibility in placement, and allows for cabinet space underneath. It’s also great for larger kitchens where there is a separately placed oven. Cook tops also have different types: gas, electric, and induction. Induction is rather different, requiring special pots and pans in order to use them.
When deciding between gas and electric ranges or cook tops, there are three areas you want to look into.
Price: Gas is cheaper in the long run, but does cost more upfront. Electric has a smaller upfront cost, but does weigh heavier on your electric bill.
Function: People who pride themselves on being chefs will opt for gas units. Gas units heat up quicker and provide even cooking. They will also work even if the power has gone out. However, gas stoves can be quite difficult to operate at times.
Safety: Gas stoves are considered quite safe, with a small risk of gas leaks and fire. However, electric stoves are considered the safest type of oven.
The first thing you’ll want to do when deciding on a fridge for your home is to determine what size you need. Then, you can decide on a style, finish, and other small factors.
Fridges are usually listed by their internal capacity in cubic feet. This may be something you will want to consider as well, but what is most important is the external dimensions - to be sure it will fit in its place in your kitchen.
Measure your current unit’s depth, width, and height. This will narrow down your search by quite a lot. Keep in mind that the manufacturer’s measurements are actually up to an inch skinnier in order to allow room for installation.
You’ll also want to be sure that the doors have enough clearance to swing or move outwards. If you have an island that creates a narrow space, or an inner corner fridge space, you especially want to be sure the doors or drawers of the fridge will hit against the island or other appliances.
Lastly, don’t forget to measure the height and width of the doorways in your home to ensure that you can actually get the fridge into the kitchen.
As previously mentioned, fridge companies may place a lot of emphasis on the cubic space available inside the fridge. This may be something you want to consider, but we recommend placing it low on the list of importance. We’d recommend considering the layout of the shelves and drawers over sheer cubic space alone.
There are several different door types to choose from. Here we’ll list each style, and the reasons you might consider it for your home or rental home. We understand that you yourself will not be living in your rental home, so you may want to choose what is most practical for your kitchen space and budget. However, we will list other features as well, so that you may decide for yourself which style may be best.
Limited by kitchen space
Have a budget of at least $1500
Often store wide dishes or containers
Don’t mind a less organized freezer
Eat mostly fresh produce, veggies, and dairy
Side by Side:
Want premium features for a great price
Are limited by kitchen space
Eat more frozen food than fresh food
Are on a budget under $1000
Care most about reliability
Are concerned about energy efficiency
Have a lot of space in your kitchen
Have limited fridge space
Care about how your fridge looks in its space
Do not need all the storage of a full-depth fridge
Finish and Other Considerations
Stainless steel is definitely the most popular among homeowners and tenants alike. It is durable, fits with most decor, and some are even fingerprint resistant. Be aware, however, that some stainless steel will not hold magnets. Black stainless steel is regular stainless steel, but with a dark polymer coating. It is considered easier to clean than regular stainless steel.
Matching Other Appliances:
Surface textures and colors can vary between manufacturers. Even seemingly universal finishes, such as the aforementioned stainless steel. If you absolutely want to be sure your appliances match each other perfectly, you may want to stick to the same brand.
Drawers and Shelves:
Drawers with rollers open and close easier compared to their plastic-on-plastic guide counterparts.
Spill proof shelves will keep accidents contained and clean up to a minimum.
Gallon door storage can free up quite a lot of central fridge space by allowing jugs of milk and other drinks to be kept in the side door.
Ice Makers and Water Dispensers:
These two items are extremely convenient, and you can still find budget-friendly fridges with at least an ice maker.
The downside is that these can often be the parts of a fridge that most likely malfunction, so be sure to do your research and pick a fridge with a good track record and reliability with these areas.
Any new fridge you get will use much less energy than older models, leaving you or your tenants with a lessened energy bill.
You’ll want to use the yellow energy guide sticker as your reference for a fridge’s efficiency.
Installing a dishwasher (if you don’t already have one) adds value to your property. It’s a useful amenity to have and prospective tenants may specifically look for their rental to have this. There are three things you may want to consider when purchasing a dishwasher.
Capacity: If there’s space for multiple tenants, a standard-size dishwasher is going to be best. However, if your rental property is a studio, or has a small kitchen, a compact dishwasher should work.
Energy: You’ll want to keep and eye out for a dishwasher that has an Energy Star symbol. Whether you pay the electricity or your tenant does, the lower energy cost will be appreciated.
Disposal and Cleaning: Some dishwashers may have a feature that self-cleans and removes food residue during the cleaning cycle. For others, the individual will have to manually clean the unit and remove the food caught in the filter. Whichever one you choose, it is important to know how it is to be cleaned, so as to ensure proper maintenance.
Washers and Dryers
You may or may not have a washer and dryer in your rental property. If you do not, and your nearby competition does, you may want to consider having this a feature for the home. If you still do not want to provide them, it would be most beneficial to be sure the home at least has adequate washer and dryer hookups so that the tenants can install their own. However, if you are considering purchasing units for your home, or are simply replacing the ones you already have, there are three areas you’ll want to consider when buying.
Machine Type: The available space you have in the home or laundry room will largely dictate what type of machine you’ll be able to have. If you have very limited space, you may want to opt for a stackable unit, front loading units, or a single combo that both washes and dries clothes. However, if you have a common room or a designated area for a washer and dryer, you could go for a full side-by-side unit.
Modifications: Be sure to notate if you’ll need to make any special modifications to accommodate a washer and dryer. When considering electric vs. gas, it’s best just to stick to the type of machine you already have a hook up for.
Energy Saving: Keep a look out for machines that have the Energy Star symbol. Energy Star-certified washing machines use 25% less energy and 33% less water, and certified dryers use 20% less energy.
It's our sincerest hopes that this guide has helped you with your decision on what type/style of appliance is most fitting for your investment property! If you're looking to do other upgrades to your rental property, such as installing new windows or flooring, check out our other blog posts as well!