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Stainless Steel Appliances: Worth the Investment?


Aug 23, 2020 by Barbara Zito

The kitchen is the heart of the home. If you want the hearts of potential renters or buyers to go thump thump when they see your property, then make room in your renovation budget for stainless steel appliances.

Why stainless steel for the kitchen?

Stainless steel appliances are desirable in a kitchen for a number of reasons. For starters, no matter what color cabinets or countertops you have, stainless steel appliances have a way of complementing any kitchen aesthetic. Their surfaces are easy to clean and disinfect, giving much-needed peace of mind for buyers in the COVID-19 era.

Also, these appliances are made from a steel alloy -- usually iron and carbon --making them strong and built to last. In fact, HouseLogic reports that kitchen appliances are in it for the long haul, with refrigerators lasting around 13 years, ranges lasting 13-15 years, and dishwashers and microwaves each lasting around 9 years.

How much do they cost?

According to a HomeLight survey, it costs an average of $4,229 to outfit a kitchen with a stainless steel refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, range hood, and microwave. With an average ROI of around 41.5%, kitchen appliance upgrades are a good move for your bottom line.

The breakdown of any of these appliances is enough to stall or at least hamper home kitchen operations, leading to unhappy tenants. Landlords will want to keep these appliances in good working order in their rental properties to avoid the inconvenience of replacing them while tenants are occupying the units.

The good news is that because stainless steel appliances are so desirable, they come in a variety of price points. Investors in the luxury market should opt for the higher-range smart appliances, but for rentals especially, an investor can instead purchase lower-end models manufactured by reputable brands.

What's the value of stainless steel appliances?

A survey by HomeLight found that roughly half of buyers will be more willing to make an offer when the property has stainless steel appliances than if it doesn’t.

When buyers or renters spy shiny new stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, they know that they have years before having to worry about upgrades -- which is a great selling point for budget-conscious buyers.

On the other hand, older appliances will give a buyer or renter pause -- and give them good reason to want to negotiate a lower price. While you won't necessarily start a bidding war over a new dishwasher, if comps in the area have new appliances and your property doesn't, buyers might take their money elsewhere.

The bottom line

As a property investor, you're taking a risk by not upgrading your appliances. For rental units, you won’t command as much rent, and for properties you're looking to sell, you’ll likely see lower offers, particularly if comps in the area have stainless steel appliances.

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