Can I save money buying used appliances?

Are Used Appliances a Good Deal?

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

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Buying Used Appliances

I need to know whether or not used appliances are a good deal and where to find them. I just bought a couple of foreclosures. They're pretty beat up, and I'll need to replace the appliances. I don't need anything fancy. I just want something that will work and won't cost a fortune. Should I buy low-end new stuff? Or are there some used appliance deals to be had?
A New Landlord

Consider the Potential Appliance User

Some good deals can be found by frequenting used appliance stores and Craigslist. You cannot, however, skimp too much on the kitchen appliances. The one thing that landlords and property managers really have to do is consider the kitchen from the perspective of the person who will be using it. The fail-safe scenario to use is thinking of a woman cooking for her four children regularly, and who has to deal with birthday parties for the kids in addition to the holiday get-togethers. The tenant needs to have a full-sized oven and fridge. Used or new, the fridge has to be at least 20 cu. ft. with all the shelving and drawers in good condition. I see too many landlords skimping in the kitchen; they'll buy that used $300 to $400 appliance and then turn around and have to replace it a year or two down the line. A $1,200 - $1,500 price tag may seem a lot, but it comes with a warranty and will last for 20-25 years easily. In accounting terms, that's barely $100 per year. It's also a lot less fuss.

What's Your Long-Term Plan?

As a former landlord and home renovator, the first question you need to ask yourself is what is your long-term plan for each home you have purchased. If you plan to hold them for an extended period as rental properties, then you will not want to be replacing appliances regularly. So, don't include the appliances and adjust your rent accordingly, or purchase the basic ones with an extended warranty, because (unfortunately) tenants tend not to take care of your appliances as they would their own appliances.

If you are planning to rapidly "flip" the houses and are only looking for a cosmetic upgrade in a low-end market, then you can find good-quality used appliances at Habitat ReStore and many thrift stores. Also check local (not big-box) appliance stores, because these often take trade-ins when they sell upgraded appliances, as well as your local Craigslist, where people will be trying to sell the appliances they have replaced in a recent upgrade.

However, if you are looking to gain top dollar sales prices from your home renovations, then I recommend getting the best mid-line new appliances you can afford. Sparkling kitchens with updated stoves, dishwashers, refrigerators, and stack washers/dryers really do help to improve overall sale prices and give potential buyers the "want to buy" mentality.

Check Out Scratch and Dent

I have found very inexpensive appliances at scratch and dent outlets. A local store called Stanton's has a store just for their scratch and dents and returns. They also carry some discontinued models. I got a discontinued gas stovetop for $500. It retailed for $1200! I also found a refrigerator with a dent on the side that was not noticed once it was set into place.
Melody in Louisiana

You Get What You Pay For

I live next to a rental house. Since the landlord bought the house eight years ago, he has replaced the brand new low-end dishwasher four times and the brand new low-end refrigerator three times. It depends on what you want to do with the house. Do you want to flip it or rent it? I would go to a new appliance store that has scratched and dented appliances and see what they have there. We actually have an outlet here just for those types of things. I can't see buying a $100 dishwasher and having to replace it every two years as being any bargain. If you are flipping it, I would think that the new buyers would want their own appliances. Remember that you get what you pay for and cheap gets cheap.

If You're Wanting to Flip…

I am a home stager and do a lot of staging for investors. Houses that look clean and fabulously refurbished with low-end new stove and dishwasher tend to sell very quickly. The investors that I stage for do not put a fridge in, but that new stove and dishwasher are a real selling point in getting the property sold quickly. We staged a house recently where the investor put in nice low-end appliances, and the property sold in less than 14 days. Good investment to get that house sold quickly!

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