In an ideal world, moves would match up perfectly. Your existing lease would end the same day your new one starts, and you’d already have a brand new home ready for the day the sale of your current home closes. In the real world, though? Things have a way of being a little more complicated.
It’s not uncommon to find yourself with a few days, weeks, or months to spare in between moving dates, which means having to find a place you can stay in the interim. Fortunately, there are quite a few options when it comes to temporary housing, and you should be able to find a great place to call your home-between-home for however long you need. Read on for 7 tips you should consider when looking for short term housing, and advice for choosing your best option.
#1 Know your options
Unless you have a friend or family member willing to put you up between your moves, you’re likely going to need to find a viable temporary housing option through a rental or vacation company. Start with an internet search for “short term housing” in the area you want to be living, and a few different types of properties should show up.
Short term rentals: These are typical apartment or housing rentals that are available with variable lease terms. For most short term rentals, the less amount of time you want to lease for, the higher your monthly rent is going to be.
Corporate housing: Pretty much the same as short term rentals. While corporate housing is created with the general intent of providing temporary lodging for traveling business professionals, short term housing during a relocation is actually the most popular reason people seek out this type of rental, according to the Corporate Housing Providers Association.
Sublets: Depending on the extent of the rental market in your area, you may be able to find a subletting option that works with your timeline. Subletting means taking over a lease from an existing tenant for a set duration of time, and may require approval from the tenant’s landlord.
Vacation rentals: Sites like Airbnb, Owner Direct, and HomeAway connect property owners who are trying to rent out their homes (or a room in their house) for a short or long period of time with people who are looking for temporary housing. While you may think these types of rentals are purely for vacationing, many listings offer longer term options, particularly during off-season months.
Extended stay hotels: If you need housing for more than a couple of days, you’re probably not going to want to spend the pricey nightly rates of typical hotels. Extended stay hotels, however, are designed to accommodate guests who need to stay somewhere a little longer. Rates vary based on the length of your stay, the room that you choose, and the hotel chain itself.
#2 Use a broker
The easiest way to gather a lot of options in one place is to work with an apartment broker. Brokers will be able to tell you what sorts of temporary housing options exist in the area you’re interested in, and can break down your best choices by rate, location, and amenities. And because apartment brokers are paid for by the property managers themselves, there is no cost to you for using their services. Just note that most brokers are looking at short term rentals and corporate housing options, and won’t necessarily be scanning vacation rentals or extended stay hotels. If you want to go the latter route, you’ll probably have to do the digging yourself.
#3 Have a plan for your belongings
One of the biggest concerns people have with short term housing is what to do with their things. While some rentals require you to bring in your own furniture, many short term options come furnished, or may just be too small to house all of your belongings. If that’s the case, you’ll need to make sure you have a good storage option in addition to your rental. Even if you can bring in your own stuff, you may want to reduce the amount of heavy lifting and store your things while doing a short term furniture rental. Whichever option you choose, make sure you have a plan in place earlier rather than later.
#4 Be flexible with your search
When you’re moving somewhere for a long period of time, it makes sense that things like location and amenities would be very important. But when you’re just renting a place to stay for a little while, you may want to compromise a little bit to make the search easier. If you’re not finding a good fit in your immediate search area, expand it to include other nearby towns or neighborhoods. As long as you can still get wherever you need to be every day, you should be able to handle some short term inconvenience. As for amenities, put things like safety and cleanliness on the top of your list and stress less about things like upgraded appliances and amenities – you won’t be using them for that long.
#5 Consider the length of your stay
A huge determining factor in selecting your optimal temporary housing option is how long you plan to stay. Your best choices will be very different for a one week stay versus a six month stay, and you may find that budget-wise, an option that seemed appealing to you is actually too expensive given the amount of time you’d be living there. And if you don’t know how long you’ll be staying, you’ll need to be sure that whichever option you choose has flexibility in letting you add on time as needed.
#6 Don’t forget the pets
If you’re moving with pets, make sure you factor them into your search from the very beginning – you don’t want to find the perfect short term rental only to discover that they’re not pet-friendly. Some short term rentals allow pets, others have some units that are pet friendly and some that aren’t, and others don’t allow them at all. Of those that do allow pets, there is usually an additional monthly fee. Unless your pet has someone they can stay with during your temporary housing period, this is a variable to consider, and will have a major impact on which options you can go with.
#7 Take all costs into account
When budgeting for temporary housing, don’t just look at the monthly rent. Some options will also require you to also pay for things like parking, utilities, and general repairs over the course of your stay. When you’re searching, be sure to ask about any additional costs that you’ll need to consider as well as what those tend to come in at. Short term rentals can sometimes run a little pricey, so it’s important that you know exactly what you’re agreeing to spend before you sign on the dotted line.
Finding a short term rental can take a little bit of work, so be sure to start your search early. Even if you’re not moving for a couple of months, you should be able to find information about availability for your desired move-in period ahead of time. Be sure to expand your search beyond the internet too, and actually call leasing managers with inquiries. A lot of times you’re only seeing basic information online, and the real deal pricing and availability can only be learned through speaking with someone at the property. With so many types of short term housing options however, you should be able to find a great fit.
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