To Furnish Or Not To Furnish: A Guide for Getting A New Apartment

Getting A New Apartment

If you are getting a new apartment which is furnished, also known as a ‘turnkey,’ is a fairly common trend in real estate that allows new tenants or renters to move into a new apartment or condo that is already decorated with couches, tables, dining room setups, beds, and kitchen appliances. It’s popular among busy professionals who simply don’t have time to decorate, as well as students and single persons who can’t lift heavy furniture by themselves. Furnished apartments are popular in big, bustling cities like New York, San Francisco, and Austin. However, there are different types of furnished apartments and the real estate markets of various cities will provide fluctuating options. The furnished apartments Austin residents prefer, which can include flexible leases and concierge services, may be different than what’s offered in coastal cities. 

The three types of furnished apartments are: furnished, fully furnished, and semi-furnished. Furnished apartments will include the options listed above and may also feature some extra appliances, like table lamps, toasters, microwaves, and kitchenware.

Fully furnished apartments, which are the units that earned the nickname ‘turnkey apartments,’ include all of the above but take things to the next level by installing pretty much everything you would normally have to purchase from the stores – kitchenware, cookware, silverware, towels, blankets, dishes, pots/pans, and usually paintings, artwork, and décor for the walls. Pretty much the only things missing will be toilet paper and food. 

If you are getting a new apartment which is Semi-furnished, it will usually only feature the most basic furniture and appliances. 

Factors in choosing a furnished apartment

There are several basic factors one should consider before agreeing to a furnished apartment.

~ Moving logistics – How much time do you have to move and do you have people who can help you? If you are on a very tight schedule (say, you’re quickly relocating for an intense new job), don’t have any helper-friends, and don’t feel like paying for professional movers, a well-furnished apartment can be hugely relieving.

~ Furniture aesthetics – If you’re not very picky about furniture like couches and beds, having a new apartment pre-furnished can save you the hassle and may even save you some money.

~ Leases – Very often you can negotiate a shorter lease on a furnished apartment. Since they are popular among mobile professionals and students, you typically won’t have to sign on for a full year. Of course, your lease will depend on the city and the landlord.

~ Rent, deposit, and liability – Keep in mind that your rent and security deposit will often be higher because the price includes the furnishings. You didn’t think they were just going to give you this stuff, did you? Interconnected with this is your liability. Since the landlord invested more into the apartment, you’re on the hook for any damage to the furnishings. 

Before moving in…

If you are getting a new apartment which is furnished, it’s very important to do a thorough walk-through before signing the lease and taking detailed notes on the condition of all the furnishings.

Before signing on the line which is dotted, ask the following questions and get the answers in writing:

~ Which furniture pieces, appliances, and accessories are included in your rent and security deposit? Get specific, down to each linen and pillow.

~ Is there a separate security deposit for any of the larger furnishings, like beds?

~ Are any of your utilities, such as gas/electric, water, Internet, etc., included in your rent?

You may also want to ask:

Do you have any say in which furnishings come with the apartment? 

This isn’t always possible, but some landlords have a menu of options with different styles, sizes, and décor. For example, if you need a Queen-size bed and are only given a Twin, this could require you to get a new bed, which basically means you’re paying for two beds. Also, if you’re paying for décor and artwork, you may as well try to get styles that you like.

Generally speaking, a person who is very particular about the exact look of everything in their apartment will probably not be into furnished apartments because you usually do not have control over what comes included.

Also, consider what you’re bringing with you. A furnished apartment may not necessarily have extra storage space. After all, the whole point is not having to drag couches, beds, and chairs halfway across the country in a U-Haul.


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