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Furnished Apartments: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

furnished apartments

Is the extra money and time it takes to furnish an apartment is worth the work?

Property owners often make tough decisions as to what rent-included perks they offer their renters. For many years, utilities-included rental options (heat, energy and water) were a competitive advantage. Nowadays, additional specialized markets have arisen to address more specific renter needs (like small-space studios), so property owners must adapt and offer new services to fit these changing market needs. One such marketplace is fully furnished apartments. Some renters don’t want the hassle of moving furniture into an apartment or worrying about choosing décor. Appealing to these renters often depends on whether the extra money and time it takes to furnish an apartment is worth the work.

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The Pros of Furnished Apartments

There are two large categories of renters looking for fully furnished apartments. The first is the traveler, who stays in town long enough that they want more than a hotel room, but they’re not interested in owning property. This could be anyone from a relative who doesn’t want to impose on their family to a businessperson managing projects over a few months. These will be short-term tenants, but they will have budgeted for a fully furnished unit because to them it’s a necessity rather than a convenience.

The student is the second type of renter who prefers furnished apartments when looking for rental options. They may be fresh out of the dorms with little of their own furniture or perhaps they’ve travelled far without much of their own to move in. The last thing they need is a large debt from a number of big purchases all at once. Paying a higher monthly rent for a furnished apartment is easier to budget for.

Moving is a very stressful time in a person’s life. The more to-do items that can be taken off their plate, the easier a move can be. Not dealing with movers or big pieces of furniture can make a furnished apartment seem very appealing. For someone moving across the country, not having to devote time to furniture shopping means they can focus on the reasons they moved in the first place. These sorts of moves might also occur if the tenant is building a home and dealing with construction delays.

The Cons of Furnished Apartments

More services required of the landlord generally means higher rent. The location of a rental property often influences the amount of rent paid. Include furniture and you can push the rent higher, which sounds like a pro. But it can be tricky to find the sweet-spot: a monthly rental fee high enough to cover the extra items provided, but not high enough to price the unit out of the market. It also means adjusting any security deposit for damages to the furniture. Cleaning and replacing furniture means more work on your end between tenants, so it’s another thing you have to add to your maintenance schedule. Preventative maintenance can help, but if a tenant trashes a piece of furniture, it’s up to you to replace it.

Renters looking for furnished apartments are often looking for another big feature: a short lease. Many furnished apartments owners offer leases for less than a year or even month-to-month. Furnished apartments are often viewed as temporary housing during a transitional period in a person’s life. Beyond travelers and students, these apartments are often desired by people who have just made big life changes like starting a new career in a new city or dealing with a divorce. They might have also had big life changes thrust upon them, like the death of a loved one. So while you’ll be able to collect a higher premium per month, you’ll be working harder and more frequently to fill your space up with new renters.

Good Markets for Furnished Apartments

Properties located near a college make good candidates for furnished apartments. Anything within walking distance is an obvious choice, but also consider locations on major transit lines to the school. College towns can have a bit of a larger radius, but remember: most students that can’t afford furniture may also have some trouble owning a reliable car. Inexpensive furniture for these apartments can be easily found. Students want comfort and cleanliness instead of high design and visual appeal. Most students looking for furniture cruise resale shops for recycled sofas. There’s no reason a landlord can’t do the same. Washable slipcovers are an effective way to cover a variety of imperfections! And a fresh coat of spray paint can work quick wonders to update and refresh old tables, chairs, shelves and desks.

Furnished apartments near an airport appeal to many traveling renters. Sometimes, your renter might want a place to relax, repack and get ready to head out on the next plane. Locations near other modes of transport can also reflect these ideas such as those by bus or train stations. These apartments should have a bit more style and interior consideration. Business travelers might not be able to afford five-star hotels every night, but they want a place that reminds them of home and offers sophistication and security.

Whether or not you decide to furnish a property depends primarily on the market in which that property is located. If it’s near a college, a furnished apartment would appeal to students who don’t have many of their own possessions to move into a rental. If the property is near an airport or other travel hub, business travelers will appreciate a furnished rental without the prices of a nightly hotel. Be aware that furnishing your apartments will create some unique challenges to overcome like shorter leases, higher upkeep cost, and higher renter turnover rate. However, in the right place at the right time, a furnished apartment can be the perfect place for someone to temporarily call home.

First Image “178 – I Live in IKEA” courtesy of Flickr user Hillary licensed under CC by 2.0.
Second Image “AFTER!” courtesy of Flickr user Justin Snow licensed under CC by 2.0.
Featured image “Budapest 2010” courtesy of Flickr user Daniel Stockman licensed under CC by 2.0.

12 Responses to Furnished Apartments: Good Idea or Bad Idea?
  1. I had moved into a furnished apartment right after I graduated from college. As you mentioned, students or recent graduates often prefer having furniture provided for them, since they haven’t been able to buy any for themselves. There’s definitely a market for such apartments out there, both for students and business people. Thanks for the article.

  2. I may be moving apartments in the near future so your post weighing the pro’s and con’s of furnished apartments has been helpful. Since I’m a student I think I could benefit from a furnished apartment, from what I’ve read. I think I would need to find a sweet spot between higher rent and having a furnished apartment since it would cost more money, like you said.

  3. Thank you for the article. I have found that already furnished apartments can be good for when you are first starting out on your own. Most of the time the furnishings in the house tend to be broken up and terrible looking anyways. I have found that in multi residential apartment complexes there are plenty of good furnishings in those.

  4. Nice article. I was in search of a furnish apartment. I finally found it. It is an Ozone group apartments.They have an excellent infrastructure and all the facilities required in today’s world. I must say it is worth the pay!

  5. Thank you for sharing these tips for furnishing a small apartment! I recently moved into a studio apartment and wasn’t sure what type of furniture to buy in order to avoid clutter.
    I love the idea of an armchair instead of a sofa and using folding furniture! Do you know if there are stores that cater to folding furniture and smaller pieces?

  6. I think renting an apartment fully furnished and with fully operational equipment, etc. would be a great idea! I remember moving into my first little apartment on the 5th floor with my wife. It was such a hassle to move everything up the stairs, and then to call a lot of companies to make sure all the appliances were working fine. It would have been amazing to just move into an apartment that was fully operational. Thanks for the post!

    • Thanks for reading and for the reinforcing comments! Ideally more apartment building owners will find this post and related comments beneficial when deciding if they’ll offer furnished units in their buildings.

  7. Nicely distinguished! Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. A Person who is creative and artistic would definitely try to decorate home in their own way and then again it depends on one’s budget whether it rent or own. From low cost to high, simple to sophisticated, depends on the individual choice and preference. For those who doesn’t want to shell out money on furnishing, then they opt for furnished or semi-furnished apartment, again depends on budget and individual. Thanks!

  8. I think it can be a good idea to get a furnished apartment. This is especially true if you don’t plan on staying for too long! It’s not worth the time to move everything in and then out if you aren’t going to be staying for long.

  9. Pingback: Three Reasons Business Travelers Should Stay in Furnished Apartments – Hash Tag #Traveling

  10. Thanks for the brief overview on it. Advantages of a furnished apartment are like here you can share your space with other members and at the same time you have your own time to relax and work. Nice article indeed…


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