Furnished vs. Unfurnished: What’s Better For Your Rental Property?
Landlords make many decisions when it comes to their rental properties and one of them is whether or not to furnish them. Depending on the amount of maintenance you want to do, whether you're fine with short-term renters and the price you want to charge, having an unfurnished property is better than a furnished one — and vice-versa.
If you've got a new rental property and are trying to figure out whether to provide a furnished vs. unfurnished rental for tenants, here are a few things to know and points to consider as you make your decision.
What is a furnished rental?
A furnished house for rent is a property that already has the essential furniture that tenants will need to live. The landlord or property owner provides this furniture for the tenants of the rental property. Such furniture typically includes a couch, dining room table with chairs and beds.
Some properties may come fully furnished, meaning the tenant will need to provide little or no other furniture to live in the house. And other properties may come semi-furnished or with only partial furniture, so the tenant will still need to provide some of their own. A common semi-furnished rental scenario is that common areas like the living room and kitchen have furniture, but the tenant is responsible for bedroom furniture.
As a note, many short-term renters look for furnished properties — they are only in town for work for a few months and don't want to go through the hassle of purchasing furniture and moving it all in and out. However, they're typically fine with paying more for rent each month and expect to do so if all they need to bring is a suitcase to move in.
Pros of a furnished rental
Here are reasons to consider offering a furnished house for rent:
- You can charge a higher rental price
- You can deduct from your taxes the cost of the furniture you purchase
- Tenants don't need to purchase and move furniture, often making such rental properties high-demand and quick to fill
Cons of a furnished rental
Here are reasons why you might not want to rent your property with furniture:
- There's a larger initial cost to get your rental ready for tenants
- You'll need to replace the furniture at some point due to normal wear and tear and tenants may damage furniture
- Typically more appealing to renters looking for a shorter-term living situation
In the end, the cost of furnishing and maintaining your rental is typically balanced out by the increased rent price you can charge tenants. However, you'll likely spend more time doing property maintenance on a furnished rental, whether you're repairing or sprucing up existing pieces of furniture for renters or you're out shopping for new pieces to replace old, unusable pieces.
What is an unfurnished rental?
An unfurnished rental is a property that doesn't have any furniture provided for the tenants and it's up to them to bring their own furniture. Essentially, the landlord provides an empty house for the renter and the renter can decide which furniture they want and bring it in themselves.
Most tenants who want an unfurnished rental are looking for a long-term solution since they'll be buying furniture and making the place their own in that way. Because they'll be investing so much money into their furniture, they'll expect a lower rent price each month (as opposed to a furnished rental property). However, this can make it easier on a landlord as the property needs less maintenance (no repairing and replacing furniture). It also means you may not need to look for renters every few months. Rather, you'll only need to seek out new tenants every one to three years.
Pros of an unfurnished rental
Here's why you might prefer to rent your property without furniture:
- You'll need to do less maintenance (no worrying about furniture breaking, wear and tear on pieces, etc.)
- There's a lower upfront cost of getting the property ready for tenants
- Renters are more likely long-term, as they'll have invested in their own furniture and don't see themselves moving frequently
Cons of an unfurnished rental
Here are reasons an unfurnished rental may not work for you:
- It may seem intimidating and more expensive upfront for some renters that don't already own furniture
- You may have a harder time finding long-term renters that want an unfurnished rental
- The lower rental price you can charge tenants
There's really nothing wrong with providing an unfurnished rental property to tenants, it just depends on the type of tenant (long-term vs. short-term) that you want to attract and the price you want renters to pay.
Should you have a furnished or an unfurnished house for rent?
Both a furnished and an unfurnished rental property are good options for landlords and it really depends on the amount of maintenance you're willing to do, the type of tenant you want to have and the amount you want to charge for rent each month.
If you want less maintenance, long-term renters and are a lower price, then unfurnished might be the right move for you. Or, if you're fine with doing more maintenance (on both the property and the furniture inside of it), having more short-term renters and want to put a higher rental price on your property, then furnished might be what works best for you.
Decide which is best for you
As a landlord, it's important you weigh the pros and cons of furnished vs. unfurnished rental properties. It's likely that one option will be better for you than the other. Whichever option you choose, you'll find good tenants to occupy your rental!