- Megan Wenker
Blinds, Washer & Dryer, and Water Softener
We bought our home during a market cycle when the builder was offering blinds, refrigerator, and a washer and dryer set with a home purchase. The market has changed dramatically since we went under contract on our first vacation rental in February 2020. I often get asked about these items by my clients so I’ve pulled together what I have on these items and hope this helps. We selected a top of the line water softener after my research on water hardness in Southern Utah. I’ve included the notes I took during the buying process, my assumptions and preferences for our home, as well as other options you can look into.
I have the standard 2" Levelor blinds in my house. I've had no damage after a year of straight rentals. I'll likely use this product in my next home as well. Some of my clients have selected the accordion fold blinds that double as black-out shades. These seem durable but I don't have enough history with them for an educated opinion.
We purchased blinds for our primary home through blinds.com. A guy from Home Depot came out to measure for the order then came back to do the install. This is a good option because if you are handy, you can save some money on the measure and install portion and do that yourself. I recently had a client order directly through Lowes. Lowes offered the same measure and install service. For a 3 bedroom home, all windows covered was about $1000 and for non-stock blinds it took 2 weeks between measure and install for the blinds to arrive. I’ve had other clients use The Blindman and I see their van in the neighborhood often.
Washer and Dryer
There are 3 top considerations when buying a washer and dryer for a vacation rental. Number one is the capacity of the washer. I would buy a minimum of a 5.0 cu ft. washer and dryers often come 7.0 cu ft. or larger. The washer is the bottleneck for the cleaning and turnover process. By purchasing a larger washer, that ensure that we can turn the house between same day guests and increasing your occupancy rate! The second consideration for the washer is that it has a speed clean cycle. Sometimes there are items like a duvet cover that needs to be spot cleaned and can be laundered quickly without a full 50 minute cycle. The last consideration is for the dryer. Gas dryers dry quicker than electric. This is my least important consideration but in the hours between an 11am check-out and 4pm check-in every minute counts.
On the hard water scale St. George water scores a water hardness of 20, Lehi scores 12, and anything over 10 is considered hard water. If you plan to hold your for 3+ years, I recommend a water softener to help protect your appliances. Furthermore, the water in southern Utah is full of Iron, which turns everything red, so I want that filtered out (all water softeners do this). My last consideration for spending the money on this just after closing is by investing in this upfront, we get the benefits the entire time we own this house. There are many different grades, features, and warranty periods offered on water softeners. I initially did some research back in April 2020 before purchasing our first water softener. Some manufactures will throw out engineering standards that have nothing to do with water softening or filtration. When I pulled the ANSI engineering standards, they were actually safe manufacturing practices. I was pretty disappointed that they throw them around, but they were unrelated to the function of the unit. I am also including other purchasing options my clients have used.
We purchased our water softener from Kinetic of Southern Utah. My parents have had their Kinetico unit for 10+ years and it’s in great shape. We also added a Kinetico reverse osmosis unit in our kitchen, we not need to buy bottled water when we visit, and I advertise this in my listing for guests. If we decide to sell, this is considered an upgrade that I would include in that listing or I’ll remove it before lisitng and take it with me.
Contact: Gene (435) 673-1716 Tell him I sent you and ask about the RO package deal for my clients!
This was my favorite manufacture. Their system is a two tank system so you never run out of soft water. This is important for the Mancini floor plan which sleeps more people who shower. It takes 34 minutes for the water softener to run its regeneration cycle to refill 1 tank. During this time, the house is serviced from the second tank. Therefore you should never run out of soft water, thus protecting all your appliance, faucets, and fixtures. If your house needs two hot water heaters to service the bathrooms, it need a 2 tank water softener to service that much water timely.
The machine also runs its cycle using the soft water it has already produced so the internal parts (piping and valves) are not coming in contact with hard water. This will extend the life of this machine just like the soft water is protecting all our appliance in our house.
This system is completely mechanical and does not need electricity nor does it have a timer. The benefit here is that it only runs a cycle when a tank is empty. Others on the market run based on a timer or algorithm. Meaning that they don’t maximize the life of your salt or potassium.
When there are 14 people staying you never run out and when no one is staying the system doesn’t run because there is no demand.
***All Pricing from Summer 2021***
Electric Water Softener:
· This does not have the advantages I mentioned above. This is the same technology you would buy everywhere else. It’s more economical.
· $1196 + tax installed with salt
Signature Series Water Softeners:
· This is the size for our house with 3 showers
· $2495+ tax installed with salt
· I ordered this unit for our Santiago floor plan with 2.5 bathrooms.
Premier Series Water Softener:
· This is the size for 4+ bathrooms
· $2995+ tax installed with salt
· 10 year warranty
· I put this unit in my Valencia floor plan because I also bought the RO system and saved $500.
· $1495+ tax
· Average filter life is 12-14 months, filter changes cost $80
· Back in 2020, Gene was willing to work with me on price. He offered me a system special for buying a water softener and a reverse osmosis. Then he offered me an even better deal for purchasing the Premier Series Water Softener + Reverse Osmosis for $3495+ tax.
They have different filter options so you can choose the most important toxins to you. They also have an alkaline filter which adds minerals back in for taste and to raise the PH. I did not opt for the alkalizing filter due to cost and the fact that this is a rental. We installed a filter bypass in our refrigerator that I ordered from GE since Ivory plumbed the water to the refrigerator from the kitchen sink it receives RO water. This will extend the life of the refrigerator water and ice, and any small appliance you run this water through. It’s like using distilled water.
Phone: (435) 673-1599
This is where Ivory buys all the appliance for our homes. I have had several clients get a budget friendly option from here. I am not familiar with their products standards or specification.