This is a loaded question because not all stainless steel appliances are created equal. There’s a difference obviously between a $500 refrigerator and a $10,000 refrigerator. The same applies to ranges. If you have a state-of-the-art kitchen decked out with top-notch appliances the wow factor alone may nudge up the price.…even though, as an appraiser might attest, it shouldn’t.
Not All Appliances Are Created Equal
What’s most important in evaluating a home is the location of the property and its condition. However, even in a modest starter home priced at $150,000, stainless steel appliances are now considered standard and not having them could cause a home to linger on the market. Nowadays they can cost as little as a few hundred dollars. You can even add a stainless steel finish yourself by buying rolls of metallic sheeting or panel inserts. But not having stainless steel, ie. standard white appliances, can bring down the tone of the kitchen and thus possibly the offer a buyer may be willing to submit.
Higher-end brands such as Viking, Miele, Sub-Zero, and Thermador will undoubtedly command respect in a kitchen when paired with chic cabinets from a top-tier design firm like Scavolini and well-matched quartz counters. The home’s value should reflect this. Where things get interesting is when variations upon the stainless steel theme are introduced.
Black Stainless Steel – The Dark Horse
“We are finding that amongst discerning buyers, black stainless steel is proving very popular,” says Daniel Baja, a senior sales associate at Appliances Connection. “A lot of companies are now carrying them on their high-end products – LG, Samsung, Bosch, GE. If you’re thinking about spending $15,000-$20,000 on appliances in your kitchen then you’ll be earning six figures. They are fingerprint proof. Sometimes on a computer, it’s hard to do them justice but when you put your eyes on them, they’re gorgeous.”
Baja says consumers are less enamored, though, by painted, color friendly appliances.
Variations On A Theme
“I’m not seeing a lot of consumer interest if it’s not stainless steel or black stainless steel,” he says. “Take a company like Bertazzoni. They do appliances in many different colors but it’s their stainless steel which consistently sells well for us. They look good, perform well and are competitively priced.”
The acceptance of black stainless steel has prompted companies to introduce other variations upon the stainless steel theme. Recently, GE introduced a matte slate finish which has is clearly stainless steel related and matches many different countertops and cabinets. Matte is also easy to maintain keeping fingerprints a minimum.
Stainless Steel For Rental Properties
An often overlooked fact is the importance stainless steel products play in rental properties. In major urban cities, tenants pay top dollar for apartments and expect stainless steel appliances, along with quartz or granite countertops. When it comes to selling rental apartments, a cheap-looking kitchen will definitely bring down the resale value which is usually tied to the seller’s net income.
The founders of Freedom Property Group out of Louisville, Kentucky believe in stocking all their apartments with stainless steel appliances, even though rents there are low compared to the more urban coastal areas.
“Choosing the right appliances for your rental property can have a significant impact on your rental income,” says Erik Hitzelberger, a founding member of the company. “Rentals specifically need quality appliances that are both reliable and durable but also don’t cost a fortune. These appliances may live through a couple different renters (if you’re lucky) and must endure a lot of wear and tear. We specifically choose appliances that are a step above in style and quality for the value. We prefer stainless steel.”
Though granite countertops may have been overtaken by quartz and waterproof laminate flooring is gaining on hardwood, when it comes to appliances, it appears that stainless steel is here to stay.