Appliances such as refrigerators, ranges, and washers and dryers account for a large portion of a development or renovation budget, and as multifamily owners and developers struggle through the global recession, saving money and making frugal choices has become increasingly important.
“We’re definitely more budget-conscious today, so we try to stay at entry-level price points and try to buy in bulk so we can get better pricing,” says Michelle Rhone, vice president of operations for Kaplan Management.
The Houston-based firm, which owns or manages roughly 5,000 units in seven states throughout the Southwest, budgets at least $2,500 per unit for the appliance package. “Our budgets don’t allow as much as they used to for appliances because rents are lower, and we’re in a concessionary environment,” Rhone notes.
At the same time, renters are demanding an upscale look. “Before we could install standard white appliances,” Rhone says. “That doesn’t work anymore because the market is so competitive that we want to go with the stainless steel look or even black appliances.”
Fortunately, it’s possible to get an upscale look without breaking the bank. “Developers used to choose white or almond appliances because black or stainless steel was too expensive,” Rhone says. Today, GE, Whirlpool, Amana, KitchenAid, Maytag, and others all offer entry-level appliances in stainless steel and black finishes. Even Dacor, which is known for its high-priced offerings, recently introduced a more affordable range top.
Here are a handful of stylish appliances that won’t bust your budget.
1. A Better Wash:
Dishwashers from KitchenAid’s Classic Series are time- and energy-efficient. They feature four stainless steel wash arms that maximize wash coverage in the dishwasher, plus a 100 percent stainless steel tall tub. An optimum wash sensor adjusts the wash cycle to specific water conditions to maximize cleaning effectiveness and efficiency, while a dedicated heating element with a heat dry option heats the tub at the end of the cycle to dry dishes. For more information, call KitchenAid at 800-422-1230 or visit www.kitchenaid.com.
2. Durable Duo:
Maytag Centennial top-load washers and dryers are now available in an Oxide color and with the option of a scratch- and shatter-resistant window in the washer lid. With a heavy-gauge steel lid, the Dependable Clean wash system, and Smooth Balance suspension, the Centennial line withstands the test of time, the company claims. The washer features a commercial-grade transmission that uses synthetic oil and tests to twice the life of standard washer transmissions, while the dryer contains two 360-degree heat seals that insulate the drum for more efficient drying. For more information, call Maytag at 800-344-1274 or visit www.maytag.com.
3. Energy Smart:
Whirlpool ranges with the SteamClean option are equipped with the industry’s first Energy Save mode, a feature that conserves electricity when the oven is not in use, which makes these models 290 percent more efficient than previous Whirlpool ranges. Similar to a computer “sleep” mode, Energy Save mode dims extra features, such as the digital clock or control display. The SteamClean option spot cleans the oven in 20 minutes. For more information, call Whirlpool at 866-698-2538 or visit www.whirlpool.com.
4. Reasonable Range:
High-end manufacturer Dacor recently introduced the new Millennia Distinctive gas range top, a competitively priced, slide-in range top. The range top features Dacor’s Perma-Flame technology, which forces the automatic reignition of any flame that goes out unexpectedly for continuous cooking without interference and the prevention of prolonged exposure to escaping gas. For more information, call Dacor at 800-793-0093 or visit www.dacor.com.
5. Complete Control:
The GE dishwasher with an integrated control panel brings premium features to the GE line of dishwasher products. The product offers a full-length door with hidden, yet convenient one-touch digital controls. The dishwasher is also built to run at 52 dBA—the lowest sound profile for GE-branded dishwashers—and features the BrilliantClean towerless wash system and a stainless steel tub with up to a 16-place setting capacity. For more information, call GE at 800-626-2000 or visit www.geappliances.com.