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Buying a Washer and Dryer
How to rent-to-own, get a loan or buy used
You just signed the lease to your new apartment. It has a washer and dryer hookup, but you’ve exhausted your budget due to the cost of moving, your security deposit, and the first month’s rent. A laundromat could be in your future, but there are some other possibilities you could consider to buy a washer and dryer.
Many people turn to ”rent-to-own” to get what they need, but you’ll want to fully understand the costs and terms — and how it compares to some of your other options. Either way, chances are good you’ll be washing and drying at your own place faster than you think.
The lowdown on rent-to-own washer and dryer services
When you rent-to-own, you agree to pay a monthly “rent” (or installments) to the store for a predetermined amount of time. But unlike normal rent, part of your payment actually goes toward the ownership of the appliance.
In many ways, it’s more like making car payments part of every payment goes to paying off the initial cost and part of the payment goes to paying interest. At the end of your term (usually one to two years), you completely own the washer and dryer.
What to consider when it comes to rent-to-own
As with any decision that impacts your finances, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. If going to a laundromat adds a lot of complexity and coordination to your life, rent-to-own might be a good option. If you’re trying to avoid a series of additional payments, it might not be your best bet.
When rent-to-own might be a good fit
Many people turn to rent-to-own when they don’t have enough money up front to buy a washer and dryer. Most rent-to-own companies have no upfront costs or require just a deposit. Many also don’t require a credit check upfront, but they may report your payments to the credit bureaus, so it can help you build your credit history.
Another benefit: maintenance. When you’re still renting your washer and dryer units (i.e. you haven’t fully paid them off), most stores offer free servicing. This means that your monthly payment covers buying the set and maintenance coverage.
Some people find this reassuring — they know their units will be in tip-top shape when they take full ownership of the units.
Common washer and dryer rent-to-own companies
Many companies offer rent-to-own services for washers and dryers. The table below outlines some of the most common. Make sure to compare details, read reviews, and review any contracts if you decide to move forward with rent-to-own.
|Benefits||Average Cost (Per Month)|
|Aaron’s Appliances||Free service and repair|
Gas/Electric dryer choices
|$50.00 – $150.00+/month|
|Buddy’s Home Furnishings||Weekly payment optionsBrand/Style optionsNew, pre-leased, and used items||$50.00 – $180.00+/month|
|Rent-2-Own||$10 for the first week’s rent |
|$80.00 – $160.00+/month|
|Rent-A-Center||Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly payment plans available|
Same-day, free delivery
|$60.00 – $180.00+/month|
Free delivery and setup
Flexible payment options
|$40.00 – $160.00+/month|
|Sears Outlet||Huge Selection|
Delivery & installation
No credit needed
|$50.00 – $200.00+/month|
How the rent-to-own process usually works
- Apply online or at the store. Because you’re essentially getting a loan and making payments, they may report your payment history to credit bureaus. This means it’s not unusual for them to gather information like your social security number, banking information, and references.
- Get approved and finalize your washer and dryer selection. Some companies offer same day approval, others may take a couple of business days.
- Schedule delivery. They’ll deliver the washer and dryer to wherever you live and install them to ensure they’re set up and ready to roll.
When rent-to-own might not be a good fit
The biggest drawback to rent-to-own is the additional cost. It’s not cheap. Some states have laws that limit the annual percentage rate to 30% on your payments, but plenty of others do not. Depending on where you live, what brand appliance you choose, and which company you go with, expect to pay up to twice the cost of buying the units outright.
Another important consideration is what happens if you can’t make a payment–the rent-to-own company can take back your washer and dryer and keep the money you’ve already paid.
In addition to a higher total cost, having ongoing weekly or monthly payments can strain your finances if you don’t have a predictable income. (To get approved, you need to be able to show that you have a steady income that’s high enough to make the payments consistently.)
Your other options for buying a washer and dryer
Buy used from a licensed reseller
You can save a lot of money if you buy preowned appliances from a licensed reseller. It’ll cost you more than buying a set from your neighbors, but you’ll also know the machines have been cleaned and tested, and you’ll get a warranty.
Most resellers also provide delivery and set up, both of which can be a little stressful to tackle yourself.
Expect to pay anywhere from $150-$300 each for a used washer and dryer from a licensed reseller. Paying a bit more upfront can end up saving you loads (hah!) of money down the line. Check out Sears Outlet for used units. Many resellers also advertise on Craigslist.
Buy used from a private party
Often the cheapest option is to buy a washer and dryer from a private party. Some people often just want to get rid of their units, so you may even be able to get a set for free. But buying a washer and dryer from a private party has its risks.
You won’t get a chance to run a load through before you make your purchase and most sellers don’t provide any sort of warranty. You also have to move and install the units yourself.
Many consumer marketplaces have popped up in the past decade. Here are a few to consider as you shop:
- Letgo (now owned by OfferUp)
- Facebook Marketplace
- Habitat for Humanity
If you find a unit that you’re interested in, do your research online first before calling the seller. Does this washer have a history of maintenance problems? Are the parts needed to repair this model of dryer easily obtainable? While many people offer their old appliances for cheap because they upgraded to a new set, there could also be underlying issues that will make your washer and dryer more expensive to maintain.
If you decide to move ahead and check out the units, call the seller first and ask questions. Why are they selling it? Have they had any problems? If everything sounds good, don’t forget to bring a friend (for safety!) when you go to check out and pick up your washer and dryer.
Buy a new washer and dryer with a loan or credit card
If you’d really prefer to buy a new washer and dryer, but you’re not sold on rent-to-own or buying used, consider applying for a small personal loan. Your bank is a good place to start, but if you don’t have great credit, you may want to explore alternative online lenders like www.loanry.com and acornsfinance.com, which compare different lenders. (Make sure to compare rates, read reviews, and scour any fine print!)
You can also look into buying a set with a credit card. However, if you don’t pay off your balance, their rates are often similar to those offered by rent-to-own companies–and your credit card company won’t come out to fix any maintenance issues.
Our take: get clear on what you need and crunch the numbers
Before you make a decision, ask yourself some questions. Do I have some money to put down up front? Can I manage the maintenance myself? Am I trying to avoid adding any monthly payments?
Also, do your research on what kind of units to look for. Sites like wirecutter.com and consumerreports.org can help you make sure you’re getting a dependable unit for a good price. Finally, compare the costs. It’s not realistic for everyone, but if you can buy upfront–either new or used–you’ll save money in the long run. Here’s a quick comparison:
|Unit||Used licensed reseller (cash)||New (cash)||Rent-to-Own (credit)*^|
|Washer||$175 – $1,000+||$250 – $2,000+||$375 – $3,000+|
|Dryer||$150 – $1,000+||$200 – $1,750+||$300 – $2,625+|
As with any appliance purchase, your unit’s brand, style, color, options, as well as a warranty and delivery, can dramatically impact the cost of the unit itself. On average, however, washing machines typically cost between $250 and $2,000. Dryers usually run a bit cheaper, from $200 to $1,750.
If you’re looking for a smart washer and dryer to hook into your Smart Home app so you can start it with a voice command, prepare to spend more. If all you need is clean clothes and you don’t mind pushing the buttons yourself, washers on the lower end will suit you fine.
Get a washer and dryer today!
Everybody needs clean laundry. And if you’re fortunate enough to have washer and dryer hookups in your unit, you’ll probably want your own set.
If you don’t have great credit and little money upfront, rent-to-own or a personal loan is probably the fastest way to buy a washer and dryer. It’s also probably the most expensive option, but you’ll get to make your payments monthly and get delivery and maintenance for the duration of your rental.
If you have some cash to spend, purchasing from a licensed reseller gets you a cheaper unit and a warranty. If you’re game to gamble a bit, look to buy a set from consumer marketing places. It’s usually the cheapest option, though you’ll have to move it and set it up all yourself.
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