So you’re an expat living in the USA, and you’ve found the home of your dreams. But what about furniture? Did you know you can rent furniture? Yep! It’s a thing, and whether you’re a new expat who’s just moved to the USA or even if you’re selling your home, renting furniture could be a good option for you. Besides furniture, you can even rent rugs, art, home accessories, and TVs.

But how does furniture rental work, and why would you want to when there’s no shortage of buy/sell groups and big box store discounts?

Let’s explore the pros and cons of renting furniture for expats living in the USA.

How Does Renting Furniture Work?

How Does Renting Furniture Work?

When you rent furniture, the process is fairly straightforward.

First, you choose the terms of your lease. This includes the rental period, which can be 1, 3, or 12 months depending on the company. You also choose your billing plan. Depending on the furniture rental company, you’ll be pay by the piece, a fixed cost bundle, or for a curated set of furniture.

Next is the fun part—choosing which furniture you’ll rent. Many companies offer online tools and the service of interior designers.

After that, it’s back to reality, where you complete your personal, financial, and delivery details. This typically includes income details and verification, social security number, identification, credit score, building details.

Finally, you’ll arrange for your rental furniture to be delivered and assembled.

How Much Does It Cost to Lease Furniture?

Multiple factors determine the cost of renting furniture.

This includes the company, style, quality, and quantity of furniture you rent, as well as the length of your lease. Plus, some furniture rental companies operate under a subscription model with discounts for members.

The longer your furniture rental lease it, generally the more economical it will be. Here are some examples to give you an idea of how the length of lease affects furniture rental cost: 

Furniture rental from Feather: 

A studio package is:

  • $63/mth on an annual plan
  • $220/mth for 3 months
  • $301/mth for 1 month

Furniture rental from Conjure:

The Soho living room package (including sofa bed) is:

  • $109/mth on an annual plan
  • $382/mth for 3 months

The Soho dining room package is:

  • $83/mth for an annual plan
  • $285/mth for 3 months

Furniture rental from Brook:

The student package under a Core plan is:

  • $150/mth for an annual plan
  • $199/mth for 6 months
What Does the Cost of Leasing Furniture Include?

What Does the Cost of Leasing Furniture Include?

Furniture rental costs typically consist of rental, delivery and assembly, insurance, end-of-lease pickup, sales tax.

Plus, additional fees include repair and replacement, damage waiver, early cancellation fee, buyout, exchanges, security deposit, annual membership, mid-lease moving.

And of course, living in the USA means tipping, which is generally expected for deliveries.

So check the terms of your furniture rental contract to understand what’s included and what’s extra.

What Credit Score Do I Need to Rent Furniture?

When you lease furniture, the rental company will likely run a credit check, and you’ll typically need a minimum FICO score of 600. 

Can I Still Lease Furniture With a Low Credit Score or No Credit History?

Yes! If your FICO score is lower than required or you don’t have a credit history, some companies will still rent furniture to you, particularly to international students and professionals. They’ll typically require a deposit such as one month’s rental fee. Some also require a letter from your employer or educational institution as part of the verification process before you can lease furniture.

Will Renting Furniture Help Me Build My Credit History?

Probably not. That’s because rent-to-own and furniture rental companies are leasing furniture to you—not providing a credit service. So they’re unlikely to report this to credit reporting bureaus

However, when you rent furniture, you’ll typically receive a monthly charge on your credit card. So be sure to pay your credit card bill on time to optimize your credit score and credit history. Also, it’s important to be aware of how you can build your credit score and the influence of credit cards on your FICO score and your credit history. 

The other thing to know is that when you apply to rent furniture, the company will do a soft check to verify your FICO score with one or more of the big 3 credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. But because it’s a soft pull, this won’t affect your credit score. 

What Happens at the End of the Furniture Rental Period?

Most furniture rental companies offer the choice of renewing your lease or ending it completely. If you renew your furniture rental lease, you’ll typically be able to keep your existing furniture or switch it for different pieces (fees may apply). If you end the lease, many companies offer you the option to buy your rental items for their residual value. Otherwise, the items will be picked up.

Can I Rent Furniture Then Buy It?

Yes! Most companies offer the option of buying out your rental furniture during or at the end of your lease. Typically you’ll pay a residual value on the current value of the piece, minus a credit for some or all of what you’ve already paid to lease your furniture. Some companies specialize in rent-to-own furniture, such as Aaron’s.

Do my homeowner's or renter's insurance cover my rental furniture?

Do my homeowner’s or renter’s insurance cover my rental furniture?

If your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance includes contents coverage, it probably includes rental furniture. You also may be able to request a Certificate of Insurance (COI) listing the furniture rental company as an additional insured on your renters’ insurance. 

Some furniture leasing companies offer a customer protection plan, such as CORT or a damage waiver. 

So check with both your insurer and the furniture rental company to understand your options and obligations.

Is Rental Furniture New or Used? And What About Cleaning and Covid Safety?

Some rental furniture will be brand new, such as mattresses, while other items may be new or used, such as tables. If a furniture rental company leases used furniture, the items will be cleaned, repaired or refurbished, and inspected before they’re rented again. Furniture leasing companies should have Covid protocols in place for preparing, delivering, and picking up your furniture rental items. 

What Happens if I Break or Damage Rental Furniture?

Most rental furniture leases include an allowance for “normal wear and tear.” But when it comes to substantial breakage or damage such as stains or tears, most companies will charge a repair or refurbish fee. So check the terms of your lease before signing up to rent furniture.

Should I Buy or Rent Furniture?

When you rent furniture, the overall cost is likely to be higher than buying the pieces upfront. So why lease furniture instead of buying it? Let’s look at the pros and cons of renting furniture.

Here’s Why Leasing Furniture Could Be a Good Option For You…

Your upfront costs are lower when you rent furniture instead of buying it

This is good news if you’ve just moved into a new home. Because you’ll likely have loads of upfront expenses, such as a security bond, first and last month’s rent, utility connection, or mortgage costs, plus if you’ve recently moved to the US, you might have paid for airfares, temporary accommodation, visas, professional or winter clothes, or even had a period of unemployment.

Leasing is great if you’re not planning to stay in your home permanently

If you’re in short-term accommodation, e.g., you’re a military family or sub-letting, leasing furniture means you’ll avoid the costs and hassle of moving furniture to your next home because the furniture rental company collects all their items. 

Leasing furniture works if your ability to stay in the US long term is uncertain

Visa issues, job loss, pandemics, family emergencies back in Australia. Urgh! Just some of the reasons you might need to leave the US pronto. Leasing furniture makes it simpler if you need to leave the US quickly and unexpectedly. Most furniture leasing companies have short-term rental options and the ability to break your lease.

You're a millennial, leasing furniture is in your bones...

You’re a millennial, leasing furniture is in your bones…

…because you’ve grown up without being able to take ownership of homes, cars, other costly items for granted. Or a minimalist who doesn’t want to own stuff. Or someone for whom renting is a necessity rather than a choice due to cashflow constraints. Or, for any other reason, it behooves you to “lean into instability.”

Leasing furniture if you’re selling your home

Renting furniture to stage your home can make it easier to sell, increase the selling price and reduce time on the market. That’s because potential buyers get a visual sense of how to use the space. Plus, curated rental furniture is probably more stylish and appealing than your well-loved random assortment.

Leasing equipment and furniture if you work from home

Ergonomics, productivity, feng-shui, staying happy. Just a few reasons to consider renting furniture for your home office.

You’re a busy person, and you’re all about outsourcing

From selecting furniture, delivery, assembly, removing the packaging—these are all tasks that a furniture rental company can help you with. Some furniture leasing companies even have interior designers to help you, such as Furnishr. Plus, when your lease is due to expire, they handle the removal or replacement of the pieces. 

You’re an adult, and you’ve had enough of living like a student.

You’ve slogged away through years of study, instant ramen, and rickety bookshelves made from MDF and bricks. Dying with a felafel in your hand is no longer your jam! Here’s where renting a few stylish pieces of furniture, rugs, and even artwork is a simple way to let the world know you’re an adult now and you’re living the dream of chic {insert your city here} life. Ditto if you’re an “indecisive, free-spirited, experimental and exploratory human.” 

Here's Why You Should Avoid Renting Furniture

Here’s Why You Should Avoid Renting Furniture

On the other hand, leasing furniture might not be a good option if any of the following apply to you:

If you have kids, leasing furniture might not be right

In the movie, Lost In Translation, Bill Murray said of kids, “they turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life.” It’s true! They’re also messy as heck and innately treat your Le Corbusier chaise lounge as a trampoline. Although most furniture rental contracts allow for reasonable wear and tear, they also generally include an obligation to pay for damages and repairs. Since you’ve got 18 years of Barbies, brand name sneakers, and college to pony up for, skip furniture rental, and instead make a beeline for a big box store or buy/sell group—and sign your kids up for parkour STAT!

There’s one exception to this

If you’re expecting a new addition to your family. Firstly, congratulations, and ignore the paragraph above. I’m sure your child will be the exception! Secondly, renting furniture for babies is an option because babies grow quickly, and you’ll only use infant furniture, such as a crib, for a short time.

You have pets (maybe)

Does your Kelpie-Blue Heeler cross have bladder control issues and a history of eating answering machines? If you can’t say no to Marley joining you on the sofa for a Bluey marathon—skip furniture leasing for the same reasons as having kids. But if your fur-baby labrador or kitty sleeps for 20 hours a day, then furniture rental might work out for you (and get them DNA tested—they might be a koala). Skip any obvious pieces that aren’t a good fit for Fluffy or Rover, and instead rent pet-friendly furniture.

Your friends describe you as someone who “throws the best parties”

If your idea of a quiet night at home is free-flowing cocktails with several dozens of your closest friends, then furniture leasing is probably not for you. We’ve all had a good laugh during those movie scenes when teens throw a party while their parents are out of town and the house gets trashed. Now imagine a reboot where YOU are the one on the hook!

You have Big Financial Goals

Gentle reminder: if you’re saving up for Something Big (home, car, travel), you might want to reconsider committing to an extra monthly expense. Instead, buy a few budget-friendly or second-hand pieces, keep your eyes on the prize, and give yourself a high five for your restraint.

You have issues with delayed gratification

No judgments! We all have our struggles! But if you’ve recognized a pattern of shopping your feelings or you want to escape the maxed out credit card treadmill, know that any kind of renting or leasing scheme is probably not in your financial—and emotional—interests. Get whatever support you need emotionally, and start transforming your life today.

How Do I Compare Furniture Rental Companies?

How Do I Compare Furniture Rental Companies?

If you’re interested in leasing furniture, research what the different companies offer against elements important to you, such as budget vs. luxe furniture, DIY selection process or the help of a design team, pet-friendly furniture rental companies, your demographic (student, staging, professional), sustainability practices, pieces offered (TVs and appliances).

Here’s a run-down on some of the well-known furniture rental chains.

Here’s a comparison of the best companies to rent furniture from, rated on budget, subscription services, trendiest, and more.

Here’s a list of the best furniture rental companies based on service, style, needs of city-dwellers, rent-to-own and more.

The Final Word on Renting Furniture

Now that you know the ins and outs of furniture rental, you can figure out if buying or renting furniture for your house or apartment is right for you. Then you’ll be all ready to set up your new home as an Aussie expat who’s living, working, or studying in America. And no matter whether you decide to buy or rent furniture, don’t forget that the most important items you’ll need are the ones that go straight to the pool room!