Question: Bob, in July and August you wrote several columns concerning remodeling vs. buying. You laid out many details from the bathroom, tile, etc. One thing you left out (if you did research on it)? Do you have any research left on appliances, as we purchased a home with out appliances. Your columns on other things saved my sister a pretty nice chunk. We know anyone can go try to wheel and deal, but if we have an edge-great for us.
- Terry and Debbie
Answer: Terry and Debbie, just so happens I did keep my folder and it does contain (I think) what you are asking for. Normally I would have thrown it away - let's give it a try.
In my research many agreed and a few even had stats to go with it, however I didn't continue because of the several columns I had written and it may have been too much.
More b/c - buyers/consumers - are finding value and convenience online, especially in the small appliance category, where a large percentage of b/c said they were highly satisfied with their shopping experience.
Amazon.com earned top marks for price, selection and product quality, making it the best major retailer rated for small ticket appliance purchases for several years in a row.
Shoppers still prefer walk-in stores for major appliances (81 percent high satisfaction compared with 75 percent online), but more people are warming to the idea of making a purchase online. Try the hybrid approach to stores: Order an item off the Web site and pick it up at the store, which saves on shipping fees.
Keep pace with the promos
Retailers introduce promotions through out the year. Sears, in particular, uses a "high-low" strategy, offering certain goods at bargain prices and marking up others. With that in mind, you can wait for the best deal on a desired item by signing up for e-mail alerts (I did this and it was pretty nice) and keeping tabs on newspaper circulars.
It also pays to register on manufacturers' Web sites; they seldom sell directly to consumers, but most have mail-in rebates and other "manufacturer events." GE, for example, offered a free stainless steel upgrade on select appliances. During the "Maytag Month" promo in May, you could get as much as $500 in mail-in rebates with the purchase of four appliances. As a general rule, deep discounts on suites of appliances.
To find the best prices on single items , use online line deal finders such as www.PriceGrabber.com. Keep a printout of the best coupons present to other retailers that offer low price guarantees. Home Depot for example, will beat a competitor's price by 10 percent (may change) on any stock item.
Rebates and tax credits on energy efficient appliances are a final source of savings. A knowledgeable sales staff (independents, and Sears stood out in the survey) Might be up on the latest programs.
Don't be shy about haggling
In the survey only 10 percent of people who bought small appliances and 33 percent of people who bought major appliances tried to negotiate over prices. But around 75 percent of those who did try to bargain succeeded. Those individuals (several interviews) said they saved a medium of $100 for major appliances and $50 for small appliances.
When purchasing appliances, effective haggling is part prep work, part attitude. Start by researching market price, and time your purchase to the months when the retailers make room for next year's models - spring for refrigerators, fall (now) for cooking appliances, winter for washers and dryers. That will help you negotiate from a position of power, but remember that being polite to the sales person may get you a better deal.
Paying cash is also a good bargaining chip, especially with independent retailers having to pay a transaction fee to the credit-card company.
If you don't mind minor blemishes or minimal wear and tear, ask about discounts on floor models. Remember to inquire about free delivery and installation, as well as disposal of the old appliance.
Next week will include trade-offs and extended warranties-plus (some from comparison)
Have a real estate question? Write, call, fax or e-mail:
Bob Jeffries, Realtor,
Century 21 Birchwood Realty, Inc.
4040 Del Prado Blvd., Cape Coral, FL