Smart Apartment Hunting: Know the Perks that Drive Rent Up the Most

published Jun 26, 2017
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(Image credit: Rowena Naylor/Stocksy)

No matter where you live, everyone dreams of scoring an affordable apartment with awesome amenities. Whether it’s a proper doorman or a shared laundry room, for many of us, the communal comforts offered in an apartment building is what makes or breaks the decision on whether or not we’ll live there.

But how much are we really paying for these perks? While most building amenities are pegged as “part of the rent,” a new study conducted by Priceonomics suggests thinking about it differently. With the help of RentHop (a popular apartment listing site), the website compiled the details—i.e. monthly rent, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and available building amenities—of thousands of apartment listings across the United States, in an attempt to figure out which of these features really affect your rent bottom line in a big way. Read ahead for some of their more surprising discoveries.

(Image credit: RentHop)

1. Doorman

As expected, the study found that the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in an apartment are the biggest drivers of price, but when it comes to building amenities, having a doorman ends up being the most costly. According to Priceonomics’ research, in New York City alone, a doorman in the building increases rent by an average of $260 a month—more than double the cost of any other amenity.

2. Elevator

Even though it’s not nearly as expensive as having a doorman, the convenience of having an elevator in your building can still be pretty costly. On average, Priceonomics estimates that an elevator will add $120 to your monthly rent. And considering the average monthly electric bill hovers around $110, it might be worth taking the stairs instead.

3. Fitness center

Of course having access to a private gym in your building is amazing, but is it cost-effective compared to say, a gym membership? Priceonomics’ study shows that people pay an average of $90 a month for a fitness center, so if working out in the comfort of your own building isn’t all that important to you, consider spending your money elsewhere.

4. Laundry in building

Although it might not be as costly as a fitness center or doorman, having access to a washer and dryer in an apartment is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after amenities across the country. Research shows that on average, tenants are willing to pay $80 a month for in-house laundry, so unless you plan on spending that much on alternative ways to get your laundry done, you can likely save a lot of moolah by forfeiting that luxury.

5. Parking

While it might not seem that major in smaller cities, a parking spot—especially in metropolises like NYC, Atlanta, and Philadelphia—can wind up being pretty expensive. Priceonomics estimates parking impacts rent by an average of $50 a month, so if you don’t spend at least that much on gas, cabs, or public transport, it’s probably not worth wasting your money.

Ultimately, Priceonomics research shows that most people are paying a premium for the “free” amenities their building offers. And while that might be okay if having a shared gym or washer and dryer is important to you, you’ll probably be able to find a much better deal on a place if you’re willing to go without them. Knowing which amenities wind up costing you more won’t just make apartment hunting easier, it’ll save you loads of money on rent in the long run.