October 12, 2017

Updated November 11, 2020

So you've decided to furnish your rental property. Congratulations! There are significant benefits to renting a furnished unit—especially if you put in the time to make it a safe, comfortable space for your prospective tenants. 

Here are five steps to maximize your return on your furnished investment.

Pick Furnishings Wisely

Know the type of tenant you hope to attract and furnish your rental accordingly. For example, young professionals and seasoned executives are likely to have higher expectations and take better care of your property—than college students. Furnished rentals generally come with the essentials, like a bed, living room seating, dining furniture, and kitchen and bathroom housewares. The quality and quantity beyond the basics depend on how much you'd like to spend. Don't forget to weigh the upfront investment with how much it would cost to repair or replace lost or damaged items.

Make It Easy on Yourself

Furnishing your own home or a single unit is work enough, so if you're renting out multiple apartments, use one-stop shops that sell good-quality furniture and housewares at reasonable price points. Big box stores like Target and IKEA are good options for everything from dishes to dining tables, and you can order bed frames, mattresses, and accessories to be delivered right to your door. Some companies will even pick up old mattresses and other broken or worn furniture for recycling.

Ensure Your Investment.

Because turnover is often higher in furnished units with tenants who have less interest in taking care of furniture and appliances, it's a good idea to check what's covered under your landlord insurance. Your dwelling policy may provide assistance in case of accidental damage and significant accidents but likely won't help with normal wear and tear or reckless tenant behavior. Increase the required security deposit to account for potential repairs or replacements—keeping in mind that your state may have specific regulations about maximum deposits allowed. Another option is to add a furniture rental fee on top of the monthly fee.

Hold Tenants Accountable

Be very clear about terms and expectations in your lease, and consider including an addendum that lists all furnishings and what loss or damage for which tenants will be held responsible. Do a thorough inspection upon move-in and move-out. Require tenants to have their renter's insurance policy to cover their personal property.

Check Key Safety Features Regularly

The condition of your furniture is important, of course, but so are standard safety precautions. High turnover allows you to regularly inspect the condition of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and light fixtures. Ensure you have alarms installed strategically throughout your property and are up to local code, and test alarms and replace batteries and bulbs as necessary.

As with any relationship, honest communication goes a long way. Get to know your tenants, even if they only stick around for a few months. If you take pride in your space and an interest in their wellbeing, they are more likely to take care of your property.

About the Author: Emily Long is a freelance writer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She writes about tech, home automation, and safety. When she's not living out of a suitcase, you can find her practicing yoga, running Utah's best trails, or attempting to perfect her coffee brewing skills.

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