As you start packing everything up to move to your new home, there are some things you may want to consider leaving behind for the next owners: new appliances. No, you don’t have to replace everything, and unless your home is in the luxury market, you don’t have to go too high-end with the ones you do buy. But a brand-spanking-new appliance or two can encourage a buyer to make an offer more quickly.
What new appliances mean for potential homebuyers
New appliances can give home buyers -- especially first-time buyers -- some peace of mind as they get ready to fork over a whole lot of money. The likelihood of something going wrong with a new appliance is minimal, and if it does, the item in question is probably still under warranty. Old appliances, on the other hand, are simply a countdown clock to a big-budget problem. If homebuyers see a lot of old appliances in your home, they could set their sights elsewhere.
What appliances should you replace?
Unless you have extra money to burn, don’t worry about replacing every single appliance or piece of equipment in your home. And even if you do, it’s not necessary -- the return on investment (ROI) just isn’t there to warrant it. Instead, focus on two rooms in the house: the kitchen and the utility room.
Here are five appliances that could result in a quicker sale for your home:
Refrigerator: If your refrigerator is on its last legs, it could be worth replacing it to sway home buyers. There are lots of options to choose from, but a side-by-side refrigerator/freezer with an ice maker and a filtered water dispenser is a good model to shop for.
Stove: Whether it’s a gas or an electric range, a new stove is always a hit. It’s even better if it’s tucked into the cabinets in the kitchen -- this offers more value than a free-standing one.
Dishwasher: Dishwashers last about 10 years. If yours is getting to the tail end of the decade and you can get a good deal on a new one, go for it. That said, it is possible to live without a dishwasher, so this can be on the bottom of your to-be-replaced list.
The utility room
Hot water heater: This appliance can last anywhere between six and 13 years. If you have a long warranty that still has time on it, you can leave it be. But if it’s past its warranty and hovering around the decade mark, you’ll be sure to entice buyers with a new one.
Washer/dryer: This is another workhorse of the home that can have a long life span -- anywhere from 10 to 18 years. If you’ve got a washer/dryer from a reputable brand that’s on the lower end of that span, you can keep them. If not, consider buying new ones. No bells and whistles are necessary here -- for most homeowners, a good washing machine and dryer are ones that simply do what they’re built to do.
What to look for in new appliances
Aside from your budget, here are some things to consider when shopping for new appliances.
Energy efficiency: What makes buyers even more excited than new appliances? Knowing that they don't have to spend a ton of money to use them. Look for the ENERGY STAR logo, which means that the appliance is vouched for by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Functional vs. frills: Unless you're selling a luxury property where it’s a Viking stove or bust, replacing appliances before you move is more about function than taste. For example, a flat-top stove that's easy to clean will be a nice feature in any kitchen.
Low-maintenance aesthetics: Stainless has long been the new black in the appliance world. If your appliances feature any color aside from black or white (Harvest Gold, anyone?), it's a good idea to swap them out for stainless. Even more appealing than the exterior are appliances that are built in between the cabinets (or even in the cabinets).
The bottom line
To be clear, it's unlikely anyone will enter a bidding war for your property just because you installed a new dishwasher. And don’t expect that sparkling new refrigerator to add $10,000 to the asking price. But when homebuyers are looking to make an offer, your home with the new appliances will be sure to catch their eye.