As our house was a foreclosure, the appliances left behind were contractor grade. There was a white range, a greasy range hood fan, and a white dishwasher. We always preferred stainless appliances and electrics, but that did not mean we would run to the store and pay full price for those things. Y family's money rule #1: never pay full price for anything.
We did not replace everything at once. The fridge was needed as the previous owner took the old one with them. We were actually thankful for that. A fridge can be very hard to clean. We learned that through our renting days. You never know what people keep in their fridges. We started to search for deals on fridges. We researched and researched. We read reviews, read consumer reports, and asked friends. The process always involved going into stores, touching the display models, and opening them, and measuring them.
We knew we wanted a stainless steel side by side model. We decided on the brand and model based on research and a budget (of course). After that, it was a constant price waiting game.
We also knew right away that the range hood fan needed to be replaced, as it was so greasy and yellowish white. We decided to go with an over the range microwave/fan instead to save counter space. We wanted to have it vent outside, which meant drilling new holes into the outside wall and setting up the duct work.
We did the water hookup for the fridge ourselves since Mr Y insisted on doing that himself. It was super easy. We also tried to install the microwave with the help of Mr Y's father and brother. Even though we did a decent job, we were not able to run the new duct work through the cabinets. We did revisit that project a year later and hired a contractor to re-run the ducts for a reasonable price.
Both the fridge and microwave had a price drop after our purchase within 30 days. Luckily, Lowes has price adjustments and they honored it for both items, which saved us a lot more.
We did not replace the dishwasher and range until a year later to complete the entire stainless steel look in the kitchen. Both were functional but yellowish white from the grease built up from the previous homeowners. Both were purchased at reasonable price.
Here are the details on each of the appliances purchased:
Fridge: Samsung RS267TDRS $1,300
OTR Microwave: Samsung $260
Range: 5 burner stainless steel $675
Dishwasher: Sears Kenmore $278
For our old appliances, we gave the dishwasher to a friend and donated the range to Restore. For the stainless steel look, it did cost a little more than the white/black ones, but it was all worth it.