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For Sale by Owner Articles • - ABC's of Real Estate

Appliance Sense for Home Buyers and Sellers

By Broderick Perkins
A little knowledge about consumer products that wash and dry, shake and bake and dispense and dispose can help keep you from getting burned.
For instance, did you know that if the refrigerator is 25 years old, it can cost almost $100 a year more to operate than a newer refrigerator? It likely also doesn't come with an ice (crushed or cubed) or chilled water maker-dispenser or other modern features. The extra cost can add up if an older washer, dryer, freezer or other old energy-hungry appliances are also in the home.
As a seller, you may want to make the kitchen (and the sale of the home) more appealing by adding some modern appliances before you sell.
As a buyer, if the seller won't comply to buy anew, you might want to look elsewhere for a similar home with modern appliances and the extra cost is going to bust your budget and you can't afford to buy new appliances after a home purchase. That might be tough to do in a sellers market, however, and you may have to bite the budget and scrape up for new appliances after you buy, especially if the seller offers a one year warranty for their maintenance.
In the long run, new appliances will pay for themselves.
Built-ins and freestanding
Most sales contracts make room for the buyer to write in items of personal property they would like the sellers to include in the sale. Built-in appliances are usually included, perhaps event with a warranty.
The seller, however, isn't obligated to leave freestanding appliances such as a washer, dryer, refrigerator, or stove, so don't assume that free standing appliances will be included in the sale.
If in the multiple listing service info and in their listing agreement the seller has indicated he or she will include freestanding appliances, however, they should be included. Even so, it's a good idea for you, the buyer, to include them in the sales contract if you want them.
If the sellers or their agent have not told you they are including freestanding appliances and they are not included in the written purchase agreement, and you want them, you'll have to ask.
Freestanding appliances are normally offered as is, without warranty.
Sometimes sellers may want to leave old freestanding appliances (such as a heavy old top lid freezer in the cellar) they don't want. If you don't want them, be sure the contract stipulates that the sellers will remove items by closing.
Warranties, bills, etc.
Sellers should have manuals and warranties on any appliances that will be left in the home. They should also be able to show prospective buyers electric, gas and water bills for the past 12 months. Buyer should request to see them to compare the home's appliance operating costs with their own. Utility bills can help you determine the age of the appliances. Remember older appliances cost more to operate.
Buyers should also always ask about the condition and age of any appliance included in the sale. How familiar the seller is with the appliances can also indicate his or her attention to their care. Ask the seller questions to determine if he or she can talk intelligently about brand names, capacities of major systems and appliances. Of course, that means you'll also need to have some appliance sense.
When to repair, replace common major appliances
If you know when appliances need repair or replacing you can better determine the need for a home warranty, replacing old appliances or simply repairing ones that are generally in good shape.
Turning it on
When you are serious about buying a home give its appliances the once over.
Activate the thermostat to the "on" position. Walk around the house and check the vents for air flow. Do not test the air conditioning unit if the outside temperature is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Turn one the oven to 350 degrees, insert a thermometer and check the temperature in 10 minutes. Ignite the range burners and smell for any gas odor. Likewise check the fridge with a thermometer. Let the dishwasher's cycle run through. Check the gargage disposal, exhaust hood and fans, trash compactors.
More appliance sense
For more appliance help, contact these sources.
Appliance Magazine -- Appliance magazine has been covering the appliance industry for 53 years, including engineering and design, manufacturing, testing, packaging, and marketing of all types of appliances.
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers' (AHAM) Major Appliance Consumer Action Program (MACAP); -- MACAP is a national consumer complaint assistance program established by the home appliance industry. The program offers consumers major appliance complaint mediation, counsels the industry to improve customer relations, and provides proper appliance purchase, use and care education.
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