Can I get more money from a furnished rental?

Written on November 14, 2018 by , updated on December 3, 2019

Furnished RentalsAn interview with Lucas Hall, Landlordology’s founder and head of industry relations at Cozy.

Not only can you get more money from a furnished rental, demand is growing in the furnished rental market, even with the popularity of Airbnb. Over the past decade, there have been more renters overall, and a percentage of those renters prefer to rent a furnished home for a variety of reasons.

I recently spoke with Lucas to get his opinion on what it takes to get into the furnished rental business and to get his best advice for landlords who are thinking about breaking into this niche segment of “landlording.”

First, lets talk about what exactly a furnished rental is.

There are two types of furnished rentals: long-term, meaning a few months or more, and short-term, such as vacation properties.

Most long-term rental properties typically don’t come furnished. But they can. And there are some benefits for renters. Furnished rentals usually have all the furniture and appliances someone would need, and they may or may not have day-to-day essentials such as plates, silverware, and linens.

Short-term rentals for 30 days or fewer are completely furnished with linens, a vacuum cleaner, grill—everything you can want. The idea is that all you do is bring your suitcase and move in.

What kind of furniture should you put in a furnished rental? Cheap motel furniture? High-end stuff?

The type and quality of furniture to buy should mirror the type of unit you have. So if you have a high-end unit that commands thousands of dollars a month, then you should probably have a leather couch, a nice bed frame, and art on the walls. Whereas if you have housing that attracts contract workers, for example, who make between $20,000 and $40,000 a year, you can have used furniture that’s still in great shape. Or you can get furniture from places like IKEA.

In other words, if your clientele is willing to pay $3,000 a month for a two-bedroom, that’s the clientele who would expect to have a nice sofa.

Another consideration is that if you buy the nicest furnishings, there is a chance things will get stolen. If you buy the best coffeemaker or the most expensive knives, those items might ‘disappear.’ You’re better off buying middle-of-the-road items that serve their function.

What is the market for a furnished rental? Who wants to stay in one?

I have had renters for long-term furnished rentals who are moving from across the country for a job, and it’s a big convenience to just be able to move right in. There’s no need to move furniture or to shop for furniture right away.

Short-term is a whole different game. There you have weekly or monthly vacation rentals. You also have traveling nurses who tend to stay for two to six months, and the hospital pays for it.

Related: How to market your rental to traveling nurses

How do you market a furnished rental? What, if any, are the differences in your advertisement?

It’s important to put in the title that you have a furnished rental. Someone who needs furnished housing will be looking for that first. An unfurnished rental in this case will be a deal breaker. Also describe in the listing what the furnishings are. And make sure you show pictures of all the furnishings.

An important benefit of a furnished rental is that furnished units generally look better in listing photos, particularly when you stage properly. You want your furnishings to look really good in pictures. Your furnishings should be clean, useful, and complement the space and the color scheme.

Whenever you’re advertising a property, whether it’s a long-term unfurnished rental or a short-term furnished rental, you should photograph it with furniture in it.

Related: How to shoot real estate photos like a pro

How much does it typically cost to furnish a rental property?

I have had experience furnishing a two-bedroom condo and a studio. For the studio, I spent between $2,000 and $3,000. With the two-bedroom, I spent about $10,000 to furnish it. I bought a little nicer for the two-bedroom because it was going to be a short-term rental. I needed durable furnishings.

My tip when it comes to buying furnishings, whether it’s for a short- or long-term rental, is to buy stain-resistant materials. Otherwise, you’re stuck with regular cleanings or having to replace the furniture every year.

Now for the question that helps landlords decide whether they will offer a furnished rental or not:

How much more money can you get for a furnished rental?

You can typically get 15 to 20 percent more for a furnished long-term rental. It’s a convenience. People are willing to pay for convenience.

And for a furnished short-term rental, you can get 40 to 50 percent more at a minimum. In some cases, you can even double that, getting 100 percent more, depending on the location of the property.

You can typically get 15 to 20 percent more for a furnished long-term rental. It’s a convenience. People are willing to pay for convenience.

Which locations are best for furnished rentals?

I’ve had the most success with furnished rentals in high-density or highly desirable areas. I’ve had a successful furnished studio, for example, right in the heart of Washington, D.C., right near Capitol Hill and a metro station. People wanted to live there and were willing to pay for the convenience of a furnished rental. Places like that appeal to people whose time is more important than money and who would rather spend more than deal with furnishing a rental property.

Can you charge a larger security deposit for a furnished rental? After all, there are now theft of furnishings and furniture damage to consider.

Absolutely. But you can charge only what your state allows. This is often between one and two months’ rent as a maximum. So most of the time, landlords charge one month’s rent as a security deposit for an unfurnished rental. But for a furnished rental, I think it’s smart to double that, or charge two months’ rent. And just like any security deposit, it’s fully refundable as long as there are no damages.

Do you have any further tips or advice for our readers?

A good opportunity for people who want to do long-term furnished rentals is to get into corporate housing or provide housing for traveling nurses. You figure out if there’s a company or hospital that’s willing to make a corporate agreement with you. They pay the rent and are responsible for finding tenants.

Are you interested in getting into the furnished rental business? Or are you in it now? Let us know in the comments!

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13 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Willie Easley

    I’ve been renting homes for 40 years. For the first time I’m learning about furnished rentals. Not sure it will work for larger homes.

    Need more information. Glad to find this sight.

  • Hilda Mejia

    Hi, I am interested in renting my three bedrooms two bathrooms furnished apartment for long periods or permanently . I am traveling overseas for at least one year and I would like to know how I get in contact with people interested in this type of properties. I don’t need to move my belongings to the new place and I want to avoid the hassle of putting them in a storage.
    I live in Springfield Virginia . I have been renting the property with AIRBNB but now the County of Fairfax passed some laws against to what they call “short term rental”
    So, I am looking for clients that can sign a lease for at least six months .
    I appreciate any idea you can give me .

    Hilda Mejia

  • Annabelle Harwood

    Our apartment are located in Plymouth Devon United Kingdom we have high end class furniture, we are moving to Philippine we would like to rented out long term !

  • Lena Isombrown

    Hello. My name is Lena and I am interested in renting to traveling nurse. My home is located near hospitals and I think that would be ideal. I have a 3 bd/ 3 bath and is
    Fully furnished. Hope to hear from you soon. Lena

  • Sandra

    Looking to rent my home fully furnished high end decor in Dallas Texas

  • Jorge Borjas

    I have an Airbnb and I’m having issues with the neighbors being unhappy about the Airbnb so I’m thinking about turning it into a furnished long term rental since it’s already fully furnished. There’s a small hospital nearby.

  • Sendu

    I have a two bedroom two bathroom condo in Aurora

  • TAW

    I have a 4 bedroom 3 bath , fully furnished home in downtown Windsor that will be available for rent January 1st.
    I would ideally like to do a 3 to 6 month, potentially longer, lease with traveling nurses or some type of company contract for employees. Great location, walking distance to restaurants, bars, and Windsor lake. Close to I-25, centrally located near Loveland, Denver and Fort Collins.


    What’s the best way to get investors when establishing a fully furnished rental property business in Washington DC?

  • BrendaSmith

    I’m thinking of renting my 3 bedroom row house furnished. Wondering if there is any interest for this 40 miles west of Ottawa and how much could I charge

  • Alban Bulku

    Hi, I’m moving for work who will last 3-4 years
    I want to rent 2bed 1bath fully furnished home 2 parking spots … Elmwood Park IL

    Looking for long terms !

  • ASHA T

    I am looking for a tenant for a long term lease for my fully furnished 3 bedroom 2 bath lakefront home Located northeast of Detroit. It is in Harrison Township on Lake St. Clair. It is in the Lanse Cruse school district.

  • Michele

    I’m interested in renting my 4 bedroom two-and-a-half bath home with a pool in Las Vegas Nevada fully furnished with beautiful furnishings everything you can need in the house including all Linens and dishware everything included I would like to rent it for a minimum of six months. Gated community

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