Furnished Vs Unfurnished Property: Which One is Better to Rent Out in Riverside, CA?

One question that I get asked a lot as a property manager is the difference between an unfurnished property, and a furnished property. What are the benefits? What are the cons? Which one is better? Well, today I am going to go over in detail the pros and cons of both these options, as well as recommend which one we see has more success. 

Pros and Cons of Furnished Rentals: 


Convenience for Tenants:

Furnished rentals offer convenience for tenants who are relocating or looking for temporary housing solutions.

Tenants can move in without the hassle of purchasing furniture or appliances, making the transition smoother and more straightforward.

This convenience factor can be particularly appealing to professionals with short-term work assignments or individuals who are relocating for personal reasons.

Higher Rental Rates:

Furnished rentals often command higher rental rates compared to unfurnished properties.

Landlords can capitalize on the added value of providing fully furnished accommodations, allowing them to generate greater rental income.

The convenience and comfort of moving into a furnished home justify the higher rental rates for many tenants, especially those who prioritize convenience over cost.

Target Market:

Furnished rentals cater to a specific demographic of tenants who value convenience and flexibility.

This includes international students, traveling professionals, corporate executives, and individuals in need of short-term housing solutions.

By targeting this niche market, landlords can attract tenants who are willing to pay a premium for the convenience of a fully furnished rental property.


Increased Wear and Tear:

Furnished rentals are more susceptible to wear and tear compared to unfurnished properties.

The presence of furniture and appliances increases the risk of damage, stains, and depreciation over time.

Landlords may incur higher maintenance and repair costs to keep the furnishings in good condition, especially in high-turnover rental properties.

Limited Tenant Pool:

Furnished rentals appeal to a narrower segment of the rental market compared to unfurnished properties.

Some tenants may prefer to bring their own furniture or have specific preferences for interior design and décor.

Landlords may face challenges in attracting tenants to furnished rentals, especially if the demand for such accommodations is limited in their area.

Higher Turnover:

Furnished rentals may experience higher turnover rates compared to unfurnished properties.

Tenants who rent furnished accommodations often have shorter-term housing needs and may not stay for extended periods. This frequent turnover can result in additional costs and administrative tasks for landlords, including cleaning, maintenance, and finding new tenants.

By examining these pros and cons, landlords can make informed decisions about whether furnishing their rental properties aligns with their investment goals and target market preferences.

Pros and Cons of Unfurnished Rentals: 



Unfurnished rentals offer versatility for tenants to personalize the space according to their preferences and needs.

Tenants have the freedom to bring their own furniture and décor, creating a living environment that reflects their individual style.

This flexibility appeals to a wide range of tenants, including families, professionals, and long-term renters who value customization.

Lower Maintenance Costs:

Unfurnished rentals typically require lower maintenance costs compared to furnished properties.

Without the presence of furniture and appliances provided by the landlord, there is less risk of damage and wear and tear.

Landlords can minimize maintenance expenses and prolong the lifespan of their rental properties by opting for unfurnished accommodations.

Broader Tenant Pool:

Unfurnished rentals appeal to a broader segment of the rental market, including tenants who prefer to bring their own furniture or have specific design preferences.

Families, long-term renters, and individuals seeking permanent housing solutions often gravitate towards unfurnished properties.

By offering unfurnished rentals, landlords can attract a larger pool of potential tenants and minimize vacancy periods.

Lower Vacancy Rates: 

An unfurnished property will most likely be on the market for a shorter period of time than a furnished property. This is the biggest upside to having unfurnished property, other than the broader tenant pool, as well as the lower turnover rate. 


Initial Investment:

Furnishing an unfurnished rental property requires an initial investment in furniture, appliances, and other essential amenities.

Landlords must factor in the upfront costs of purchasing and installing furnishings when preparing an unfurnished rental for occupancy.

While this investment can be significant, landlords may recoup the costs over time through higher rental income and tenant satisfaction.

Lower Rental Rates:

Unfurnished rentals typically command lower rental rates compared to furnished properties.

Tenants expect to pay less for unfurnished accommodations since they are responsible for providing their own furniture and appliances.

Landlords may need to adjust their pricing strategy and expectations accordingly when renting out unfurnished properties to attract tenants and remain competitive in the market.

Which One is Recommended? 

PMI Riverside will usually lean towards unfurnished properties for several compelling reasons.

Broader Tenant Pool and Lower Vacancy Rate:

Unfurnished properties appeal to a broader segment of the rental market, including families, professionals, and long-term renters.

With the flexibility to personalize the space according to their preferences, unfurnished rentals attract tenants who prioritize customization and long-term residency.

This broader tenant pool translates to lower vacancy rates for unfurnished properties, as there is consistent demand from a diverse range of potential tenants.

More Cost-Effective for Landlords:

Unfurnished properties are more cost-effective for landlords in the long run, as they require lower maintenance costs and fewer upfront investments.

Without the need to purchase and maintain furniture and appliances, landlords can minimize expenses and maximize profits from rental income.

While the initial investment in furnishing an unfurnished property may seem daunting, landlords can recoup the costs over time through stable rental income and reduced maintenance expenses.

Flexibility for Tenants and Landlords:

Unfurnished rentals offer tenants the freedom to furnish the space according to their preferences, creating a sense of ownership and comfort.

Landlords benefit from the flexibility of accommodating a wide range of tenant preferences without the limitations imposed by pre-furnished accommodations.

This mutual flexibility fosters positive landlord-tenant relationships and promotes long-term tenant retention, ultimately benefiting both parties.

In conclusion, while furnished rentals may offer convenience for certain tenants, the recommendation for landlords, especially accidental investors, is to consider unfurnished properties for their rental portfolio. Unfurnished rentals provide a broader tenant pool, lower vacancy rates, and greater cost-effectiveness, making them the preferred choice for long-term investment success. By focusing on unfurnished properties, landlords can maximize their rental income, minimize expenses, and attract reliable tenants who value flexibility and customization in their living space.

Final Thoughts and Considerations: 

When deciding between furnished and unfurnished rentals for your investment property, it's essential to carefully consider your goals, target market, and budget constraints. Here are some final thoughts and considerations to keep in mind:

Tenant Preferences: Understand the preferences and needs of your target tenant demographic. Consider factors such as lifestyle, duration of stay, and desire for flexibility when determining whether to offer furnished or unfurnished accommodations.

Market Demand: Research local market trends and demand for both furnished and unfurnished rentals in your area. Evaluate vacancy rates, rental rates, and tenant preferences to gauge the potential profitability of each option.

Financial Analysis: Conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis to assess the financial viability of furnishing your rental property. Consider factors such as upfront investment costs, maintenance expenses, and potential rental income to determine the most cost-effective option for your investment portfolio.

Flexibility and Adaptability: Keep in mind the flexibility and adaptability of unfurnished rentals in accommodating a diverse range of tenant preferences. Unfurnished properties offer tenants the freedom to personalize their living space, fostering a sense of ownership and long-term satisfaction.

Long-Term Investment Strategy: Consider the long-term implications of your decision on the overall success of your investment portfolio. While furnished rentals may offer short-term convenience, unfurnished properties often provide greater stability, lower vacancy rates, and higher returns on investment over time.

Ultimately, the decision between furnished and unfurnished rentals will depend on your individual investment objectives, market dynamics, and tenant preferences. By carefully weighing the pros and cons of each option and considering the unique characteristics of your property and target market, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your goals and maximizes the potential for long-term success as a landlord.

Remember to stay informed about evolving market trends, tenant preferences, and legal regulations related to rental property management to ensure that your investment remains competitive and profitable in the ever-changing real estate landscape. With thoughtful planning and strategic decision-making, you can build a successful rental property portfolio that generates consistent income and provides value to both tenants and landlords alike.