Tampa Bay can be a tough marketplace for renters, especially for those looking to rent an apartment near USF. The University of South Florida is a fairly big school, with some 40,000 students attending the Tampa campus alone. On top of that, the new influx of students every year puts a large demand on the area for affordable, safe housing for young academics. In addition to the high student population, there is a large variety of apartments in the surrounding area – which may be a bit intimidating for prospective renters who are new to the area. When considering leasing, you must make decisions regarding lease length, single vs. joint leases, furnished vs. unfurnished, all-inclusive, whether or not to live with roommates, etc. Determining whether it's best to rent a furnished apartment or an all-inclusive one is a very personal choice and can therefore be hard to navigate.
Pros and cons of all-inclusive apartments
Renting an all-inclusive apartment near USF can give you peace of mind. If you're new to keeping track of paying multiple bills – or paying bills at all – then having one consistent bill that includes all of your utilities and never fluctuates in price can certainly be helpful. Furthermore, you won't have to deal with local internet or electrical companies, meaning you won't have to pay utility deposits, create new accounts in your name, or worry about repairs.
There aren't many negatives to renting an all-inclusive apartment; the only real downside is the price. The ease of these apartments often comes with a larger price tag, which can be difficult if you're a broke college student living off ramen noodles. However, if this is a high priority for you, it can be feasible and even cost saving. When you pay the same amount of money for electricity every month, you won't have to worry about crazy high electric bills in the summer when you are running your air conditioning 24/7. However, that also means that in the winter, when you're not running the air as much, you will still be paying the same flat rate.
Pros and cons of fully furnished apartments
College students often flock to furnished apartments, and for good reason. Most students who leave home to attend college don't have their own furniture. It's also common for first-year students to live in a dorm, where furniture is included. Living in an off-campus apartment is different because you have furniture options to choose from.
Renting a fully furnished apartment allows you to effortlessly move into a place that's already equipped with all of your main furniture needs. This means you won't have to buy much, if any furniture depending on what the apartment provides. While it is easy to assume that a furnished apartment won't have any personality or style, there are many ways to spruce up your décor that will add your personal touch.
Much like all-inclusive apartments, the convenience of having furniture included is usually reflected in the rent. If you are hesitant about renting a furnished apartment and being stuck with furniture you despise, look into alternative ways to furnish an apartment yourself. Personally, when I was looking for furniture in college thrift stores were my best friend. You can find unique pieces that are usually in fairly good condition for a fraction of the price of new furniture. Likewise, large box stores such as IKEA have amazing deals on furniture, and with a location in Tampa how can you resist?
Ultimately, when deciding between leasing options, you have to look at your personal lifestyle. Whether you blast the air all summer or dread moving heavy furniture in the hot summer sun, there is an apartment for you. If both lease options seem like a good fit, go for an apartment that offers both! There are many USF apartments that cater to both of these needs, whoever said you had to pick just one?