As property owners, not much thought is given to your appliances until the ones you have start giving you trouble. Since it is generally the landlord’s responsibility to provide appliances, be a good landlord and take care of the situation right away.

First, we need to think about whether to repair or replace. This is a judgment call on your part, and before you decide, you need to ask yourself some very key questions:

1.  How old is the unit?

Appliances can last for 20 years or even more, as we have units that work just fine at 30+ years old. But when they reach 15+ years the advantage of replacing starts to out-weigh the cost of fixing the unit.  Refrigerators are going to be your most costly appliance. Typically, refrigerators have a lifespan of up to 15 years, Ovens from 10-15 years, and dishwashers around 8-10 years.

2.  Is the oven a self-clean?  

If it’s an oven you are looking to repair or replace, this is huge. You, or a cleaning company, can spend hours cleaning an oven. This cuts into your available deposit, and a lot of headache on your end.

3.  Is it ugly? 

Maybe extra money now to upgrade your rental is in order. You shouldn’t need to spend too much, just clean and new is often enough to make your property more rental-able.

4.  How much is the repair? 

We like to use the general rule If an appliance is more than 50% through its lifespan, and if the cost of one repair is more than 50% of the cost of buying new, then you should replace rather than repair.  To do the math, figure out the typical life span of that appliance, and get a repair estimate. Most service companies charge a “trip charge” to diagnose the problem. These charges vary widely, so be sure to ask when you arrange the appointment.  If the company repairs the appliance, the trip charge typically is waived.

After all this, you may decide to replace it. So…what do I buy? First, you want cheap, but not too cheap.  Regular coil burner stoves are the cheapest to purchase…cheaper to buy and cheaper to fix. All major brands will work: Whirlpool, GE, Amana, LG, and Frigidaire have all been installed with a slight advantage to Whirlpool in repairs costs. The unit does not have to be new but if you’re going new, check around at all the major box stores and appliance outlets for prices. There can be a 25% difference in prices from store to store.  And of course, if we happen to be managing your property we will take care of all the price matching and shopping for you.

Thanks for joining us again for our Maintenance Monday Tips, for more information about maintaining your investment property see us at our website at envypm.com.  We will see you next time.