The hidden traps of furnished apartments

Written by in Buying

The interior of an apartment

Unlike other major markets across the world, it is has not been as common in Australia to find a furnished apartment for lease or sale, but this is changing. As prices continue to grow within the major cities, and high density living becomes the norm, a growing number of apartments are being constructed to such a high degree of quality that the furnishings included are becoming a key part of the package and appeal for buyers and renters.

Furnished apartments also range in what they offer. You may be seeking something with a bed and the basics of a home, such as a dining table and couch, or you may be after an entirely fitted home, complete with artwork, bedding, kitchenware and appliances.

There is real appeal to buying or leasing a furnished apartment, the most obvious being the independence and freedom it affords landlords and renters alike. Professionals who may be in another city within a few years due to changing jobs can live a lifestyle where they do not have to worry about the accumulation of large furniture, while investors can be assured that the styling of the apartment is such that it appeals to the target demographic leasing from them.

Investing or renting a furnished apartment does have its drawbacks, or at least things you need to consider before going down that road.

1. The cost. You will obviously pay more for a furnished apartment, and this cost will reflect the extent to which it is ‘staged’ or set up for living. High end furnished apartments market themselves as being lifestyles in their own right, and the styling and furnishings are therefore key parts of this marketing. Expect to pay significantly more for an apartment that is furnished than you would if you bought a bare property and had to buy your own furnishings. It is a misconception that buying a furnished apartment saves you money as you don’t have to buy your own furniture. A developer will not leave themselves out-of-pocket when it comes to the presentation of the property.

If renting, expect the bond of a furnished apartment to be significantly higher, to reflect the obvious wear and tear on furniture that will occur during your tenancy. What is acceptable wear and tear? It’s all in those two words: wear is acceptable depreciation in the furniture’s surfaces from gradual use, while tear are such things as cigarette burns, tears in upholstery, and other damage to property.

2. Greater restrictions. Beyond the fact that you have less freedom to create a home that reflects your tastes and personality, furnished apartments are often less pet-friendly. The tax deductibility of some furnishings is being increasingly regulated, which means landlords are more likely to pass on these costs to the tenant by way of both higher bonds and restrictions on pet ownership.

3. Less common. While the number of furnished apartments on the market is growing, those that offer entirely furnished living remain in the higher end of the market or are limited to smaller studio apartments and one bedroom apartments. This may suit some people, but it is yet to entirely open up to a larger market of renters and buyers.

4. Cookie-cutter styles. If you love your possessions, you are unlikely to be interested in a furnished apartment. Yet, while it is harder to reflect your personality through the major furnishings, there are some easy ways to inject your own tastes into the home. The key is in the details, so look at things that you can easily change. Hardware such as doorknobs and lighting can be temporarily changed, while temporary wallpaper, rugs, sofa covers, pillows and artwork can instantly transform your home. The greatest advantage to renting or buying a furnished apartment is that it still acts as a blank slate for you to use the various possessions you have collected over the years and in your travels to display to guests.

Check out some great home staging trends for 2018 here.