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Used Appliance Buying Checklist

A set of used appliances inside a new home.

Brand new appliances can get really expensive that is why some people opt for used appliances. Here are tips and factors to consider when buying used appliances.

If you are considering buying used appliances, the best appliances to consider are large household appliances such as refrigerators, washers, dryers and stoves.

Not only because these items are the costliest when bought brand new, but also because they tend to last much longer than smaller appliances. Many times, people get rid of these big appliances when they still have plenty of good years left in them, so take advantage of those opportunities when you see them.

Sometimes there are very minor fixes that people don’t have time to fix or would just rather not fix, sometimes they are remodeling their kitchen and getting rid of appliances that are not even that old but don’t fit with the new style of their upgraded kitchen, or sometimes a family is moving far away and don’t want to haul big heavy appliances with them, even if they are barely used.

Regardless of the reason, this happens frequently, and you should keep your eye out for situations like this. After all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

Which Used Appliances Should You Consider Buying?

Things you should look out for are scratch-and-dent sections in appliance stores because they often have very minor dents that were a result of either loading or unloading the appliance into the store and even though you could care less if there is a little dent in the side of your washer or dryer, stores are not allowed to sell products as “new” if they have any damage on them whatsoever, so this is a good opportunity to take advantage of.

You can get brand new appliances that have never been used for a price as if they were, as long as you don’t mind whatever the minor damage is that they have.

Some appliances you should try to stay away from are things that were built into someone’s kitchen like a built-in stovetop or refrigerator because they are often more trouble than they are worth.

What’s the Best Way to Buy Used Appliances?

A set of small used appliances on a countertop.

It is always the best idea to buy used appliances that are high-quality brands. Although the appliances are used, a trusted brand goes a long way.

Think of it like buying a used car. If you are looking for a used car you are going to want to buy a make and model that you know is trustworthy, reliable, and durable. You know which cars to stay away from on a used car lot because buying a lower-quality car that is already in used condition, only means more problems and more money spent for you in the future.

Appliances should be no different. The added benefit with appliances is that the price differently between higher-quality used appliances and lower-quality used appliances is not that significant that you will end up spending hundreds of dollars more.

We are talking maybe $50 more. It’s worth it. You should always opt for any energy-efficient products if they are available to conserve energy and money. It is not likely to cost you a ton of money, but it will be worth it in the long run.

You should also consider buying used appliances that need minor fixes if it is something you can manage for little to no money. Some people get rid of an appliance as soon as it starts acting up or not functioning the way it is supposed to in order to avoid repairs or just because they are ready to upgrade their appliance anyway.

A couple looking at a fridge for sale at a store.

For the rest of us who don’t have money to just buy brand new appliances whenever we want, we can take advantage of these opportunities when we see them. If there is something minor such as the washing machine occasionally clogging or the lights on the outside of a refrigerator door aren’t working, those may be things that you know how to fix yourself or know someone who can fix them for you and you come off with an amazing deal!

If you have not realized the trend, most appliance stores have huge sales that occur on most holidays, especially Memorial Day and Labor Day. If you are contemplating buying a used appliance from a store, shop around and keep your eye on it if there is a holiday coming up to see if the item will go on sale.

Sometimes stores have major sales that could end up saving you hundreds of dollars. It also might be a good idea to ask the person who is helping you at the store if they know the details of the upcoming sales for the holiday. They might not divulge this information to you, but it’s worth a shot!

Online Marketplace Vs. Appliance Store

If you decide on buying used appliances there is no shortage of options, but just because there are so many options, doesn’t mean they are all quality options that you should choose.

Most appliance stores have options for buying new or used appliances in the store or through their online store, but there are also countless options to buy used appliances online through sites like Craigslist and eBay.

Depending on how old the appliance is, it is definitely possible to find good, quality products that have been barely used online if you look hard enough, but there is also a big advantage when it comes to buying appliances used from a store as opposed to products that are for sale by the owner.

One thing to strongly consider is a warranty. Although most in-store warranties are usually only for a few months, it still gives you a sense of security knowing that you get to test out your used appliance for at least a few months and are guaranteed to get it fixed if anything goes wrong.

Buying used appliances from an appliance store also has the added benefit of quality. Typically, a store will only sell used appliances that are in fairly good condition and more often have a better selection of used appliances than trying to find what you want online.

A couple looking at a washing machine for sale at a store.

Whether you are buying from a store or through a website, you should always check out the reviews. You would be surprised how much information you can learn from product reviews on the appliance stores website and also customer reviews of past purchases through online marketplaces for the specific seller you are looking into.

If there are extremely negative reviews on the store’s website about a used product people bought, you will want to steer clear of that particular appliance and look up other reviews for similar products to find which one has the most positive feedback.

The same goes for sites like Craigslist. If you are about to buy a used appliance from a seller online and you see previous buyers talking about bad experiences with that particular seller, you should find a more reliable seller to purchase your appliances from.

Another advantage of buying appliances from a store is that stores usually offer some sort of financing as well as delivery of the appliances to your home. These are very convenient options to have, especially if you don’t have a truck and can’t do the heavy lifting.

Upon delivery, the store will most likely offer to take your old appliance and dispose of it for you for free as well. Most often online marketplaces don’t have sellers who are willing to deliver the items to your home, so you will either need to rent something like a U-Haul or borrow a truck from someone you know (and hopefully also borrow that someone you know to help!) to transport the item to your home and get it to where it needs to be.

Either option also gives you the ability to negotiate the pricing, so don’t be afraid to haggle a little! Even in stores, when it comes to used appliances most places will budge a little bit on the pricing to get rid of a used appliance from their store.

The longer it sits there, the harder it is going to be for them to sell. Find comparable items online or through a different store and compare them so you know what a reasonable price range would be.

The same goes for online appliance shopping from a previous owner. If they are selling their used appliance, it is because they don’t need it anymore and most likely want it out of their home as soon as possible. This will encourage them to negotiate a little bit while they have an interested buyer.

10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy A Used Appliances

1. How old is the appliance?

The age of the appliance could determine how well they function and help you to know how long it might last once you buy it based on the general lifespan of the appliance make and model.

2. Is anything broken or not working properly?

You should also inspect the product yourself before buying it to ensure there are no issues.

3. Has it ever been repaired before?

It is useful to know if there have been any repairs made to the item so you know any potential issues you could run into. Look for signs of repairs yourself before buying just in case.

4. Is there anything missing from when you originally bought it?

Everything should come with the appliance that was with it when they originally bought it, even the user’s manual. You will need it as a reference if anything goes wrong or for tips, safety issues, and repairs.

5. Have there been any recalls on the product?

You should check online to be sure there are no recalls on the product that is commonly known but asking the seller could also be a good way to find out if there are any expected issues in the future.

6. Did you buy it new or used?

It will be helpful to know if the appliance had one or more previous owners so you can gauge the amount of use and wear and tear to the appliance to be sure it is still in good shape.

7. Why are you getting rid of it?

Knowing why they are getting rid of the item could give you more information to determine if it is worth buying or not. It might not be concerning if they are selling it because they are upgrading their kitchen as opposed to if it is not working properly. Then you can assess if any potential repairs that are needed are still worth the purchase.

8. Were you happy with your purchase?

It’s always good to get a product review from a person who previously owned the item. They might not tell you the complete truth, because after all, they want to sell it! But it doesn’t hurt to ask, along with doing your own search of product reviews from other consumers.

9. Do you deliver or is it pick-up only?

If you need it delivered this could be a game-changer for you if you don’t have the ability to pick up or move the appliance on your own. While most people won’t deliver the items, if they want to get rid of it quickly and have a truck and the ability to transport, they might be willing.

10. How soon do you need to sell it?

If you have a little time you could do more research before finalizing the sale. If not, you will know they need to get rid of it quickly and might be able to negotiate the price a little more aggressively.

However, keep the negotiations reasonable, because if there are other buyers you don’t want to risk being looked over because you are trying to low ball the seller on the price.

A close look at a row of washing machines for sale at a store.

Tips for Buying Used Appliances

  • Upright washers are less likely to malfunction than front-loaders and top-loading washers are usually easier to fix
  • Gas stoves are typically easier to repair than electric stoves
  • Avoid any glass-top stoves that have any cracks or chips because it could allow moisture into the electrical components, which could result in electrical issues down the road
  • If you have to replace glass on a stovetop, it is an expensive repair and might end up costing you more than the used stove you already paid for. This is not a minor fix.
  • Electrical touchpads on any appliance usually need to be completely replaced when they stop working, whereas manual knobs are usually able to be repaired
  • Assess the damage to be sure the “minor dents” listed don’t affect the functionality of the appliance or safety

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