What to Expect From a Move-In Ready Apartment

Many rental properties advertise “move-in ready” apartments or specials that claim you can “move in today.” Whether you’re relocating for a new job or looking for a temporary place to call home during a significant life transition, the last thing you need is an apartment that turns out to be way less “move-in ready” than expected. Learn how to discern exactly what you’re getting with a move-in ready apartment, how to find a move-in ready apartment, and what to do if you can’t find the perfect place. 

What Does Move-In Ready Mean?

You know you need a move-in ready place, but what does that mean, anyway? Here are some common things that “move-in ready” could mean. 

The space is ready to be occupied. 

Often, “move-in ready” means an apartment or rental doesn’t need repairs or renovations before it is habitable — it could also mean that it’s ready to be occupied immediately. If you’re considering an apartment community that advertises as “recently updated” and a unit is designated as “move-in ready,” this likely indicates that all renovations are finished in the unit you want. 

Sometimes, this can mean that a unit or rental property has new finishes or fixtures, but not always. In any case, you’ll want to ask for a tour to be sure you know exactly what you’re getting. 

Appliances are included. 

Some landlords may categorize a unit as “move-in ready” because appliances are included. While it’s not common, some apartments or rental properties don’t come with basic appliances, like a stove, dishwasher, or refrigerator. In those instances, you’ll be expected to rent your own. To prevent any unpleasant surprises, ask what appliances are included in your apartment rental before signing a lease. 

The apartment is fully furnished.

If you’re working with a corporate rental company or a short-term rental (like one you’d find on Airbnb or VRBO), “move-in ready” probably indicates that the apartment already has all appliances and furniture ready for use.

However, there’s room for interpretation within this category, too. Some fully furnished, move-in ready apartments may also include housewares such as towels, bed linens, and kitchenware. Be sure to ask about housewares, and be prepared to bring or rent items that aren’t included. 

If you know you need something specific in your new apartment, be sure to ask whether it’s included before you sign your lease. You don’t want to be surprised by an apartment that isn’t as ready as you expected on move-in day, so clarifying in advance will give you plenty of time to purchase or rent any additional furnishings or housewares you want.

Pros and Cons of Furnished Move-In Ready Rentals

Depending upon your situation, move-in ready apartments may or may not be your best option for temporary housing. Consider the pros and cons of move-in ready rentals so you can make the best decision. 

Pros of Fully Furnished Move-In Ready Apartments

1. A move-in ready apartment offers an all-in-one solution. 

When you rent a fully furnished apartment, you don’t have to coordinate with multiple agencies to get furniture and other housewares. Nearly everything you need is included in your lease, and you only have to sign on one dotted line (but again, be sure to verify exactly what is or isn’t included — don’t assume anything!). 

2. You can move quickly. 

In most cases, getting an apartment that’s advertised as “move-in ready” won’t require you to wait for repairs or for a previous tenant to move out. Sometimes, you can even get the keys and move in the same day you sign a lease! This is especially convenient if you’re moving for a new job and need to get settled as quickly as possible so you can start working. 

3. Furnished move-in ready apartments require little work on your part.

Carrying a couch up a flight of stairs? No thanks. Hauling endless boxes of kitchenware into your new home? You don’t need that hassle. With a fully furnished, move-in ready apartment, you don’t have to lift a finger. The heavy, hard-to-move items are already there — all you need to bring are your clothes and small personal belongings for everyday life.

Remember: Depending upon who you ask, “move-in ready “ can have vastly different meanings. Your best bet is to thoroughly communicate with a prospective landlord or property rental company before signing a lease. 

Cons of Furnished Move-In Ready Apartments

1. Furnished move-in ready apartments can be more expensive than unfurnished ones. 

Not surprisingly, a fully furnished apartment or rental will cost more than an empty, unfurnished one. Sure, move-in ready properties are convenient, but you’ll pay a premium price for that convenience. Plus, you may end up paying for things you don’t need or want, since landlords and property managers aren’t likely to let you pick and choose exactly what’s included in your lease.

2. You don’t have control of the style of furnishings. 

An unfurnished apartment is a blank canvas in terms of design and comfort, but everything in a furnished apartment is pre-selected for you. Most of the time, you don’t have the power to choose the style of couch or wall art that expresses your personality. If you’re considering a fully furnished apartment and the quality of furnishings is important to you (especially if you’ll be living there for a while!), be sure to request a tour of your specific unit before signing a lease. 

3. You’ll want to take care to protect your rented items. 

Much like if you were borrowing a friend’s favorite sweater, you’ll need to be conscious about how you use and care for your rented furnishings. Damage — accidental or otherwise — could result in the loss of part or all of your security deposit. Therefore, you’ll want to be sure that you’re mindful of spills, scrapes, and knicks. Regular care, such as vacuuming, can help you preserve your rented items and ensure they stay in great condition.

If you’re feeling nervous about renting furniture, consider reaching out to your leasing office or the furniture rental company. They may be able to provide you with additional damage insurance so that you can rest easy knowing your security deposit won’t be at risk. 

How to Search for Move-In Ready Apartments Like a Pro

Searching for a move-in ready apartment? Here’s how to prepare. 

Make a list of non-negotiable items before you talk to properties. 

If you know you’ll absolutely need a washing machine, a king-sized bed, or other specific items, make a list of these things and ask about them ASAP when conversing with landlords or property agents. Being upfront about your non-negotiables can help you rule out places that won’t work before you waste time on a visit or tour.

Ask as many questions as you need to.

As a renter, it’s your right to know what you’re signing on for, and “move-in ready” can have a broad interpretation across different properties and landlords. Prepare a list of questions before you head in, and don’t be afraid to ask more questions on your tour. Be wary of signing on-sight or sight unseen — take your time to think it over and read over the fine-line of your rental agreement! 

Take a tour of the unit you’re interested in, if possible. 

Pictures don’t always tell the whole story, and you don’t want any unpleasant surprises. Schedule an in-person appointment to tour the property you’re interested in. Pay close attention to things like signs of water damage, potential pests, and  if the air conditioning or heat works. 

Seeing a space in person can help you determine whether or not a prospective rental is right for you. 

Turn an unfurnished apartment into a furnished one with CORT. 

Found an unfurnished move-in ready apartment? You can still enjoy the best of both worlds with CORT Furniture Rental. When you rent with CORT, you can have furniture delivered straight to your new apartment (no moving rented furniture in or out), and you still get to choose your own furnishings in your style and make your temporary place feel like home. Plus, furniture rental from CORT can save you money when compared with the cost of a pre-furnished apartment. What’s not to love? 

Make Any Rental Into a Move-In Ready Apartment

Much like every apartment needs electricity and running water, you’ll also need furniture. Whether you’re making a corporate move to a new city or you’re simply relocating to a new state for a change of scenery,  consider CORT Furniture as an Amenity ™. 

Turn to CORT for furniture rental packages that suit your budget, location, and timeline.  From furnishing your entire apartment to providing the often-overlooked housewares you need for daily life — like dishes, cookware, linens, towels, and more — CORT can help you create a move-in ready apartment at your pace and within your budget. Find a CORT location near you, or browse home furnishing packages online to curate your furniture subscription today!


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