Running your business: Should you provide a washing machine and dryer?

If your rental property is a condo unit or apartment, you’re probably not too worried about this.  Either your unit has hook-ups and (likely) no shared laundry room available, or it has a shared laundry room and is not needed in the unit.  This is more a question — and a major one — for owners of single family homes.

person adjusting control on front load clothes washer

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I first debated the washer/dryer question over a dozen years ago, when I purchased my first stand-alone rental property.    I discussed this with my realtor.  We thought about what kind of renters we were after, and what their expectations would be.  We were targeting “ex-pats” — renters from other countries that would likely stay for several years at a time, and likely here in a company-sponsored move.  They might arrive with furniture, but certainly no appliances.  So yes, a washer and dryer would be expected.  And yes, we could ask more for rent because we were supplying them.  Enough to more than cover the cost of the appliances.

This approach worked for many years.  I bought a washer and dryer for each house that I acquired, and they were always wanted.  So that was a good decision.

Good decision, that is, until our market changed.  Due to an economic downturn in our area’s main business, all of our current ex-pats were sent home.  Rental prices dropped.  Our new renters wanted shorter, one-year leases, and they had their own appliances.  Suddenly I found myself with unwanted appliances, and often nowhere to store them.  As I’m writing this, the market is starting to turn around, and soon my renters will be a different demographic again.

Circumstances change, and your approach to rentals may need to change, too.

When analyzing the washer/dryer question, ask yourself:

  • Is a washer/dryer expected in my rental market?  Or would my target renters likely already own them?
  • Can I charge more rent if I supply them?   Does the market support the higher rent?
  • Do I have a plan to remove them if they are no longer wanted?   Or is there a storage area in the property, maybe a space in the garage, to store them?

One thought on “Running your business: Should you provide a washing machine and dryer?

  1. Robin Morph – Austin, Texas – Aspiring fantasy/scifi author who likes to ramble about things on her blog. Biology and Humanities major at UT Austin. Please excuse my shapeshifting.
    Robin Morph

    Ideas for re-purposing unwanted washers/driers:
    – donate to a needy college student
    – new dog house!
    – keep the drier in your bedroom, heat up pajamas and comforter before bedtime
    – cover it in drip paint and glue candy wrappers to it. Sell for $10 million at the nearest art auction
    – play-set for the kids! Come on, you know you always dreamed of being in there when you were younger
    – the washer can be used as a pinkifier of anything white. Just add 1 quart of red socks

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