Housing: It’s a very big deal – and statistically the largest investments any of us ever make. Turn over? Sure: On average it used to be every seven-years, or so.
A year or so back, friends of ours sold their “dream house” up north because they were finally tired of the weather. Won’t mention the state, but let’s just say its winters are cold and the summers short.
None of which would be so bad, but these are outdoor people. Pets, hikes, camping…all much better in some places (they chose Arizona) than others (like the up north).
So they bought a house. Not too much quibbling on the price – and then they poured in money to detail it out to their liking. They found the “contractor’s secret source” for quartz and granite counters – so those were upgraded. But there were two major surprises to the home that we’ve made note of because if/when we leave the ranch/tree farm/ outback, we don’t want either of their experiences.
The first was the cabinetry.
After the deal had closed, they starting moving things in only to discover that the kitchen cabinets had serious issues and needed rebuilding. As my friend explained, “We could have avoided it – or negotiated the price down a bit more – if we had just systematically gone through every drawer and door in the house…”
It was an expensive “live and learn.” To be sure, the contractors they hired worked out well and the place gleams now, but that was an important lesson for me.
Another one (though it matters less in the city) is to remember to have your land surveyed before the deal or at time of sale. In most states, if you don’t make your property lines compliant right away, you’re essentially giving up future claim even though it may be your land.
The second lesson from our friends involved LG appliances. The home didn’t have a fridge, for example, so a new fridge was part of the purchase agreement. To their credit, the sellers provided exactly what was wanted.
Now, fast forward 10-months, or so.
The LG refrigerator has its compressor go out. Not the kind of thing that should happen in the first year of normal operation.
In fact, so dicey are the LG refrigerators that a law firm over here has a page titled “LG Refrigerator Compressor Class Action Investigation…”
Back to our friend’s experience: This happened within a year of the unit being purchased by the home sellers.
What slipped through the cracks, though, was the receipt for the unit. When LG was informed of the failure, they couldn’t find a repair person who was close – and without documentation our friends were up a very expensive creek.
As it turns out, there are companies that DO insure home appliances for home buyers (good) but in the case of our friends, the sellers had not added the refrigerator OPTION. Bad.
Now you can see the lessons just piling up, can’t you?
First: The purchase receipt wasn’t passed along. A copy of the warranty registration would have been nice, too.
Second: Even if you can’t get all receipts, you can get insurance which (from our understanding) is an expense to the sellers.
Third: Some appliance coverages are OPTIONAL – so you need to specify in the documentation of sale WHAT appliances are covered. Their fridge was not.
This turned into something of a nightmare: Several hundred dollars worth of food lost and then finding out they live in “no repair person country.” Great.
A Fourth lesson involves Appliance Brands. Which is why we like to read up Consumer Reports and other rating services.
If you don’t want to subscribe to CR, our approach to Amazon ratings is simple enough to learn.
We would look at an LG refrigerator like this one and see that Amazon reviewers were 67% ONE star. Not the one we’d pick, obviously.
As you may know, our “star use” idea goes like this:
We won’t spend our money on things where we don’t have at least an 80 percent chance of “being happy.”
So this LG fridge (when I looked Monday) had only 28% with a rating of four or five stars.
We have generally had good luck with Kenmore appliances, and they have a refrigerator/freeze for about $500 less over here. The risk on this one is they don’t show how many stars it gets.
On the other hand, if I were shopping for an appliance right now, Lowe’s seems to have a decent on sale over here. I just count stars.
I don’t know as much about Lowe’s “star rating” but if I went by simply 4 starts plus 5 stars divided by all stars given,, the fridge at Lowe’s would imply an 82% chance of being happy.
This is one of those few areas that Amazon doesn’t quite “own” yet, compared with the Big Box stores. While Best Buy has some highly reviewed items, Home Depot is worth a look, too.
In fairness to LG, they get higher marks on some of their other models. But, we’ve had good luck with Kenmore and Kitchenaid.
Even so, refrigerators are a very tough piece of equipment to “get right” these days. Even our Kitchenaid would still only get three or four stars if we were to review it. The ice maker seizes up and needs to be completely cleared of ice and washed out with hot water two or three times a year.
Plus, every time I put in a new water filter cartridge, I have to run 5-gallons through it before the auto shut-off in the door stops dripping.
Maybe it’s that there are few really perfect home appliances. Maybe, like everything else in the world, “value-engineering” is the art of designing appliances with more and more features (some have five and six doors now!) which in turn will need more frequent (and higher-priced) replacements.
LG? I understand the company position WRT our friends. No doc, no help. But I also get to vote with my wallet. So do you.
Now let’s take the Global View: Ask yourself what it says about the world when a Kenmore refrigerator/freezer our family got when I was six years old managed to keep working well (doing service as a second fridge for the parents) when I was 20. The damn thing is probably still working. That’s great engineering (and did I mention made in America?) for you.
What happened since is the ugly creep of planned obsolescence – and of all the useful things the climate-change jihadists and the SJW’s could be whining about that would lighten humanity’s footprint on the planet…here’s a REAL serious example.
Don’t see people out demonstrating for “longer-lasting home appliances” on the six o-clock news, though, do you?
Naw…no money in that for the MainStreamMedia to palm. Those advertisers need to keep telling us “life’s good.”
No, it’s not.
We’re going backwards for those greedy corporate types and we’re too damn stupid to call ’em out on it.
Write when you get rich,