If you’re only staying in a city for a few months a furnished apartment is often the best option, but not all furnished apartments are created equal.
Here are five questions to ask when choosing a furnished apartment:
1. Do you want to rent from a person or a company?
Both types of rentals have their advantages. Renting directly from a condo owner gives you more room to negotiate prices, and you may find them easier to deal with overall. A company, on the other hand, typically offers comprehensive service packages and better emergency services.
Whether you go with a company or a condo owner, be sure to look up reviews, ideally on third party websites. You may also want to ask for previous renters’ contact information so you can chat directly with them about the rental units and services.
2. How much space do you need?
This one depends entirely on what you’re going to be doing in the apartment, how long you’re going to stay there, and whether or not you’re staying there alone.
If you’re not planning to have any visitors during your stay and you’re not going to be in the city very long, you’ll be just fine with a bachelor. If you’re going on an extended work trip and your family is coming with you—or even just coming for an extended visit—you’ll want at least a one bedroom.
3. What amenities do you want to be able to access?
There are two parts of this question: what amenities you want to have in the apartment/building, and what you amenities you want to have in the neighbourhood.
At the bare minimum, you should look for an apartment with easy access to laundry, dry cleaning services, and a good grocery store. You may also want to consider seeking a building with a pool, weight room, or other extra amenities that will make your stay more comfortable.
4. How close do you need to be to downtown?
Do you want to be able to walk to the downtown core or are you fine with driving/taking transit?
As a general rule, apartments become more expensive as you get closer to downtown. If you can deal with the extra time it takes to get into the city proper, you’ll save a considerable amount of money.
5. What is your budget?
In an ideal world you would be able to book your furnished apartment in the best building in the downtown core without so much as batting an eye, but for most of us, money is a real concern. Have a budget in mind before you start looking. Be willing to adjust it slightly based on market prices, but have a firm upper limit.
At this point you should also make separate lists for everything you absolutely need, and the amenities you want but can live without. This way you know in advance what you’re willing to do sacrifice if all the ideal apartments are far out of your budget.