Replacement window quality advice?

How do the experienced investors go about replacing windows? I’m a newbie and am going to need 23 vinyl replacement windows for a rental. I’m looking for something that’s durable but inexpensive. I’d be paying for the windows and installation. What brands should I consider or avoid? Are there any pitfalls that I should avoid? Thanks.


I go to a local builder’s surplus store and buy surplus windows. They are typically double-hung, double-pane, vinyl replacement windows and are between $45 and $80 each (they could be any brand). If you’re going to be in the rental business, you’ve got to learn to be a cheapskate!


Mike’s advice is spot on… with a few cavaets. I also keep an eye on craigslist. However, you need to weigh the cost of windows you will be using against the type and level of rental you will be offering and the exit strategy for this property. If your property is in a higher end neighborhood, you might want to invest a few more dollars in higher quality windows, especially if you plan to sell within the reasonably near future (5 years or so ?). Getting 23 matching windows from surplus or craigslist would be nearly impossible and mismatched windows might make a property less desirable in a future sale.

I’ve used the Home Depot “American Craftsman” windows in both lower end ($180K) and higher end ($379K) properties with good results. American Craftsman has several levels of quality you can choose from. However, these were not “replacement windows” but “new construction” windows.

I’ve also used surplus/craigslist windows in lower end properties by matching up all front windows and then, all back windows (front and back windows slightly different types. No side windows in a middle row townhouse unit)


I am a contracted and use a window guy that installs windows for about $200 per window. Really the biggest factor will be what you plan to do with the property. If you are going to go all new look for a company the builds and installs the units.r

This is for a buy and hold property for myself. 25% of the windows have already been replaced and the 23 that I’m going to do represent the other 75%.

if the frames are good but the seals are broken (water or dirt between the glass) I prefer to just have the “insulated glass units” replaced for about $25 - $60 per unit, depending on size, etc.

That’s a good idea. I’m looking at replacing the frames as well due to lead issues in the house. Thanks.