Two condos are the same price, in the same neighborhood, and are equally pleasing to the eye. What makes someone buy one and not the other? Amenities. One of the most important amenities for many homebuyers is an on-site laundry room. No one wants to drag three loads of socks, towels and unmentionables to the nearest laundromat every Saturday, then spend their afternoon sitting and waiting for a lukewarm dryer. To someone looking for convenience, an on-site laundry is a big plus - meaning that buildings that offer on-site laundry facilities are offering residents added value and convenience. And that's always a good thing.
Adding a laundry facility is not really that difficult a process for buildings. "Provided they have room in the basement, electricity and water, it's not a problem," says Howard Herman of Wascomat Washers-Dryers. "And in most basements, you already have water and drains available."
If the building's basement does not seem like the best space for a laundry facility - either because it's too small, or perhaps too inconvenient for residents - second, third and even higher floor options exist. It's just a matter of having access to water and proper drainage. "Many high rises have them on higher floors," Herman says.
Building age should not be a consideration either. Even state-of-the-art, high-tech washers and dryers will function in older buildings - again, it's just a matter of water access and release. "We pretty much can install anywhere and everywhere," says Mitchell Blatt, president of Coinmach, the largest coin and card-operated laundry provider in the United States.
When it comes to installing the actual machines in the building, boards and managing agents have two choices: they can either buy their own machines or work with a route operator. Buying the machines can mean a large initial investment - the rule of thumb is one washer and dryer for every 15 to 20 apartments. In the long run, though, owning the machines could mean larger returns on use - after the initial investment is paid off, every quarter put into the machine goes into the building's coffers.