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Choosing appliances

by Elise Riley on Nov 6, 2015

A shiny new cooktop, a brand-new oven, a built-in microwave and a whisper-quiet dishwasher are all part of a dream new home. So is a sparkling new refrigerator and/or perhaps a brand-new washer and dryer, too.

While builders will automatically equip much of your kitchen, there might be a few items that homeowners have to provide on their own. It’s up to buyers to decide where they’ll shop to fill those nooks and crannies.

Standard inclusions

For nearly all new homes, builders will provide a dishwasher, microwave and range (or a separate wall oven and cooktop, depending on the floorplan). Some plans also come equipped with a ventilation hood.

“For some builders, that’s it. There are no opportunities to upgrade,” said Laya Boschee, vice president of design center operations with Robson Communities. “We have multiple levels of appliance packages. We offer GE products — you can go up to Profile, Monogram or even outside our standard offering all the way up to Wolf/Sub-Zero.”

At-home cooks or families who enjoy entertaining might want to spend a little extra and upgrade a cooktop or add a double oven. When buyers upgrade their standard appliance packages, those costs get added to the final sales price of the home — in essence, they’re added to the home’s mortgage.

Extra choices

But what about those refrigerators, washers and dryers? While builders typically don’t automatically include these appliances in a new home, many do offer them during the sales process.

This puts the choice on buyers — if they have a refrigerator and/or washer and/or dryer from a previous home, they can bring one or all of them to the new home. Or they can go to an appliance store and buy new items to install after the home is complete. Or, they can visit their builder’s design center and select everything all at once.

“You could go to a big-box store and get some of the selections, but when you buy it with your design center — when you incorporate it with the purchase of your home — you make sure the appliances fit beautifully into the cabinet,” said Karen Murray, vice president of marketing for AV Homes. “They’re all finished when you walk through your home. There’s no worry about damage to your flooring when they’re installing. Aesthetically it’s easier.”

The same goes for secondary or specialty appliances such as extra dishwashers, bar refrigerators and more. All those components need a ‘home’ in the cabinetry, which means someone has to take special measurements and confirm that the item fits properly.

Pros and cons

“We always counsel on the refrigerator,” Boschee said. “We can’t always compete with the big-box stores and there are some customers who are cost-sensitive. If there’s a particular item, you should do your homework. Think about style and functionality, but also think about the size. A counter-depth fridge won’t stick out into the room as much, but you also lose some cubic feet.”

Aesthetics might also be a concern. Stainless steel from manufacturer to manufacturer actually looks different, while features such as buttons or handles are different in different lines. Buying everything all at once, from the same suite of products, ensures that the appliances will match.

“It’s great if you purchase it through a builder because you get the look you want,” Murray said. 

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