Furnished vs. Unfurnished
Many people moving to Bangkok must make a decision on whether or not to ship their furniture. There are several factors which may go into this decision, including the cost of storage vs. the cost of shipping, the expected duration of stay in Thailand, and support from a sponsoring company.
People who are not shipping their furniture will have a wider selection of houses if they consider the whole range from unfurnished to furnished. However, for unfurnished, you must consider the cost, time, and effort of shopping for your own furniture, as discussed below.
Houses come in four categories:
Most landlords are willing to add or take out some furniture and appliances, but the more a tenant wants to add or remove, the less attractive the tenant may appear to the landlord who may have other options.
"Unfurnished" houses usually come with "white goods" -- air conditioners, shower water heaters, refrigerator, and clothes washing machine at least. Things like dishwasher, oven, and clothes dryer are sometimes provided but usually not, in Thailand.
Sometimes a family will like a particular unfurnished house due to its layout, style, and/or location, but will be arriving without much if any furniture. They must decide whether to request that the landlord furnish the unit whereby the tenant will pay considerably more in monthly rent, or whether to buy their own furniture and pay a lower rent.
In terms of rental price, the crossover point is usually about 1.5 to 3 years, the time when the cost of buying your own furniture and appliances equals the savings in rent. This depends on how expensive your tastes are.
For example, if the tenant can get a place for 100,000 baht per month = 1,200,000 baht per year furnished, versus 80K per month = 960,000 baht per year unfurnished, that is a difference of 240K per year, so if they buy furniture at a cost of 480,000 baht, they will break even at 2 years, and be ahead after that. Further, the tenant could sell off the items when they leave, or ship them home, e.g., Thailand artifacts. (Some tenants have even bought a condo later and then filled it with their furnishings.)
An advantage of buying your own furniture and appliances is that you get exactly what you want in design and style for your "home".
Practically all furniture and appliance sellers will deliver and install, as is standard in Thailand. There are a great variety nice furniture outlets all over Bangkok.
The disadvantage is it takes considerable time and effort at the outset, and a significant amount of cash in advance. Credit is normally not given to foreigners (many of whom have run away without paying debts, outside of legal jurisdiction), so you need cash available up front for any furniture purchases.
Some tenants have negotiated a furniture budget (e.g., a partly furnished house for 100K whereby the landlord is willing to buy up to 250K of furniture). The tenant and landlord may schedule some time to go shopping together to choose which particular items.
The lease duration is a factor in whether or not a landlord would be willing to furnish a place, as the next tenant may request unfurnished ... or a different style of furnishings. People are different and can have widely varying tastes and needs. It may also depend on whether the landlord has multiple properties to move furniture between, or free storage area.
Houses and condominiums are opposites: The majority of the demand for houses is for unfurnished, whereas for condominiums it is usually furnished. However, there is substantial demand for all 4 kinds.
The price offered for furnished vs. unfurnished varies widely between landlords, and the numbers above are only for making a point about how you may want to analyze and calculate for furnished vs. unfurnished.
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