Buying your own appliances is the hot new thing for renters?
March 2, 2009 10:00 PM   Subscribe

As a tenant, how feasible is buying your own major appliances for a place you're renting?

I've been hunting for apartments in Boston, and when I ask whether or not a building has a washer and dryer, I sometimes get the answer, "No, but it does have a hookup for a washer and dryer so you can get your own." They say the same thing about dishwashers sometimes.

This isn't a response I've heard from property managers in Chicago.

So, I guess some tenants actually do this? The thing is, washers and dryers appear to cost at least $300 a piece, then on top of that, there's delivery and installation. And when your lease is up, are you really going to deinstall it and take it with you?

What am I missing? Please shed some light on this mystery. I'll probably ask the next property manager I talk to about it, but they also tell me things like "oil heating than gas heating is better because it's much cleaner burning" so I figure it's good to hear it from people with a less vested interest.
posted by ignignokt to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
craigslist and a buddy with a truck. This is how people do it.
posted by Science! at 10:09 PM on March 2, 2009

Down here in Texas, this is fairly common. A lot of apartments--and virtually all apartments built in the last decade--come with W/D hookups for units that are tenant-supplied. There is also a thriving industry built around ripping off tenants...err, I mean, providing high-quality rental washers and dryers for a reasonable, low monthly fee with no extra charges (*cough*).

Dishwashers, stoves and refrigerators generally come with the unit and are of quality, size and state-of-maintenance directly related to the monthly price paid for said unit.

Again, seek out bargains on Craigslist and find some friends who owe you several favors, along with a truck, as Science! said. You will be much better off.
posted by fireoyster at 10:16 PM on March 2, 2009

Response by poster: So, when you're done with your lease, I guess most people have no difficulty with selling it off on Craigslist?
posted by ignignokt at 10:26 PM on March 2, 2009

I'm puzzled that you think this is a "mystery".
Have you invested in any nice pieces of furniture? Your own bed? A bookshelf? How do you move that around? Is it nicer than what you'd expect a landlord to provide? Same deal with appliances.

I've owned at least a washing machine (laundry) since I started flatting at 18, and never had additional problems moving it with all my other furniture.

"Installing" modern appliances is not a big deal - you don't have to use a sextant or pour cement or anything. You connect the hoses to the taps that are already in place, make sure the outlet hose goes to a drain, plug in socket and go.
posted by Catch at 10:28 PM on March 2, 2009

Best answer: You don't necessarily need craigslist or a buddy with a truck. Just call a washer/dryer repair person and ask if they can point you to a good source of used but working washers and dryers. If they don't sell them, they know someone who does. That someone can generally furnish the truck and installation for you. Then, when you leave, you sell it on craigslist. Alternately, you sell it back to whoever you bought it from.
posted by crinklebat at 10:31 PM on March 2, 2009

Nthing craigslist and buddies to move. And then sold them via craigslist when moving out.
posted by greta simone at 11:15 PM on March 2, 2009

Best answer: I've lived in rented student housing where we, the incoming tenants, brought the washing machine from the outgoing tenants (for a price reflecting the fact it was originally £100 and a few years old). It broke down half way through our tenancy, and I got a (used) replacement washing machine on ebay for about £50, picking it up in a normal car and manhandling it inside with the help of a friend. Upon our departure we sold our washer and dryer to the incoming tenants for a similar price.

Of course, I live in the UK, and our equivalent of "buddy with a truck" is "hired van that costs more than the washing machine itself".

I've also lived in other places where the landlord has supplied a washing machine. Usually the landlord rents it from a washing machine rental company, so when the cheap machine inevitably breaks down, the rental company takes care of repairing/replacing it.
posted by Mike1024 at 2:24 AM on March 3, 2009

Best answer: Yes, a lot of apartments, especially newer ones, have washer/dryer hookups. In some places the complex just purchases them for all units and they come as a regular feature, just like a fridge or oven. In others, you can rent (usually ~$30/month for the pair), or buy your own used or new.

I think the cognitive dissonance comes from the notion that any appliance must weigh about half a ton or something. I mean, it's metal, right? However, most washers weigh around 150 lbs, and dryers around 110. And the cheaper they are, the lighter.

I'm a renter, and I've had a set for 4 years now, but I've only moved once in that time. The actual moving of them wasn't a hassle (I have a massive, heavy, unwieldy desk that's much worse), and electric ones are easy to hook up (professional movers or your apartment's maintenance folks may help). They were an issue only in as much as they affected where I was willing to rent - a lot of people just buy and sell sets as they move, but I had received mine new as a gift, and they're pretty nice, so I didn't want to sell them unless I absolutely had to.

If you have a convenient laundromat, are trying to keep to a minimal amount of possessions, and/or may be moving frequently, they're probably more hassle than they're worth. However, if you're going to be in one place for a couple of years, it can be a great boon to quality of life.
posted by clerestory at 4:46 AM on March 3, 2009

This is fairly common. I've rented two houses that had hook-ups, one in Georgia and one in New York, and the house I recently bought did not come with a w/d because the previous residents were tenants who owned the w/d. So it's possible that if you buy something now, you'll end up taking it with you to your next location. Or just use a laundromat.
posted by saffry at 4:49 AM on March 3, 2009

This strikes me as fairly typical, too. In our last apartment, my wife and I got a set off Craigslist for $100 and got them home with my father-in-law's truck. When we were moving, we were too lazy to try to get rid of them and didn't want to move them, but the landlord was more than happy for "has hookups" to become "has a washer and dryer".
posted by Plutor at 4:53 AM on March 3, 2009

Best answer: I'm puzzled that you think this is a "mystery".
In defense of the OP, this would be weird to many people. I've lived in NYC, D.C. and Baltimore, and I've had a washer and dryer and I've not had a washer and dryer, but I've never lived in a rental unit that had a hook-up but no washer and dryer. The places without in-unit washers and dryers generally are old and just don't have the right set-up.
posted by Airhen at 5:00 AM on March 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In the apartments that I've rented, there was either a washer/dryer, or laundry facilities in the dungeon basement, or nothing. The "there are hookups!" line always struck me as a landlord cop-out in newly renovated "modern" apartments (i.e. I've decided not to bother providing laundry, but really, not damming you to a laundromat, see!)

The only people I know who bothered procuring a washer/dryer either bought them from the previous tenant or happened to have said appliances (relative, etc.) And it's a bit unusual even then, in my experience. So no, you're not crazy that a lot of people find this to be too much of a bother.

This set-up is much more common when renting houses, though.
posted by desuetude at 6:47 AM on March 3, 2009

huh...I am with you, I was unaware of this annoyance. Having lived and rented many apartments in Minneapolis I have never had to procure my own washer dryer. However, there are some really decent looking washer/dryers on Craigslist. Also know that if you have an electric set up, and pay for your own electricity, it can be costly.

You could scrap the whole thought of purchasing/moving/selling and go to the Laundromat, as much of a hassle as it is.
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 7:05 AM on March 3, 2009

I assume this is in otherwise Unfurnished houses?

In Australia (Sydney) rental properties will usually come with a Stove/Oven and (if there is a spot for a dishwasher it will have a dishwasher in place which may or may not work).

The tenant is expected to bring along all other furnishings. I think over the last 10 years i've owned, 2-3 washers (or part owned with other tenants) and 2-3 different Refrigerators.

Old fridges are hard to move house but not much more then your bed, desks, lounges, dinning tables, bookshelves, Chests of drawers, guitars etc.....

Having just relocated to London I'm surpised that most properties seem to be rented full furnished. The typical say 24 year old will not own a singel piece of Furniture! - by that age I coudl personally furnish most fo a flat with bits and pieces i'd picked up over the years.
posted by mary8nne at 7:07 AM on March 3, 2009

Best answer: This is totally normal in Florida. Nthing craigslist--at my last apartment, we purchased our w/d from the old tenants, and then sold it within days on craigslist when we moved and the incoming tenants had their own. Often these things get passed down (ie, cheaply sold) between tenants.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:23 AM on March 3, 2009

Tenants also can purchase cheap washers and dryers from used appliance outlets. And if the tenants later plan to relocate to a residence already fitted with washer/dryers, they frequently can sell back the washer/dryers to the outlets (or offer them for sale on Craigslist).
posted by terranova at 10:30 PM on March 3, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for weighing in with your experiences with this, everyone. I'm probably not going to bother, it's good to know that it is common and doable in some parts of the country.

Heh, also, it's good to know that some people can be sanctimonious even when it comes to someone's ignorance about installing and moving major appliances as an apartment renter.
posted by ignignokt at 7:10 AM on March 4, 2009

Response by poster: "I'm probably not going to bother, but it's good..." I meant.
posted by ignignokt at 7:10 AM on March 4, 2009

I bought a used washer and dryer set at an appliance store (they delivered) for $300 that lasted me the few years I was at my last place that had only hookups. I sold them to a friend for $200 when I moved out. (they picked up)

They worked fine, as as far as I know are still going.

The last place I rented, a pretty good Speed Queen set was included. Some of the 1 bedrooms had hookups and the tenant had the option of renting a set for $20 or $30 a month or buying their own or using a laundromat. At one time, the property had an on site laundry, but that went away some time in the 5 years or so between the time the complex was built and the time I moved in.
posted by wierdo at 10:01 PM on March 11, 2009

« Older Thailand [Krabi] internet and long term...   |   How do I get rid of the ol' man boobies? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.