Consider the Target Market
Don't assume that all fully furnished apartments come with quality furniture, interesting artwork, king-sized beds and large-screen television sets. Property managers will consider the ideal tenant for each unit when setting the rental price. That rental price will typically determine the budget for furnishing the apartment. If you come across a budget-friendly furnished apartment, you're likely to find furnishings that are equally friendly to the landlord's wallet.
The quality of the furniture and décor often comes down to the target market. If you're looking at a furnished luxury apartment that accepts short-term leases, the property is more than likely targeted to traveling executives and others with the budget for upscale living accommodations. You can expect to find quality furniture in excellent condition when you rent one of these apartments.
A furnished apartment for students located blocks from Arizona State University will probably cost you less than that luxury apartment for executives, but you're likely to find older furniture and less attention to décor. While these apartments are still worth the rent if you don't want to buy your own furniture, you should walk through the exact unit that you will rent to approve the furniture before accepting the rental agreement.
Ask About Appliances
Just as unfurnished apartments may or may not come with dishwashers and air conditioners, there are some furnished apartments that lack these features. Some apartments may require you to share laundry facilities with other tenants rather than offering in-unit machines. If you use a toaster oven, mixer or other small kitchen appliances, you may need to bring your own even if the apartment is otherwise furnished.
Style is Subjective
One advantage to purchasing your own furniture for an apartment is the ability to design your living space according to your personal style. When you accept a fully furnished apartment, you're stuck with whatever style the landlord or managerial staff found fitting to the space.
If the decorative aspects of the apartment are important to you, make sure to visit the apartment in person or ask for pictures in advance. If you're moving from out of town, you may want to ask for a short-term lease if you can't get someone else to walk through the apartment and approve the furnishings for you. This will allow you to at least move to a new property in a shorter amount of time if you aren't satisfied with your starter apartment.
Ask About Liability
While you don't have to claim ownership of the furniture and appliances inside a furnished apartment, you are held responsible for the care of those items while you live in the apartment. Whether you accept a long or short-term lease, make sure to read the agreement carefully to determine who pays for maintenance and repair of appliances and how much they may charge you for wear and tear or damage to the furniture. If you feel that the landlord may take advantage of you at the end of the lease, you may want to move on to a furnished apartment with more agreeable terms.