I recently decided to replace all the old windows in one of my duplexes (24 windows in total).

Ever since I bought this property back in 2011, this was something I always felt needed to be done, but I held off on it for years because from a cash flow standpoint, it was hard to justify spending over $10K for these upgrades without any concrete expectations of when (if ever) I would be able to get that money back.

This duplex is situated in a Class C neighborhood, so there’s no expectation of luxury here… but even so, the windows on this property were very old, inefficient, and didn’t work very well.

I figured this would be a good opportunity to make a substantial improvement to this property (for the sake of my current and future tenants), and also to bring YOU along for the ride. I want you to see the transformation, hear about my experience along the way and ultimately – decide for yourself whether this kind of upgrade is worth the investment at YOUR piece of real estate.

Working With Window World

When it comes to windows, there are A LOT of different brands and companies out there.

I can confidently say that ANY kind of new windows would have been a major improvement on this property – but depending on which types of windows (and contractors) I chose to work with, there was a very wide price range I could potentially be paying for them.

The company I decided to work with was Window World.

I’ve worked with other window companies in the past and had good experiences with them, but there are a few reasons why I chose Window World for this particular project:

  • Window World is essentially a one-stop-shop for windows. They don’t just sell you a window, they’ll handle every aspect of the process – measuring, pricing, manufacturing, and installation (not to mention, they also measure/sell/install exterior doors as well – which is a separate project I’m planning to next year).
  • Window World is a nationwide company. There are plenty of comparable window companies that operate only in my state… but I wanted this information to be relevant to as many people as possible – that’s why I picked a company that has a presence in most major markets around the U.S.
  • Window World has a lifetime transferrable warranty on all windows. This is actually a pretty standard thing among windows companies these days – but I feel like Window World makes it easier than most. Since their installers are actually employed by Window World (not sub-contracted with some third party installer), they handle the warranty fulfillment directly, rather than leaving the customer to figure out the installation on their own.
  • Window World is an ideal choice for lower-priced windows. Being a rental property, I wasn’t looking for ‘Cadillac’ of windows, but more like the ‘Chevrolet’ of windows. They didn’t need to be state of the art, just up to today’s design and efficiency standards, and built to last for decades.

Window World is kind of like a franchise system. Each shop is essentially selling the same product, under the same brand, and getting their windows from the same plant – but each office is independently owned and operated.

My property is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the windows that went into my duplex were built and assembled in Gratz, Pennsylvania – so the product wasn’t manufactured in my state, but it was made in the USA.

The total time from ordering to installation was 8 weeks.

My Experience: Before & After

This particular property is over 100 years old, so there were a few extra challenges and costs associated with the installation.

The installation team consisted of one person – so the entire installation process took a total of 3 days (this was partially due to the presence of lead-based paint, and the fact that he was working in 2 separate rental units, with tenants that weren’t always responsive).

As you can see from the video above, the end product was a MAJOR improvement from what came with the property when I first acquired it.

Does It Make Financial Sense?

So obviously – new windows are a very nice upgrade to give yourself at your primary residence because you get to see and use them every day, and the value proposition goes beyond mere dollars and cents, there’s your own personal comfort and enjoyment to weigh into the equation too.

When it comes to an income-producing property, the decision is usually much more weighted towards the cost and return. Most real estate investors look at this decision purely from the standpoint of cash flow, and whether the ends justify the means.

This was easily my biggest dilemma in making this decision.

Looking purely at how positively (or negatively) this would affect my cash flow – there wasn’t much of an upside to this decision. AT MOST, I might be able to increase rent anywhere from $25 – $50 per month (if at all), so no matter what… it would take many years for me to recoup this cost.

As such, unless new windows are an ABSOLUTE necessity (e.g. – if the windows are broken or don’t meet the city code), it’s pretty easy for most landlords to just say “no” to this kind of investment.

However, there are some other benefits beyond cash flow that may be worth considering. Here’s the full list of pros and cons I came up with…


  • In theory, new windows can increase the resale value of a property. See the Cost vs. Value in your market.
  • Better windows almost always add significant energy savings, which ultimately saves money for whoever is paying the heating/cooling bill.
  • Better windows will make a property more desirable – which could potentially give a landlord better options in tenants.
  • Better windows can potentially allow a landlord to charge a higher rent price (depending on the property, the market, and the level of improvement).
  • If a landlord wants to provide a higher quality of housing and feel good about what they’re offering in the market, new windows are a great way to improve the living experience for whoever is renting out the unit.


  • The cost. News windows are CRAZY expensive – no matter what kind you buy or who installs them… there’s just no way around this, and it’s a tough pill to swallow.
  • The hassle. If you’ve got tenants in your property, they need to be notified, they need to move all their furniture away from the exterior walls and remove any hardware from the windows (which they may or may not be compliant with doing).

Window World (and I suspect most window companies) has a few different levels of quality and pricing. Their entry-level windows are the 2000 Series – which probably makes the most sense for rental property owners because they’re the least expensive option.

For an extra $20 per window, I was able to upgrade to the 4000 Series – and since I was only replacing 24 windows, it seemed like a worthwhile price to pay (if I was replacing 100+ windows in an apartment complex, I probably wouldn’t have gone with this upgrade).

There’s also the 6000 Series (a triple pane window, with the most efficiency and best build quality), which I would probably consider installing in my own home – but I didn’t think this was necessary on a rental property.


In the end, I was pretty happy with the new windows in this rental unit. The property looks a lot better (windows can make a surprising improvement on a property’s aesthetic appearance), everyone at the company was very easy to work with, and I even got a discount when I informed them that this was a rental property.

But beyond all that – when I look at these new windows purely from a dollars and cents standpoint – was I able to justify the cost of this investment?

Given the cost of this project (approximately $11,000 – after getting some landlord discounts), I would have to increase rent by $25 per month in both units, and then collect this higher rent for 20 years (and then totally ignore the time value of money) in order to be “made whole” again.

In my situation, other than the ‘warm fuzzies’ I got from seeing the improvements to the property, there weren’t a lot of compelling reasons to do this from a cash flow standpoint.

Now keep in mind – I’m not paying the heating/cooling bill at this property (so I have no cost savings there) and I’m also in a fairly cheap rental market (so there wasn’t much room to increase rent)… so in a way, I had almost all the numbers working against me.

If you own rentals are in a more expensive market and/or if you stand to save some money on the utility bills through the increased efficiency, then it should, in theory, be much easier to get on board with this kind of investment because, in some instances, it can very realistically pay for itself.

Have you ever bought new windows for your income-producing properties? Did it end up being the right decision for you? I’d love to hear about your thoughts and experience in the comments below!

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About the author

Seth Williams is a land investor with hundreds of closed transactions and nearly a decade of experience in the commercial real estate banking industry. He is also the Founder of REtipster.com - a real estate investing blog that offers real-world guidance for part-time real estate investors.

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  1. Alvin E Horton says:

    Being a military retiree with limited landlord acumen, this video Blog was easy to understand and helpful in all the areas of consideration you outlined.


    1. Seth Williams says:

      That’s amazing to hear Alvin! Thanks for letting me know – I’m glad you got some value out of it!

      1. Laura says:

        Were You compensated in any way by Window World? This seems like a promo piece.

        1. Seth Williams says:

          Hi Laura – thanks for asking. This is not a sponsored post and I don’t have an affiliate relationship with Window World. I’m always on the lookout for good blog content and since I was doing this project anyway, it seemed like a good opportunity to make a thorough review out of it.

  2. Bart says:

    Hey Seth thanks for the great post.

    I bought your postcard templates a couple days ago and was wondering:

    1. How do you keep track of the people you send mail too so that you don’t send to people twice?

    2. How long do you wait to mail a county again?

    I appreciate all you do!

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Bart – great questions! I’ll answer your second question first…

      2. I generally wait anywhere from 6 – 12 months (or longer) before I’ll hit the same county again.

      1. When I’m mailing to the delinquent tax list, this kind of time gap allows for most of the recipients to turn over (come off the list, because they’ve either paid their taxes, or the county has seized their property from them).

      My goal is NOT to hit the same owners over and over again. If they don’t respond to my first mailing, I simply move on to another list and go from there.

      I hope that helps!

      1. Bart says:

        Thanks Seth.. One more question:

        We sent out 88 postcards today. How long should I wait before sending out another batch? I have 50k to buy properties. I was thinking two weeks but I don’t know how long it takes before getting calls (if any).

        Btw I am very happy I purchased your postcard templates!

        1. Seth Williams says:

          Hey Bart! It usually takes around 2 weeks for all the mail pieces to hit each recipient’s mailbox (and possibly a 3rd week for everyone to see and respond to them).

          Keep in mind – 88 is a pretty small campaign. It’s fine to start with this kind of small volume when you’re just getting the hang of the process, but if you want to get enough prospects to work with over the long term, you’ll probably want to do at least a few hundred at a time.

  3. John says:

    Seth, did the same window replacement on a 4-unit rental building I own at the beach in LA and spent just slightly more than you about a year and a half ago. Listening to your video brought all those memories back but just as you said, the building looks great and the windows are a huge improvement for some of the same and some additional reasons. My old, aluminum windows were also from the 60’s and with the sea air often didn’t open, close or lock properly. Plus the 1/8″glass was like paper. The new, vinyl windows with 1/4″ glass, some insulated for acoustics, are great. They look good, they work properly and lock for better security, they are also low E for better energy efficiency and they block out the sound of the beach traffic so much better my tenants can now sleep through the night.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      That’s great to hear John! Wow – it sounds like our experiences were VERY similar. I’m glad you’ve been happy with the end product too. Even though it’s expensive, it’s fun to make these kinds of improvements to the appearance and function of a building, isn’t it?

  4. nida says:

    After looking at various option now i need to think a lot to choose what kind of designs will suit my needs. Liked the part which explains,now i would recommende more peoples to fix window it’s very comfortable in one room. Thank you so much for the tips.

  5. John says:

    Considering Window World for our replacement windows. Enjoyed your video for the tips and tricks. What is the name of the upbeat music in your video. Thank You

    1. Thanks for watching/reading John! I got that music from a website called Epidemic Sound. The song is called “Cool Down 3“. Hope that helps!

  6. Joey Patrone says:

    You are obviously a pitch man for Window World. Do not know how much you made, but the real truth is that they resale their private label that is manufactured by Associated Industries -aka Alside. They are notorious for bating and switching. The unfortunate fact is, the $60,000 plus franchise fee that they pay plus annual costs put them in a situation to sell 1000 plus units a month to maintain numbers. They subcontract like everybody else. Virtually every company does this to contain salary staff costs. The turnover rate for the franchisee is typically 5-7 years.

    1. Nope, not a pitchman – just a real consumer sharing their experience. I must say though, based on your comment, you seem to have an obvious chip on your shoulder against Window World.

  7. William Clark says:

    Hey Seth, the guarantee on Window World windows don’t cover rental properties do they? I am going to have them put in windows in one of my units, but the guarantee clearly states it is for owner occupied. Actually all the companies I got quotes for, (Lowe’s, WW, and a local company in our town) all had the same disclaimer. Thoughts?

    1. Oh really?? On my – I apparently missed that detail.. However, I actually had to replace a couple of parts on my windows within the first year (the tenants busted two of the locks) and according to my property manager, they honored the guarantee (at least, the franchisee in my area did – maybe that varies depending on which franchisee you’re working with). If that’s true, that’s a very good point.

      1. William Clark says:

        Thanks for the feedback. I sensed our local WW would honor it as well judging by their presentation of the reasons to buy from them. We live in a smaller market and it was the owner who came out to do the measurements, but 15 years from now if we still hold the property I won’t at least be surprised if the warranty ink fades as time increases. Nice report by the way.

  8. Vincent S Dominici says:

    I purchased two windows last year and I noticed rust marks on the outside flashing. I knew this was aluminum and should not rust. I called for someone to come out to inspect \it. Well this guy comes to my door looking like a homeless person. He didn’t even remove his dirty shoes. I showed him the problem here gave me a bunch of BULL story. Honestly he was useless. I don’t know how Window World can have a guy like this, who represents Window World come to a customers home looking like he did and give the customer a BULL story about the rust. He said I should paint it. I hope someone with authority will see this and do something about it.

    1. Wow, that’s an interesting experience. I do know each office is an independently operated franchise… so I’m sure there are variations in quality around the country. I definitely didn’t experience anything like that when they installed my windows.

  9. Ted says:

    Might check the spec sheet glued to the window (has the energy efficiency info, etc.) and note the window was manufactured by “MI Windows and Doors” not Window World as you said in the video. I think they now use AMI as their supplier. Perhaps not a major point but worth noting that Window World is just a sales company. Don’t know if the installers are company people or contractors.

    1. That’s great to know. Thanks for pointing out and sharing the intel, Ted!

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