Whether you’re purchasing new appliances as part of a remodeling project, or need to replace a stove, refrigerator, or other appliance that’s outlived its usefulness, the process can feel overwhelming. With thousands of options to choose from, you may be tempted to just choose the least expensive model, or the one with the coolest bells and whistles.
Because appliances are a major purchase, though, it’s important to take time to do your homework before you head to the store, and know exactly what you need, want, and can afford. Avoiding some common mistakes will help you get the most for your money and ensure that you have all the features you want and you’re happy with your selections for years to come.
Here are a few mistakes to watch out for:
Mistake #1: Not Knowing Your Space
Perhaps the most common mistake people make when buying new appliances is not considering the space where it will be placed. Measuring the height, width, and depth is obviously important, but you need to look at the entire room and consider all aspects of the appliance placement and use. For instance, you may wish to place a front-loading washer and dryer in the bathroom, but if the model you select is too big, the doors may be blocked by the toilet or vanity, necessitating the purchase of a base to raise the machine up. Or maybe the item is too big to fit through the doorway. Before making a purchase, look closely at your space, measure carefully, consider where doors and drawers will open, and what type of hookups are available for power and water and whether they can accommodate the machine. Doing so can save a lot of aggravation and disappointment.
Mistake #2: Going Trendy
Don’t think that appliances can be trendy? Ask all of the people who purchased harvest gold and avocado colored stoves and refrigerators back in the 1970s. While appliance trends may not be as “in your face” as those colors, there are still fads that come and go, and you need to decide what is worth spending money on. For example, many appliances are equipped with Wi-Fi, but do you really need an app to tell you that the laundry cycle is complete? Do you love your cabinets enough that you can live with an appliance face that matches them for the next 10-15 years? Before you spend extra to buy something trendy, ask yourself if it’s worth the extra money, or whether you’ll be regretting the purchase in a few years.
Mistake #3: Overlooking Maintenance Costs
While your research should include determining which appliance brands and models are most reliable, even when you purchase quality machines things can go wrong. Therefore, you need to account for the warranty on the appliance, and the costs to fix items that aren’t covered by the warranty. Home warranty companies can help reduce some of those expenses through plans that cover the repair or replacement of appliances, but it’s still important to think about how much you’ll spend keeping your appliances in good shape over the years.
Mistake #4: Not Considering Energy Efficiency
Many consumers assume that all new appliances are energy efficient simply because they are new. However, many appliances on the market are not Energy Star rated, meaning that they don’t meet the guidelines for reduced power consumption. That being said, don’t assume that buying new appliances will automatically lower your power bills, either. The older your current appliance, the more savings you’ll see, so if you’re replacing a fairly new appliance your electric bill won’t go down significantly.
Mistake #5: Paying Too Much
Many consumers overpay for their appliances because they don’t do enough research before shopping. Before going to the store, research the manufacturer’s suggested price, prices offered in local stores, and the sales and discounts available. Don’t be afraid to haggle over a purchase price, either. Many stores will price match or offer a discount if you mention you’re planning to buy elsewhere. If you can, wait until the end of the year when stores heavily discount appliances to make room for the new models. Avoid buying on impulse; it’s easy to be seduced by a shiny new washer and dryer while you’re in the home improvement store but doing your homework ahead of time will ensure you get the best deal on appliances that fit your needs and your home.