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Base Rent vs Total Monthly Cost for a Student Apartment in Midtown Atlanta

By Megan

When deciding where to sign a lease for the school year, one of the biggest factors to consider is the difference in price from apartment to apartment.

While it’s easy to compare the rental rates listed on each property’s website, the price you see quoted as base rent is not necessarily what you will actually be charged each month.

Read Next: Monthly Installments vs. Rent Payments: What’s the Difference?

At Whistler, we’ve helped hundreds of students find their home for the next school year, so we know how confusing the leasing process can be. Our team is up-front about what fees you’ll be subject to pay when you sign a lease at Whistler, so you don’t have to worry about there being any surprises when your bill comes each month.

To help you understand the full amount you will pay when you sign a lease at an off-campus apartment, we have written this article comparing base rental rates versus the total monthly cost associated with living off-campus near Georgia Tech.

Base Rate vs. Total Monthly Cost in Midtown Student Housing

Roommates studying at Whistler, a student apartment in Midtown Atlanta.

What is Base Rate?

The base rate for an apartment is the price listed for each of the floor plans on a property’s website. This rate is the starting price that only includes rent– this doesn’t include any upgrades, utilities or additional fees.

How is Base Rate Calculated?

Base rate is typically based on two things: the property (location, amenities, age, etc.) and the floorplan you select.

Base rent is calculated one of two ways depending on the type of housing you choose.

If you sign a lease at a traditional house or traditional apartment, the base rental rate is calculated for the house or apartment as a whole. This means you and all of your roommates sign one contract with your landlord, holding you all equally responsible for paying rent each month for the entirety of your lease. It will be up to you and your roommates to decide how to split up the rental rate.

If you decide to live in student housing, you will instead sign an individual lease or a “by-the-bed lease.” An individual lease only holds roommates responsible for their room (or bed), plus the use of communal spaces, rather than leasing out the whole apartment. Each student signs their own lease and pays rent separately to their landlord. The base rate listed online is the amount of rent you will personally be responsible for before added fees.

Read next: Student Apartments vs. Traditional Apartments: Which is Right for Me?

Each floor plan has its own base rate that differs based on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the unit. In a by-the-bed apartment, each bed or bedroom will have its own base rate. The following features typically result in a higher base rate:

  • Furnished apartment
  • Balcony
  • More windows
  • Higher floor of the property / premium views
  • Ensuite bathroom
  • Washer and dryer in the unit
  • Fewer bedrooms per unit (studios, 1x1s, etc.)


On the other hand, these factors typically result in a lower base rate:

  • Double occupancy (shared bedrooms)
  • Shared bathrooms
  • More bedrooms per unit (5×5, 6×6, etc.)


Some properties may include other factors into their base rate as well aside from those previously listed. For example, at Whistler we include cable, high-speed WiFi and a wall-mounted smart TV in every unit in addition to furniture and washer/dryers.

What is Total Monthly Cost?

Total monthly cost is the amount that you will actually be billed for each month. This is your base rent plus any additional fees. Some of these factors are required, such as utilities and renter’s insurance, while others are personalized to your needs, such as parking or pet rent.

Additional fees may include, but are not limited to:

  • Utilities
  • Rental insurance
  • Parking
  • Trash
  • WiFi
  • Cable TV
  • Pet fees
  • Technology packages
  • Security deposit
  • Apartment upgrades


Remember, some apartments will include some of these add-ons in their base rent, while others do not.

All of these additional costs can add up quickly and pricing for each fee can vary across the board. It’s important to do your research on what these additional costs might look like at each property before making any assumptions about one property being more or less expensive than another.

Comparing Total Monthly Cost

Now that you know the difference between base rate and total rate, let’s look at what a difference looking at pricing as a whole can make.

Base Price Utility Estimate Additional Fees Total Estimate
Whistler $1,439 $30 $9.75 TEAL Management + $5 Trash $1,483.75*
Competitor $1,295 $80 $45 Recycling Fee $1,420.00

*Based on The Moss.

As you can see, just because a property lists a lower rental rate does not mean it is the most cost effective option as a whole.

We hope this article has given you a better understanding of how to compare prices from property to property. If you have any further questions about apartment pricing or costs associated with living at Whistler, please reach out to our leasing staff! We are more than happy to help in your search for housing!


January 09, 2023

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