To Rent or Not to Rent? Pros and Cons of Renting Furniture

Side view of happy young couple placing sofa in living room of nIn Los Angeles, it’s not easy to move in and out of an apartment — especially older apartment buildings downtown. They’re notorious for narrow hallways and no elevators. And, if you’re the type to change apartments each year, you know how hard it can be to match your current furniture to the new space. That is why more renters in Los Angeles are opting to rent furniture too. But before you go out and sign a contract to furnish your new space, you’ll want to make sure it’s the right step for you.

Pro: Change Up Furniture Anytime

Rental furniture doesn’t have the same commitment as furniture you buy. When you buy something, you can’t just change out furniture every year — unless you want to pay for it. With rented furniture, you return the furniture at the end of your contract, pick up more, and you’re not out the cost of the item. This is especially helpful if you move frequently and need to change out your furniture to match your new space.

Pro: It’s Moved for You

You don’t have to move the furniture you rent. Instead, the company can relocate it for you. That means no more hassling with moving vans, no bribing friends and family to strain their backs relocating your items, etc. But, your furniture rental company might charge a fee to move mid-lease.

Con: It’s Expensive

When you compare the cost of renting furniture to the cost of buying, you’ll pay more over time for rental furniture — and you won’t own the furniture (unless you do a rent-to-own contract). Even when you compare the cost of interest and buying furniture on credit, you pay more to rent.

Con: You Could Get Locked Into a Contract

Most furniture rental agencies have contracts. These can be month-to-month, six month or yearlong lease periods. So, you are locked into that contract period until it ends. If you need to end early, you might be charged an early cancellation fee — or have to pay out the rest of the lease.

Is Renting Furniture Right for You?

If you tend to move a lot and you aren’t fixed in a single location, rental furniture could be your answer. It comes down to your budget as well — can you afford a rental payment and furniture lease payment every month? Also, if you are the type that changes your style frequently, you might find it more affordable to rent furniture than commit to a purchased piece.

Apr 2014

Traditional Cable or Apps?

Couples In Living Room Watching Television SmilingThese days cable service isn’t the only way to watch your favorite TV shows. In fact, there are numerous apps out there that let you watch TV programs and movies for a fraction of the cost, but which is better? According to a recent study, TV and corresponding premium channels cost the average subscriber around $86 per month — and those costs continue to rise about six percent annually. That means you could pay over $200 by year 2020.

Traditional Cable Alternatives

Cable alternatives can be streamed over your computer, TV, Xbox and even your PlayStation. Some have apps that work on tablets and smartphones too. These days there are dozens of apps out there that let you watch your favorite TV programs.


For a monthly fee you can catch up on past seasons or watch movies over the web and on your TV using the Netflix app. Netflix has one of the largest streaming libraries, but they don’t have episodes that are currently airing — you have to wait until the season completes and is then released on DVD to access it on Netflix.

Hulu Plus

Hulu Plus gives you access to the latest television shows for an annual or monthly fee. When the show airs, it won’t be live on Hulu. Instead, it will air the next day. But if you are the type that can’t wait for your show’s season to end and be released on DVD, Hulu is the answer. Not all shows air on Hulu, however. While they are expanding their contracts, the selection is still rather limited.


YouTube has joined the paid subscription world. You can access some channels based on the subscription you have. But, just like Hulu, they don’t let you watch a show as it airs.

Amazon Instant Video

Amazon Instant Video is similar to Netflix. It streams things that are already out on DVD — TV shows and movies included. Some programs will air new episodes a few days after they air live on TV. Amazon Instant Video is part of the Prime Membership program, which means you have to pay the annual fee for that.

Going with Traditional Cable

If you like to watch the news or want to watch shows as they air live, then you will need traditional cable. While apps help you save, they lack the capacity to show live news programs every day and cannot show television programs as they air.

Some consumers find it more convenient to order a very basic cable package —that includes channels like ABC, NBC, etc. Then they supplement with money-saving apps for more premium channels to save money and have the best of both worlds.

Apr 2014

Four Things to Remember as a First-Time Renter

Apartment Lease SignThere is a lot to learn as a first-time renter. While some things aren’t important, every first-time renter should know four critical things. Whether you’re moving out of your parent’s apartment or you’re relocating for a job, the transition is new and overwhelming. These tips will not only help prepare you for the endeavor, but make sure you have as few headaches along the way.

Know Your Budget

If you have never rented before, expenses may have not been something you paid attention you. But, now that you are moving out, you’ll have to start thinking about expenses. Some you might encounter include:

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Insurance
  • Groceries
  • Gas/Transportation

Moving out on your own guarantees an increase to your monthly expenditures. So before you even start apartment hunting, add up how much you pay each month already (car payment, student loans, etc.) and how much you’ll add by moving out. Then, compare that to your income. Remember you may also have one-time setup fees, such as installing cable or setting up internet – which need to be factored into your moving out budget.

Make a List of Priorities

You might think living downtown is great or having a gym in your apartment is important, but it is easy to set your expectations too high when you’re a first-time renter. It’s time to be realistic about what you can afford and what you’re likely to find. Sit down and make a list of your real priorities— such as having a new apartment close to work or public transportation. Then, write down your secondary priorities — such as a pool or fitness center.

Think in the Long-Term

No one wants to move all the time, so you do need to think long-term when you’re looking for an apartment. Don’t have the mentality that “this will do for now” because searching for another apartment isn’t easy. Think about how the apartment you’re looking at works for you now as well as in the future. Does it have enough space as your furniture collection grows? Do you plan on getting a roommate in the future (or getting rid of one)?

Read the Lease and Understand What You’re Signing

As a first-time renter, a lease might be the first contract you’ve ever signed. Read it carefully and make sure you understand every line. If you have questions, ask the property manager to explain what something means. If you’re unsure, you can have someone else read and explain the lease to you as well. Always review things like:

  • Your security deposit — how and when you get it back.
  • Your rules — can you have guests? Can you paint?
  • Your payments – When are they do and what happens if you’re late?
  • Your lease term — How long is it and what happens if you need to move before the lease is up?
Apr 2014
POSTED IN Legal Tips

The Most Admired Amenities for Apartment Hunters

Young couple celebrating moving to new homeBack in the day, all that apartment hunters cared about what how many bedrooms and bathrooms they got for their money. But these days apartment hunters are spoiled with amenities and knowing that there is the option of something better means they are going to want the most bang for their buck. While some amenities attract a lot of renters, there are others that renters don’t care about. It is important to know what amenities your renters are looking for so that you can ensure you attract more tenants to fill your vacancies.

Washer and Dryer in the Unit or Hookups

Most tenants want accessibility and want a unit that makes their life easier. If you have washer/dryer hookups or washer and dryer units in each apartment, you’re a step ahead of the competition. In a recent study, apartment renters stated that they were looking for apartments that had laundry in the unit itself.

Furnished Units

Some apartment dwellers don’t want to hassle with buying furniture for their space, which is why more hunters are looking for apartments that are already furnished. They can move in and out without ever dealing with a moving van or buying new furniture.


Dishwashers go hand-in-hand with washer/dryer options. Tenants don’t want to wash their dishes by hand, so if you don’t have dishwashers in your units, it is time to think about installing them.

Walk-In Closets

Apartments are known for having limited storage, but those apartments that offer walk-in closets are a step ahead of the competition. A lot of apartment hunters are looking for units that have larger, more accessible closets for all of their stuff.

Pool and Gym

Offering a swimming pool and gym for your tenants keeps them in the community and gives them something to do. While you can’t just construct a pool, you might be able to turn one of your community areas into a gym.

Air Conditioner

Southern California is hot. If you don’t have air conditioning in your units, it’s time to add it. Most tenants want to be comfortable where they live, which means they’re looking for apartments that have air conditioning as a standard amenity.

Updated Interior

While an updated interior is not an amenity, it is an attraction. Outdated, old or ugly looking apartments don’t fill as fast as those that have been updated. Change out vanities, refinish the countertops in the kitchen and paint cabinets from natural wood to a bright white. Tenants want apartments that feel clean and modern – not outdated and used.

Apr 2014
POSTED IN Uncategorized

Need More Tenant Reviews? Four Friendly Ways to Encourage More Reviews

Hispanic family outside home for rentThese days renters look online to see what others have to say about apartments in their area. In fact, 80 percent of renters use reviews as a critical component in their apartment comparison. Because they are looking for reviews, it is important to have reviews on your site. But, how do you convince current and past tenants to leave good reviews for your complex? Sometimes all it takes is just asking them. After all, a lot of renters don’t realize that you’re looking for reviews or even accept them. Renters are more likely to write reviews if they’re asked, but it is also how you ask that determines whether or not you get the reviews you need to stand out among the competition.

Ask the Renter in Person

When you have a current or leaving resident in front of you, ask them for a review right then and there. You can give them a contact card to fill out or you can give them the address of the website where they can leave a review. Instead of making it a testimonial format, consider setting it up like a survey. This can encourage better feedback, but also tell you where you need to improve for future residents. Cover areas like maintenance, rent, and how they enjoyed their stay with you.

Send an Email

A lot of residents and property managers communicate through email. You can send a survey or ask for feedback and direct them to your website via an email or newsletter. Use a call-to-action statement that lets them know you’re collecting reviews. You could even encourage them by offering a small gift for sending a review.

Add It to Your Website

Add a page or button to your website that encourages visitors to read and leave reviews. It should be accessible for your renters – such as at the top of your website. Write some blog posts or have a catchy header that also helps renters find the review page. Don’t forget to add links and information about it on your social media sites.

Use Print Advertisements

A flyer taped to the door of each resident’s apartment could get their attention. Or you can send postcards out to past tenants and encourage them to leave a little feedback on your site. Add the address to your review site to all of your printed materials – including brochures, newsletters and even notecards. That way tenants always have access to the review site.

Apr 2014
POSTED IN Market Tips