When you buy a new home, there are always more costs than what you initially prepare for—from paying for the unexpected repairs to the electrical system to inspections to closing costs. Another major unexpected cost that can pop up when purchasing your first home is buying appliances. Although you can often negotiate with the seller to keep the existing appliances in the home, sometimes that might not be an option (or sometimes you might want to upgrade once you move in).
Whether you’re a life-long renter or you just simply haven’t had to purchase an appliance before, buying appliances for the first time can feel a little intimidating. How do you know which brand is considered good quality? Which appliance should you spend the most money on (and which can you afford to go a little cheaper)?
Here is a short guide to buying durable, quality appliances for your new home—with help from Nick Gromicko, Founder of InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors).
What You’ll Need to Buy
When you are house hunting and walking through a home for the first time, one of the things you should notice is whether there are appliances in the kitchen, laundry room, etc. and what kind of condition they are in. If you do see appliances in the home, be sure to inquire whether all of the appliances are staying or if that’s something you’ll need to negotiate in your contract, should you choose to purchase the home. In some markets, it’s customary that the sellers leave the appliances in the home, but that’s not necessarily the case everywhere. Be sure to ask your realtor before you jump into any contract negotiations.
If you don’t see the appliances that you normally would in a home (refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, washer/dryer), again be sure to ask your realtor whether or not any appliances are included in the sale.
If you do find yourself having to buy appliances for your new home, it’s likely that it will be the following:
- Refrigerator (less likely, but possible)
- Stove/Oven (occasionally, but not likely)
How and Where to Buy a Durable Appliance
Once you know what your appliance shopping list is, how do you know what brands to buy? How do you compare models? As it turns out, when shopping for appliances, there’s actually a very simple way to know the quality of it before you take it home.
“The energy rating of an appliance and its overall quality are typically very related,” says Gromicko.
When you’re shopping, look for appliances that are Energy Star rated, which means that the appliance meets the energy performance standards that are set by the EPA. These appliances are not only better than older models without the rating, but they’ll also help you save money on utility bills because they run more efficiently.
But what about when you are faced with the tough task of buying not just one, but several appliances for your home? Buying multiple appliances at once can cost you a pretty penny, but there’s no need to go top-of-the-line on everything. However, if you are going to invest money in a long-lasting appliance, Gromicko advises, make it the fridge.
“The refrigerator takes the most energy to use and is the appliance that is used the most,” Gromicko says.
As far as where to shop for appliances, many homeowners will head to their local big box home improvement store, such as Home Depot or Lowe’s or head to a department store like Sears to find good deals and a wide variety of merchandise. If your town still happens to have a local appliance store, keep in mind that you will probably end up spending a little more on an appliance but that you’ll likely get better customer service and a deeper knowledge about the product.
Of course, you can always shop online as well, but only be sure to shop with major retailers like Amazon, Wayfair, or Overstock that have official return policies. Because this is such a big purchase you want to give yourself the flexibility to easily return the appliance if necessary.
If Appliances Are Still in the Home
If the appliances are still in the home—and will be staying in the home—always be sure to thoroughly check them out to see if they’re in good condition.
“Check for cleanliness. People who keep things clean, generally keep them maintained. Sounds simple, but it’s true,” Gromicko says.
In addition to spot checking them as you walk through the home, also be sure to hire a certified inspector to look at all of the appliances to check for safety and whether or not they need to be replaced or repaired.
And although everyone loves new stainless-steel appliances, an outdated looking appliance doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not in working order.
“Appliances can last forever. There are stoves from the ‘40s still in use, and I have one,” Gromicko says.
If the appliances in the home pose a safety hazard or are not usable, be sure to work with your realtor on ways you can negotiate the purchase of new appliances or get the price of your home down.
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