Generally, when you buy a house, you get nothing but the building(s), the land and everything that’s bolted down. Fences, sheds, carpeting, curtain rods, light fixtures and dishwashers generally stay. Furniture and televisions usually go.
But occasionally, you’ll find a furnished home for sale. Furnished homes come with a full set of furniture, appliances and sometimes even artwork. When you buy the home, you can also buy everything in it.
Buying a furnished house isn’t for everyone. We’ll go over a few benefits of buying a furnished home, plus some drawbacks that could make you think twice.
You don’t have to worry about shopping for something else
Economists know well that home sales lead to demand for furniture and furnishings. A person who moves spends about $4,000 more than somebody who hasn’t moved, according to a study from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Most of that spending is on furnishings like living room chairs and tables and dining room furniture. After all, when you buy a new house, you need to fill it up to make it feel like home.
But one of the benefits of buying a furnished home is skipping those shopping trips. Your home will be move-in ready when you get the keys.
If you relocate frequently, it would help with packing
The average American moves 11.7 times in their lifetime, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That adds up to a lot of people moving each year — some 31 million between 2018 and 2019, according to the most recent year for which data was available.
Packing and moving can get expensive. Costs range from $1,000 for a local move to nearly $5,000 for long-distance moves when you get professionals involved, according to Moving.com. Buying a furnished house means you don’t need to move as many things into your new home, reducing this cost.
Could be a good option for second homes
If you’re buying a second or vacation home, opting for a furnished house could be a good option. Do you really want to shop for a full set of furniture and furnishings for a home you won’t live in full time?
This is especially true if you’re going to rent out the home to other vacationers: Furnished short-term rentals are growing increasingly common in many major cities.
New homebuyers can get a jump-start
One-third of homebuyers in 2019 were purchasing their first home, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Families that move already spend a lot on new furniture and furnishings. First-time homebuyers likely spend significantly more. Homeowners spend more than double per year on furnishings than renters do, the U.S. Census Bureau has found.
Your new home may have custom furnishings
High-end homes may have custom furnishings tailor-made to the space that would be difficult to replace or commission from scratch. That’s another example of when buying the home furnished can come in handy.
Financing can be tricky
Mortgage lenders generally won’t allow you to use loan money for furniture or other personal property. If you’re paying cash, you can package the deal so that you cover the cost of the home and the furnishings. But if you’re getting a mortgage, you’ll have to pay separately — either paying cash for the furnishings or taking out a home equity line of credit (HELOC). However, you will typically need at least 15% equity in order to qualify for a HELOC, so you may not be able to get the funds right away if you had a small down payment.
You may need to reduce the mortgage by the amount of the value of the furnishings you’re getting in the deal. Furnishings also cannot be included in the appraised value of the home, which lenders rely on to determine how big a mortgage they’ll allow.
Furnished homes require complicated contracts
If you’re buying a furnished home, there’s a lot more paperwork involved. All the furniture and furnishings must change hands through a separate bill of sale, with everything listed.
No freedom to put your own stamp on a home
While buying furniture and furnishings can be expensive, it can also be fun. You get to make your new house your own. Buying a furnished home means relying on somebody else’s design style.
Buying a furnished home? Make sure you follow these tips
Make a full inventory of the furnishings you’d like to buy. When you buy a furnished home, you’ll need a sales agreement listing all the furniture and furnishings you’re taking. Go ahead and take inventory of what you’re interested in ahead of time to make things easier.
Research the cost of the furnishings. You don’t want to pay too much for the furnishings. Make sure they’re being included at a fair price, taking into account their condition.
Consider other financing options. Since your mortgage likely won’t cover the cost, you should evaluate what options you have to pay for them. This could include a personal loan, a type of unsecured loan lenders issue based on your creditworthiness.
Leave extra time. Since buying a furnished home involves more complicated contracts, make sure to leave some wiggle room on your time frame for closing. You don’t want to lose your deal because of a holdup.
Do a walk-through before closing. If the seller agrees to sell you the furnishings, make sure they’re all there just before you close.