There are a lot of considerations you have to take into account when it comes to apartment hunting. Monthly rent, rental insurance, and furniture. But that last one might not be an issue if you rent a pre-furnished apartment. While most apartment units are unfurnished, there are some landlords that provide apartments already populated with bedroom, living room, and dining room furniture. It might seem like a matter of personal preference, but there are definitely pros and cons to it. Here are some pointers that should help you decide what's best for your situation.
There are different levels of "furnished", so don't assume that the definition is consistent from apartment to apartment. Some are fully furnished and include more than just the big pieces like sofas, beds, and kitchen tables. They may include lighting, curtains, framed artwork, detailed furnishings, smaller kitchen appliances, and even curtains. These are great for those who have never rented before, short-term renters, and especially for students who don't want to commit to spending money on such things.
Most furnished units don't include the full set of furnishings from floor to ceiling but just the basics that you'll likely need to add to when you move in. Keep in mind that getting all the information about what's actually provided, you need to talk to the landlord and also look at the lease language. It's good to have all the information beforehand, rather than finding out you have no kitchen table or bed when you move in.
If you think landlords provide furnishings out of the goodness of their own hearts, you're gravely mistaken. It's a strong selling point for renters, but the expense of thousands of dollars in furniture has to come from somewhere. Typically, that's passed on to the renter in the form of higher monthly rental amounts. It doesn't mean that if the landlord paid $5,000 to furnish the unit you want to rent, he'll bake the entire amount into the rent, but it could happen.
Just know that it does come with strings attached. Upfront costs may not be higher, but your monthly rental cost will certainly be higher than a similar unit that's unfurnished. Also, keep in mind that there might be a clause in your lease that asks for a higher security deposit to cover the cost of damaged furniture.
Before you make a decision to get a furnished apartment or not, calculate costs and measure them against your budget. How much rent can you afford to pay? What would it cost to furnish your new apartment if it was unfurnished or partially furnished? Does the convenience of not having to buy furniture outweigh the cost of purchasing your own? These are all important questions you need to ask yourself.
This what's called a cost-benefit analysis, and it involves comparing the two (or three) situations. The assessment shouldn't just be monetary, even though that's the crux of the matter. You also have to consider moving costs and convenience if you have to buy your own furniture. Will you move it yourself or hire others to bring the furniture it? Does the furniture you're going to buy come with free delivery? What will it cost to move it all out to your next apartment? Don't be blindsided but plan well, and you'll find which decision is best for you.