Before You Buy that New Appliance
Surefire Tips for Avoiding Buyer’s Remorse
You’re about to purchase a major appliance. That usually means major bucks. Without proper preparation and a level head, you could well end up with major buyer’s remorse. Here are some ways to ensure that a “what the heck was I thinking?” moment is not in your future… well at least not one related to an appliance purchase.
- Talk to friends regarding their appliance experiences. They will be all too willing to share their appliance purchasing successes as well as their bitter disappointments. Learn what to avoid based on their experiences.
- Get online and read as many reviews as you can. They are a great source of information, and may steer your brand/style/feature requirements in a direction you hadn’t previously considered.
- Make a list of your priority features (e.g., energy efficient, lifetime warranty). Include a list of competing showrooms and web retailers so you can comparison shop for the best model with the best combination of features at the best price.
- Know the difference between your real feature requirements and the “wow factor” features. Just because you watch “The Food Network” doesn’t mean you need the same chef grade kitchen appliances Rachel Ray uses. If you subsist on leftover pizza, you won’t be happy with a fridge that is so narrow it can only accommodate a pizza box vertically.
- Read the instructions. Don’t even consider that alluring combination oven/microwave/food processor/dishwasher, even if it preps, cooks, serves and cleans up with no human intervention; without first reading the operating instructions. If the instruction manual rivals “War and Peace”, keep looking. This is not the appliance for you.
- When it comes to appliances, it’s about more than just a pretty face. Yes, that irresistible suite of gleaming stainless steel appliances might all have perfectly matching handles, cool knobs, and alluring touch-pads. But when the oven gets temperamental, leaving you no way to cook on the day of the big family gathering, chances are you will no longer recall that adrenaline-charged moment when you were lured in by a stainless steel temptress across a crowded showroom floor.
- Get the right size. Appliance cavities come in different sizes. A new range should be large enough inside to accommodate a large roasting pan – with plenty of room for a large turkey. That is, of course, unless your idea of Thanksgiving dinner involves take-out.
- Find out what else you need to buy. Major appliances can be very codependent and it can take a village to accommodate their needs. Cooktops that inspire shock & awe with their sizzle and steam require equally awe-inspiring exhaust fans. Dryers need to vent properly; so figure out how you will be venting your sweaty new colossus before you schlep it home.
- Consider how your new appliance will interact with its surroundings. Look behind your existing gas range; if the gas pipe protrudes, your new range may protrude too. Beware of a fridge or front-load washer whose door opens so wide it blocks traffic.
- Wait for a sale if you can. Fall is the best time because showrooms are trying to clear space for next year’s models.
- Prepare to negotiate. Many retailers will match the lowest price offered by the competition. If the price is still higher than you’d like, try to negotiate a deal for more than one appliance purchase at a time. If all else fails, ask for free delivery and installation or a free extended warranty. By the way, extended warranties are seldom worth paying for – but you probably already knew that. 🙂