The Pros and Cons of Renting Furnished Apartments in Boston
Furnished apartments might not be for everyone: but for some of us, they’re exactly what we need, just when we need it. Which one are you? Read on to find out.
But before we get too into the details, let’s clear one thing up first:
What do we Mean by a “Furnished Apartment?”
When you hear the words “furnished apartment,” you probably have an image forming in your head. But does it match up with reality? The short answer: it depends. The slightly longer answer is that there isn’t a single, unified standard for what constitutes a furnished apartment.
Most furnished apartments will have a bed and dresser for each bedroom, kitchen appliances, some furniture in the living room, and some necessities in the bathroom(s). Some have curtains, carpet, end tables, kitchen utensils, while others may not.
To be sure, ask the landlord exactly what comes with the apartment before signing a lease. That way you should avoid any unexpected surprises.
The Pros of Renting a Furnished Apartment in Boston
Moving into a place that’s already set up has a lot going for it. For example:
Pro: You Don’t Have to Buy (or Move) Furniture
Furniture is expensive. We don’t just mean purchasing it — though many a first-time renter has had to pick their jaw up off the floor when they realize how much a new sofa costs — there’s also the cost of moving all that stuff: renting a moving truck, hiring professional movers (or bribing your friends with pizza), to say nothing of the hassle involved. Plus, if you’re moving to a larger place, you might not have what you need to furnish it, adding yet another layer of expenses. Especially for first-time renters, these costs can add up quickly.
But when you rent a furnished apartment, all that is taken care of for you. If you’re moving from far away, for a limited duration, or moving out of a shared space like dorms, a parent’s house, or a roommate situation, having one less thing to worry about can be a lifesaver. Furnished apartments are easy, low-stress, and save you cash despite their higher monthly rent.
Pro: Did We Mention You Don’t Have to Move Furniture?
Anyone who’s done a big move knows too well the process of boxing up all your worldly belongings, cataloging everything (or quickly regretting that you didn’t), getting a truck, playing a real-life game of Tetris trying to fit everything in… the list goes on and on.
By comparison, moving to a furnished apartment is an absolute breeze. You’ll probably have a couple boxes with your things, all of which might well fit into the back of a car.
Pro: You Can Still Make the Space Your Own
Furnished means no decorating, right?
Sure, the big stuff will be in place. But the art, knick-knacks, personal touches — the thousand little things that make a place uniquely yours — those are still on you. First-time renters are frequently amazed at how much a furnished apartment feels like “their” space once they’ve had time to settle in. It’s astonishing what a little decor can do to make a furnished apartment feel like home. Your home.
Pro: Perfect for Limited-Duration Rentals
Need a short-term lease? Moving in on short notice? Furnished Apartments are perfect for these situations, and it’s often much easier to find what you need. If your work is taking you to Boston for a few months, renting an unfurnished apartment will make your life immeasurably easier. Graduate students — really, students of all sorts — can benefit greatly from renting a furnished apartment: especially if they only intend to stay in Boston for two years or so.
Of course, many a student has underestimated the charms of the Hub, and decided to permanently relocate to Boston after graduation: but that’s a bridge to cross when you come to it. In the meantime, a furnished apartment means less things to worry about during your studies.
The Cons of Renting a Furnished Apartment in Boston
Every coin has two sides, and no situation is going to be perfect for everyone. When it comes to renting a furnished apartment in Boston, the pros and cons are often the same thing: it’s the renters’ situation that determines whether that’s a good or bad feature.
Con: Existing Furniture is an Issue
The benefits of a furnished apartment can lose some of their lustre if you’ve already got furniture of your own. Note: this doesn’t apply to every piece of furniture — there’s absolutely going to be room for your favorite end table, lamp, etc. — but if you’ve got a king-sized bed, or a wrap-around sofa, they’re either going to be sitting in storage, getting sold, or making some college students very happy when they find them on the curb.
Either way, furnished apartments are far less than ideal when you’ve already got furnishings you love.
Con: The Rent is Higher
While it’s miniscule compared to the cost of acquiring your own furniture, renting a furnished apartment is basically always more costly than an unfurnished apartment with a similar floor plan. The savings are significant if you don’t have any furniture of your own: but if you do, not only is that a wash, you might be paying for storage on top of everything else.
Con: It’s not Your Furniture
Not being able to decorate is one thing. But just because you don’t own the furniture doesn’t mean you’re not responsible for it. Every pet scratch, spilled drink, or patch of stained carpet is another cost to account for. Also, the furniture might not be in as great a condition as the pictures suggest.
Con: Limited Decorating Options
Maybe the furniture is in immaculate condition, and you’re not worried about messing it up. Great! But if you don’t like the look of it, you’re more or less stuck. You can decorate to a degree, but there’s only so much you’re going to be able to do with what you’ve got.
Con: Fewer Apartments Available
Let’s say you know exactly what you want out of an apartment: how many bedrooms, what neighborhood, access to public transit, pet accommodations: that’s all sorted. Bad news: you might not be able to find something that checks all the boxes while still being furnished.
Bottom line, there are significantly more unfurnished than furnished apartments available. You may have to compromise on other points due to the relative scarcity of options. This is one of the places where Boston Pads’ extensive network comes in handy: you can easily search for furnished apartments in Boston, giving you real-time information about what’s available. But if there aren’t any options in your neighborhood of choice, you might need to reevaluate your criteria.
Should I get a Furnished Apartment in Boston?
Ultimately, that’s going to come down to two main factors:
What other needs and wants do you have?
What’s currently available?
If you can get those two to line up, or find a bit of wiggle room in your preferences, then you just might find everything you’re looking for in a furnished apartment. However, if your situation — furniture, neighborhood preference, desire for your own style, etc. — complicates matters, you might be better off finding an unfinished apartment and decorating it yourself.
Whichever direction you choose to go, there’s no better resource to find the apartment that’s right for you than Boston Pads. With more than 166,000 listings and 140+ agents in our network, we’ve got the most robust, up-to-date data on Boston Apartments available. If you’re still not sure — or just can’t find — what’s right for you, feel free to reach out to us: we’ll get you sorted in the apartment of your dreams faster than anybody else.