The one exciting phase in moving into a new condo is shopping for appliances and picking new furniture. It is definitely thrilling to bring your best finds in and assign them their spot in the house. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. You need to plan, budget, and know exactly what you need.
An appliance buying guide should be outlined with goals and priorities in mind. Make sure that the ones you purchase fit your lifestyle and the demands of condo living.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Most condominiums have limited space. Get the measurements right and bring them with you when you pick up furniture and appliances — from bed frame to curtains. The good thing about a condo though is while it is relatively small, the spots for important appliances like refrigerator, washing machine, ranges, and cooktops are already specified. Note the pieces that you should be customized.
Stick to a Budget
Shopping for new things may be exciting but do not go overboard. Always work within a budget. It is not cool to have the most hi-tech home theater but skip your monthly mortgage just to get it. It would also help if you scout for the best deals first before actually deciding on a purchase. Ask your friends and search the internet for quality appliances at a bargain price. Major appliances are also offered on a zero interest installment basis. Take advantage of this but make sure that you honor the terms or interest rates will shoot up.
Go for the Essentials First
If you are a first-time condo renter or resident and you have to start with practically nothing, set priorities and go for the essentials first. List down the things you can’t possibly live without like an air-conditioning unit, a refrigerator, or a kitchen range. You can buy your flat screen TV next time. You don’t need to buy everything at once.
Match Your Lifestyle
Ask yourself: Am I likely to cook a lot or dine out? Am I likely to watch a lot of TV or just during the weekends? Where do I spend most my time? In the bedroom or in the kitchen?
If you are a kitchen diva, then invest on really good and quality kitchen appliances. If you eat out of a box, then maybe you should go for a good countertop microwave oven and get a separate induction cooker when the need to actually cook arises.
If you are the type who goes straight to your bedroom as soon as you get home from work then maybe a sturdy mattress and comfortable sheets are worth putting your money on.
Go Online First
Turn to the internet and get help in buying appliances. The internet is full of product reviews, and more and more consumers are deciding based on these reviews. A 2013 survey by Dimensional Research found that an overwhelming 90% of consumers recalled reading online reviews and being influenced by them. Review sites often offer negative reviews while social networking sites like Facebook are more positive.
Aside from appliance buying guides and reviews online, you can also compare and contrast products and brands.
Always Check the Energy Guide
In shopping for appliances, the natural instinct is to look at the price tag. But beware, there are appliances that may look more affordable but consumes more energy. This might cost you more in the long run and chances are the appliance may not endure that long either.
Learn how to read an energy guide. They are usually a yellow piece of paper that is placed on the appliances. It contains information about the product, some of its features, and the amount of energy it consumes.
Read up on the Features
Always read the fine print when buying appliances. Most appliances like dishwashers and washing machines now have touch pad or three-way features. Make sure you know how to operate these and whether these features are what you need.
Ready for Repairs
Never leave an appliance store without discussing warranty. Nothing lasts forever, not even the most durable appliance. There are also appliances whose warranties you have to purchase separately. As much as your budget permits, get a warranty because you are most certainly going to need it in the future.
Get ready for repairs and don’t forget to ask the salesman for the location and contact numbers of service centers.
Recycle and Remodel
Scrap items from your furniture shopping list and save money by remodeling old furniture. Check if you can re-upholster your family’s old sofa, do a paint job on your childhood dresser, etc. This is also a good way to make sure furniture pieces match your room or your condo’s theme, if you have one.
Never Buy on Impulse
A 2012 survey by the shopper marketing agency, The Integer found that impulse buy is still alive and well. It found that a staggering 90% of consumers buy items that are not on their shopping list. The main reason is that the product is on sale. The result: even if you try to manage your expenses by making a list, you still end up spending more because you did not stick to it.
Don’t buy an appliance just because you liked its color. Don’t buy a bigger refrigerator just because it comes with a free wall fan that you are not likely to install anyway. Your appliance shopping guide should be all about the things you need and can afford at a particular time.
Buying new appliances for your condo is an exciting, as it is an important phase in living in a condo. Set some standards and go for quality. Know what you need and what your lifestyle demands before splurging on something. Do not crowd your condo with furniture that will only take up space. Don’t be tentative when buying “major” appliances and always be sure that it is exactly what you are looking for. Be a responsible condo dweller, don’t over indulge, and work within your means.