Lessons From Used Appliances – Bisque Is A Color?

I recently wrote about how we replaced the washer in one of our duplex units – and in that post, I mentioned that the matching dryer unit had died about a year before.  Just bad luck?  I’m not so sure that’s really the case.

When we bought the duplex, we were looking to get it “up and running” as soon as possible.  We knew things like the A/C or water heaters could break, so we wanted to get cash flowing through while trying to minimize what we put into it on the front end.

To that end, we decided to buy used appliances.  Between the two units, we needed 1 refrigerator, 2 washers, 2 dryers, 2 ovens/stoves, and 1 wall mounted microwave/stove vent combo.  To Craigslist I went.

The first find was a glass-top stove/oven combo with a matching microwave/stove vent to mount above it.  We bought it from a couple that was upgrading their kitchen from the basic contractor-grade stuff that had been installed about 5 years before.  At $150 for both items in good condition, the price was right.  And somehow we managed to load them into car and get them back to the duplex.

There were a couple of problems with this though.

  1. We all (buyers and sellers) thought the appliances were white.  Turns out, it’s closer to bisque.  (Apparently that is a real color.  Seriously, google it.)  Not the end of the world, but the fridge and dishwasher that were already in that kitchen were white, so it wasn’t an exact match.  Too late to bring them back, so the renters would have to live with slightly non-matching appliances.
  2. Harder to get around than colors being slightly off was the fact that this expedition actually took several hours out of our “duplex work time”, and the appliances that we still needed were likely to be bigger, necessitating a truck rental – which, of course, would eat into the savings of buying used appliances.


A little more wary about buying used, I returned to Craigslist and ended up coming across a guy that had a little shop of refurbished appliances.  It seemed legit – he said he got appliances at estate sales, cleans and fixes them, and resells them.  His little shop was about an hour away, but it looked like he had everything we needed at the right prices.  And he delivered.  This could definitely be worth our time.

For $640, he would deliver 2 matching washer/dryer sets, an oven, and if he could get it done in time, a fridge that he’d throw in for $80.  Free delivery since we were buying so much.  He gave a 3 month warranty on all the appliances.  It seemed to good to be true, but we went for it.  All of it, including the fridge was delivered the following week for $720.

Since then, these appliances haven’t really been the best.  The fridge pooped out after about 4 months, and then one of the dryers died 2 months later.  (Mr. PoP actually took 220 volts of electricity trying to fix that before we gave in and decided to just buy a brand new dryer.)  The washer that matched the dead dryer died a year later (that’s the washer from the recent post).

As they’ve died, we replaced them with new appliances – generally low end units from reliable brands that Lowes or Home Depot had in stock and could deliver quickly.  With tenants in the units, it seems much more prudent to just get it done rather than waste time trying to find good quality used stuff.


So  what would we do if we had it to do over?

  1. If no time crunch, we might have invested more time to find more situations like the couple that was remodeling their 5-year-old kitchen.  I think the $150 on that stove/oven with the microwave/vent was a great buy.
  2. If we did have a time crunch, we’d probably try to get all new models.  In hindsight, we’re not really sure it was worth the cost to “rent” the appliances that ended up breaking so soon after we got them.


Have you ever bought used appliances?  What was the situation, and do you think you got a good value out of it?


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