Join Club

Ask Eli: Renting Your Apartment Furnished or Unfurnished

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: I’m moving in with my fiancé and don’t need my furniture. Should I rent my apartment furnished, partially furnished, or unfurnished?

Answer: I get this question frequently and it’s common for landlords, especially new ones, to struggle with this decision. There isn’t one right answer to that question. Rather, there are a few good options — each with its own pros and cons — that you should choose from based on your financial goals and what type of landlord you want to be. I’ll go through a few, but you can mix and match strategies to fit your profile.

Option #1: Quick rent, flexibility

Offer unfurnished at market rate and furnished for a 10-25 percent premium (depending on quality and amount of furnishings). Be willing to negotiate for partially furnished. The value of furnished versus unfurnished depends on the type of tenant likely to move in. For example, a recent college grad will value avoiding the expense of buying/moving furniture, but a young family likely has everything they need and wants to keep most/all of it.

  • Pros: largest pool of renters, best chance to rent quickly, more likely to find a long-term tenant (18+ months)
  • Cons: high chance of having to quickly sell unwanted furniture at a deep discount or pay to store it

Option #2: Top dollar, unpredictable

Target the corporate rental market by offering short-term (monthly) rentals at a premium (50-100+ percent) above market for comparable unfurnished, 12+ month rentals in your area).

  • Pros: great returns when occupied, low probability of late or non-payment, lower risk of excessive wear and tear during occupancy
  • Cons: high turnover, unpredictable cash flow, high cost of renting (prepping for new tenant to include cleaning service and possibly handyman), smaller pool of potential renters

Option #3: Daily rental, active management

The extreme version of Option #2. Use a site like AirBnB or VBRO to capture the massive tourism and business traveler market by turning your apartment into a daily rental. I’ll leave income fluctuation/predictability out of the list because ratings, pricing, marketing, and experience will likely start as a negative and develop into a positive over time. If you aren’t living in the immediate area, this becomes a less appealing option.

  • Pros: potential for huge return, opportunity to meet interesting people and be a local tour guide
  • Cons: requires constant attention/management, high cost of operation, increased wear and tear, political scrutiny (not you, but the industry)

A few notes to help with your decision:

  • “Fully furnished” = everything from couches to silverware to a TV.
  • DO NOT furnish with anything you want to keep (e.g. family heirlooms).
  • Property managers handle things like rent collection, service/handy calls, and the eviction process if necessary. On average, they charge about one month’s rent annually for their services.
  • If you choose to list through a realtor, expect to pay anywhere from 75-100 percent of one month’s rent, but make sure you’re getting things like a full MLS/MRIS listing with professional photos.

This is a particularly good opportunity to tune in to the comments and hear from the Arlington community on their positive and negative experiences using various furnished rental strategies. Please share!

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send me an email at [email protected]. To quickly read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, 202-518-8781.

Recent Stories

Arlington resident Hung Do has big hopes for a curiously shaped lot he owns in Green Valley. This month, he was on the brink of closing on a deal to…

Morning Notes

Crime Up Last Month — “Arlington County police handled 1,450 criminal incidents in August, according to new figures, up from 1,392 a year ago and from 1,196 in 2021.” [Gazette…

An alleged shooting threat briefly sent students practicing on a school field indoors tonight.

ARLnow Daily Debrief for Sep 27, 2023

Good Wednesday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…

At Generation Hope, we’re dedicated to supporting teen parents in college as they work toward earning their degrees. We are in need of caring child care volunteers for upcoming events on Saturday, October 21st (in Washington, DC), and Saturday, November 4th (in Arlington, VA). Join our growing volunteer community and support us at an event this fall!

At all of our events, we provide free onsite child care for the children of the teen parents we serve, creating a nurturing environment for the kiddos while their parents learn valuable life skills and build community.

If you enjoy working with children and are looking to make an immediate impact in your community, please visit to learn more.

Submit your own Announcement here.

Join us for Arlington’s biggest civil rights & social justice event of the year. The banquet is back in person at the Arlington Campus of George Mason University.

Our keynote speaker this year is Symone Sanders from MSNBC and former Chief of Staff for Vice-President Kamala Harris.

The Master of Ceremonies is Joshua Cole, former state delegate, NAACP President, and local pastor.

Tickets/seating are limited. Purchase your ticket today! Sponsorship opportunities available.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Standup Comedy Showcase Starring John F. O’Donnell (Comedy Central)

Live standup comedy starring John F. O’Donnell (Comedy Central)
Friday, October 20

Headliner: John F. O’Donnell

John was a correspondent on the radical comedy news TV show, “Redacted Tonight,” for 5 years. Recently, he released his debut one-hour standup special,

Arlington Metaphysical Chapel Presents METAPHEST, October 14-15, 2023

Workshops on: ~ Meditation ~ Intro to Tarot: The Aces and Major Arcana

~ Ageless Aging ~ Past Life Regression ~ Animal Communication and Healing

~ Psychometry ~ Spiritual Healing ~ Self Soul Love ~ Consciously Clearing Clutter ~ Awareness/Mindfulness/Consciousness.


Subscribe to our mailing list