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What appliances should a landlord provide

What appliances should a landlord provide? Every landlord has a different opinion. I tend to be fairly generous. I’ll explain what I provide and why.

First, let me give you a hint: Often you have to spend money to make money, and a fully-stocked house can easily net you $20 additional in rent every month. Assuming a 10-year service life, that means you can afford to spend $700, and $700 buys a lot of used appliances. Also, if a tenant stays an extra year and your house isn’t vacant for a month while you’re getting a new tenant, that’s worth a few hundred dollars alone. Here are some tips on saving money on appliances if you need them.

Second: This isn’t what a landlord is required to provide. It’s what I recommend they provide based on my own experience.

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Save money on appliances

If you want to know how to save money on appliances, I have some unconventional advice: Buy used. Yes, really. Here’s how to buy used (or refurbished) appliances and save big money without getting ripped off.

I’ve had a number of friends get hit recently with appliance breakdowns they couldn’t afford, and since I’m a landlord, I’ve probably bought a lifetime’s worth of appliances in the last seven years. A dead appliance doesn’t have to turn into a financial catastrophe.

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How to repair a dryer

The other night I had a dryer go out. I had a few surprise expenses this month, so I really didn’t want to replace a dryer on top of the other things, so I looked into how to repair a dryer.

I learned quite a bit, but the most important thing was that I fixed a $200 dryer with $7.50 worth of parts, and it only took a few minutes.

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Phil Kerpen, net neutrality, and socialism: A post-mortem

I learned the hard way a few weeks ago how net neutrality can be equated with socialism, an argument that puzzles people who work on computer networks for a living and see networking as a big flow of electrons. I think it’s very important that we understand how this happens.

Here’s the tactic: Find a socialist who supports net neutrality. Anoint him the leader of the movement. Bingo, anyone who supports net neutrality follows him, and therefore is a communist.

Political lobbyist and Fox News contributor Phil Kerpen told me Robert W. McChesney was the leader of the net neutrality movement, and he sent me a quote in the form of a meme longer than the Third Epistle of St. John. Yet in a Google search for the key words from that quote, “net neutrality bring down media power structure,” I can’t find him. So then I tried Bing, where I found him quoted on a web site called, but I couldn’t find the primary source.

For the leader of a movement the size of net neutrality, he sure keeps a low profile. Google and Netflix are two multi-billion-dollar companies that support net neutrality. I’m sure it’s news to them that they’re taking orders from Robert W. McChesney.Read More »Phil Kerpen, net neutrality, and socialism: A post-mortem

Replace a microwave over the range

It’s not hard to replace a microwave over the range.

When I bought this house 10 ½ years ago, it had an undercabinet microwave in the kitchen. I don’t know if the previous owners told me how old it was or not. It was an Ewave, which is a brand Magic Chef uses when they don’t want to put the Magic Chef brand on it. So it was a budget manufacturer’s lowest-tier microwave. It was a little temperamental but mostly worked, so I can’t complain about it all that much.

But it got worse over the last couple of months. The right keypresses registered about half the time when you used the keypad. We decided to replace it just as soon as we could. Finances have been tight this year, but fortunately we got a sale right around the time we were able to afford to get one. We picked up a low-end Whirlpool microwave on special for $50 below retail, which essentially meant we got a Whirlpool for the price of a Magic Chef. It’s bigger than our Magic Chef was, and gets better reviews than the current Magic Chef appliances. I recommend basic appliances from reputable makers. Microwaves are no different, but I’d rather buy a new one on sale than a used microwave.

Installation is the hardest part, but it’s easier than it first appears.Read More »Replace a microwave over the range

Fix a dryer that heats but won’t dry

So the dryer stopped drying a few days ago. The dryer is relatively new; I think we got it about 18 months ago to replace a dryer a friend gave me. That was a little early, given my old dryer lasted so long. I learned how to fix a dryer that heats but won’t dry.

That old dryer, by the way, was a Whirlpool that looked like it probably could remember Ronald Reagan, and maybe even Jimmy Carter. So it seemed a little odd for this new dryer (a rebadged Whirlpool from a local scratch-and-dent dealer) to develop an old-age disease this quickly.

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Umm, no, that’s not Commodore, and that’s not an Amiga

Some stories floating around are suggesting that Commodore is still around, and they just released a new, overpriced Amiga.

Well, there’s a company slapping “Commodore” and “Amiga” labels on PC cases that look kind of like Apple Mac Mini cases and stuffing off-the-shelf components in them, but they’re Commodore Amigas in name only.Read More »Umm, no, that’s not Commodore, and that’s not an Amiga