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Furnished Apartments 101 - Pros and Cons

September 16, 2019

When you begin looking for an apartment, understanding all of the different terms, layouts, and jargon can give you a headache. While scrolling apartment listings, you may have seen some furnished apartment options. What does this entail?

What is a Furnished Apartment?

Fully furnished apartments are apartments that come equipped with items you need to live normally. However, the exact furnishings can vary from apartment to apartment. These can range anywhere from appliances to typical living furniture like beds, sofas, and dressers. 

If you find a real gem, the apartment might come fully furnished and decorated. Furnished apartment rentals have tons of benefits, but there are also some negatives to keep your eyes out for. Here’s everything rents need to consider before signing a lease for a furnished apartment. 

Pros of Furnished Apartments

Ready to sign the dotted line on a lease for a furnished apartment? Doing so comes with some awesome benefits.

1. Lower Upfront Costs

One of the best parts about moving into an already furnished apartment is that you won’t have to worry about extra upfront costs related to setting up your apartment. Finding an apartment is one thing, but renters have to quickly shift focus and think about furnishing their new place. 

And it doesn't come cheap. Buying things like a new bed and sofa right after paying a security deposit can be a big hassle. When your apartment comes furnished, you don’t have to include these costs into your budget. It makes for a cheaper first month of living costs and gives you extra money in your pocket. However, furnished apartments typically command a higher monthly rent. 

2. Easy Moving

Your moving day is already exhausting. If it requires moving heavy furniture, it could be daunting. If you are making a cross country move, lugging your own furniture across the states will be costly.

With a furnished apartment, this concern is mute. You don’t have to worry about moving any old or heavy furniture from your former apartment into your new one. See it as a way to use new home goods rather than keeping the old, and a way to make moving way less stressful.

3. You Can Still Decorate

Some renters may be concerned that renting a furnished apartment may not feel like their own. While this is a legitimate concern, you can still bring your apartment to life. Yes, the furniture will be out of your hands, but you can decorate the rest of your place how you want. 

Find decorations that go along with your new apartment’s furniture instead of wishing you had something of your own. There are plenty of ways to make your apartment feel like yours. The apartment likely only includes the essential furniture pieces. You can still spruce up with the non-essentials, like rugs and end tables. 

4. Perfect for Short-Term Rentals

Furnished apartments are perfect for people who don’t plan to stay in that one place for an extended period of time. Apartment furnishing requires a lot of commitment. You have to know that you’ll be able to keep your furniture if you’re buying high-quality pieces. 

If you’re unsure if you want to stay in the area long-term, or expect to move after a year is up, furnished apartments make a ton of sense. Whether you are temporarily for work or are unsure of the new city you moved to, furnished apartments make for great shorter leases.

The same concept goes for first-time apartment renters. If you are moving out for the first time, you probably don't own any furniture. A furnished apartment allows you to live comfortably and save up to furnish your next apartment.

5. Save Time and Reduce Stress

Moving can be stressful, this is a fact. Moving into an empty apartment and needing to furnish it right away adds another layer of stress. With pre-furnished apartments, say goodbye to all the stress that comes with furnishing an apartment. They'll come equipped with a lot of the things you’ll need to live comfortably, you’ll have less to worry about when you move in. Shopping is one aspect, but don't forget about moving and building furniture after purchasing it. If you are not particularly handy, this can be a big pain.

Cons of Furnished Apartments

Sure, moving into an apartment and not needing to do any furniture sounds great. But what's the catch? Here's what to consider.

1. Rent is Often More Expensive

Before you sign a lease on a furnished apartment, get a feel for the rental market. Compare the rental prices of furnished and unfurnished apartments. Furnished units typically command higher rent prices. 

The rental market, how much furniture you need, and how much you are willing to spend on furniture are all factors to consider. If a furnished apartment is an extra $100 a month, that's $1200 for a one-year lease agreement. Calculate an estimate of how much money you'll spend on furniture if moving into a non-furnished apartment. Will $1200 be enough to furnish an empty apartment? This is one way to look at it. 

2. Worrying About Damages

A huge concern for people in furnished apartments are the costs of damaging the furniture. Spilling wine on your own sofa sucks. Spilling wine on a sofa in a furnished apartment can result in you not getting your full security deposit back. This means you’ll have to take great care of the items and ensure that you’re careful. This may make you feel apprehensive, but you could also see it as a way to keep your new apartment clean. Before signing your lease, be sure to ask your landlord about the cost of potential damages to the furniture.

3. Quality of Furniture

Just because you’re moving into an apartment that’s already furnished doesn’t mean it’ll be furnished to your standards. The materials may be heavily used, damaged, or unclean. Be sure to check with your landlord to identify if the furniture was used in the past and, if so, how heavily it was used. This will give you a better idea of the state of furniture to expect. It's always a good idea to tour the apartment and get a look at the furniture for yourself. The included couch in may look great in photos of the living room but could be super uncomfortable.

4. You May Have to Downsize

If you have any furniture that you want to use from your previous home or apartment, you may need to consider getting rid of some of it for space’s sake. This is because since furniture is already provided to you, there may not be room for all of them together. If this poses a problem, try talking to your landlord and determining if they’d remove only some of the furnishings that you do not need. 

Furnished apartments are great for some, but for others, it may pose slight difficulty or conflict. Furnished or non-furnished, Apartment List has the perfect apartment for you.

By: Justin Chaplin
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