The Pros and Cons of Buying second hand Appliances (and Where to Find Them)

By Brittany Burke

Updating your kitchen with new appliances can be an exciting facelift. But updating your budget spreadsheet with the necessary numbers can feel a little bit more like a punch in the gut.

If you’re looking for a bargain, you know to shop around for sales and look for rebates. One other option? Buying used. Here are the pros and cons that come with getting something that’s pre-loved — and where to find a gem if you choose to take the plunge!

PRO: You can negotiate the price.
When you shop for a new appliance at a big-box store, there are restrictions on what the associates can and can’t sell something for. So while they may be able to offer a 10 to 25 percent discount or promotion, that’s typically the most leeway they’ll have in your favor.

When you’re buying used, you’re typically dealing with a person who might be open to more negotiations, either because you’re taking something off their hands, or because they listed it for more than they expected to sell it for. Start low and, after a little back and forth, you should be able to come close to a price you had in mind.

CON: There’s no warranty to protect your purchase.
When you shop with your credit card at a reputable store, you have the paper trail and big-brand policy to ensure that, if something happens to the product in the months after the purchase (or even while it’s being delivered), the store or manufacturer will make it right. That’s a comfort when you’re forking over a mortgage-sized check for the product.

When you buy used, there’s less of a safety net to your purchase. If you’re buying off of Craigslist, you might be exchanging cash, which means once the money changes hands, you’re probably not getting it back. And a lot of used appliance stores don’t offer the same warranties as traditional stores.

PRO: Some used appliances are not really used.
The word “used” covers anything that isn’t straight out of a stock room. This label could end up on an oven that was a floor model in a Home Depot aisle, or a brand-new refrigerator that was deemed too big once it was delivered to a home. Of course, when you’re buying the appliance from someone’s home, you can expect that there have been substantially more years of use on it, but in some cases it could just be slightly dented, scratched, or opened and closed a bunch as a floor model.

CON: It might be hard to find a matching suite.
Found the perfect KitchenAid refrigerator for a steal? Hooray! But finding a matching range and dishwasher might not be in the cards. If you want to pull the trigger, just make sure you’re okay with a little bit of mismatching in your kitchen. You can always have everything be stainless steel, but you might not get the same line or brand.

PRO: There are experts who can help.
If you’re scoping out Craigslist and think you’ve found a diamond in the rough, you don’t need to go it alone. You can pay a pro from an appliance service company to evaluate an appliance for a small fee. Forking over $50 for someone to tell you that a too-good-to-be-true dishwasher is actually a dud will be worth it in the long run, and a specialist looks for things that you might not know to check. Use Yelp to find a local expert.

CON: You may have to arrange your own delivery.
Buying your appliances from Sears or Best Buy is definitely a streamlined process — you can handle warranties, financing, and delivery with just a few signatures on a dotted line. But when you buy used, either from a person or a used shop, you might need to do some extra work to figure out how you’re going to get your new appliance to your kitchen. Some small stores might offer a delivery service with or without a fee, while others might require that you arrange your own pickup. Add the cost of borrowing a friend’s truck, hiring a service, or renting your own truck into the price of the sale to make sure you’re really getting the deal you think you are.

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