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Should You Rent or Buy Furniture Abroad?

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Furnishing your home after an international move is tricky. You can rarely ship all of your furniture overseas and your new home's furnishings may be incomplete or unsatisfactory. If you need new furniture after moving abroad, should you buy or rent?


Buying new furniture abroad is the most obvious solution to the problem. You can buy from a wide variety of places in almost any country including online stores, second-hand stores, private citizens, and big furniture chains.

  • Buying offers the most options. It should not be too hard to find someone willing to sell you furniture. 
  • You can sell bought furniture to anyone else when you are done with it and make some of your money back.
  • If you own your furniture, you don’t have to worry about damaging it. It is yours to do with as you please.
  • You can move your own furniture with you unless specific customs regulations forbid it.
  • You can use the furniture as many years as you want--or until it breaks.
  • Rarely, some unique pieces and antique furniture actually increase in value over time.
  • Buying furniture is usually expensive and paid for all at once.
  • The resale value of furniture is relatively low in most cases.
  • Once you own a piece of furniture, you may have difficulty getting rid of it.
  • If you move somewhere new, you’ll have to move owned furniture or get rid of it.
  • Shipping furniture overseas can be expensive.
  • Customs regulations can restrict/tax the importation of furniture made with specific outlawed materials or of large sizes.
  • If you change your mind about a bought piece of furniture you may not be able to return it.

Renting furniture

If you plan on using furniture for under two years it is recommended that you rent furniture. Although private citizens are less likely to rent you furniture, an online search of rental companies in whatever country you move to should yield some results. 


  • Renting furniture tends to be much cheaper than buying, especially at the outset.
  • You can rent furniture that matches whatever home you move into. You have great flexibility.
  • There is little to no financial harm done to you if you rent a piece of furniture and want to replace it.
  • Rental companies often provide the moving services that bring the furniture to and from your home.
  • Many overseas moves are temporary, and renting fits with that mindset.
  • You won’t have to worry about paying for moving furniture overseas.
  • You can change colors and styles on a whim.
  • You cannot sell rented furniture.
  • You cannot keep rented furniture permanently.
  • You will be charged fees if you damage rented furniture.
  • You will have to search a little harder for rental companies compared to companies that sell furniture. Long term rentals can be more expensive than you realize. After some time they could be more costly than purchasing similar furniture.
  • Furniture rental agreements are often voided if you move to a new home, even within the same country. Therefore, if you move, you are without furniture again.
  • Rental rates become an ongoing cost of living rather than just one lump payment.
  • Rental furniture may be of lower quality than high-end furniture that is built to last.

Choosing whether to rent or buy furniture after an international move depends on your needs, tastes, and the nature of the move. You need to consider how long you will be living in your new country and home, and if you are alright with living with furniture that does not appeal to you. Generally if you plan on moving a lot and are very style conscious, renting is for you. If you want your furniture to be an investment and plan on using it for a long time, buying is the best choice.

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on January 23, 2015 - Moving Expert
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