In a perfect world, one lease would end a week after another begins, so you have time to move without spending extra money on a second lease. The same goes for buying houses. But in the real world, it just doesn’t work out that way for most us. This is where temporary housing comes in. It’s a perfect answer to bridging your housing gap.
The Benefits of Temporary Housing
Whether you have a few days, weeks or months to fill before your new place is ready, this solution comes with a lot of benefits. First off, you have your autonomy. You don’t have to squeeze into a family member or a friend's house and tiptoe around at night while they blast Jeopardy at 7:30 or cook fish every night for dinner. If you’ve got the budget, this is the only way to bridge the gap and keep your own space.
You can pick the location. If you want to get a feel for your new neighborhood before your place is ready, you can choose something nearby so that you can check out restaurants and shops beforehand. This also allows you to enroll kids in schools earlier, find doctors, veterinarians, and even a salon without having to do it all during a big move. Knowing the busiest roads, best produce section and shortest commutes to places of interest are all bonuses of temporary housing in your new location.
How to Find It
There are many kinds of temporary housing and just as many ways to find it. It all depends on the type place you’re looking for. Here are the main options for finding the perfect resting spot:
A lot of apartment complexes or rental houses will offer variable term leases, some as short as one month. Keep in mind that most of these come unfurnished. The shorter the lease, the higher the monthly price. Call a few complexes or rentals that interest you and ask about their lease options.
This can be really fun. Sites like Airbnb and HomeAway have just about every type of rental you can think of. If you just need a room for rent, there are a ton of great options, many of them with separate entrances and bathrooms and use of common areas.
You can also rent an entire apartment or house. These are furnished and include dishes, towels, and linens. Many even include a washer and dryer. You can inquire about discounts on entire weeks or months with the owner. People are happy to give a 10%-15% discount for renting out a big block of time. You can also rent a fun place like a rustic cabin, ultra-modern flat or waterfront spot.
This was developed as a place for traveling business people to hang their hats on long business trips. These come fully furnished and are designed for comfort and functionality. According to the Corporate Housing Providers Association, bridging the gap for people looking for temporary housing the number one reason people rent corporate housing.
Extended Stay Hotels
These don’t provide the comfort of an entire house, but they provide the basics and often at centrally located, convenient locations. You can expect a small in-room kitchenette and a laundry facility somewhere on site. Some more upscale hotels will have a pool and gym so you can stay in shape for your big move.
If you want to save yourself the time of searching, you can hire a real estate broker that deals with rentals and leases. They will be able to compile lists of the available options in your area and discuss terms and pros and cons with you. The fee for the broker is paid by the place where you end up renting. Brokers also don’t help with vacation rentals or extended stay hotels, so you still must do that legwork yourself.
7 Steps for Moving into Temporary Housing
You’ve decided to stay in temporary housing. Now what? Here are the steps to take to transition as easily and painlessly as possible.
Step 1- Determine Your Length of Stay
You’ll need to factor in your length of stay before choosing a temporary housing option. Some places won’t be able to accommodate shorter stays of three weeks or fewer while others can’t accommodate stays up to six months. If you’re unsure of the amount of time, you’ll need to ask about the flexibility in rental terms for each option.
Step 2- Consider All Costs
Be sure to get specific when asking about terms of your settled-on housing. You’ll plan for the expense of rent, but you may need to factor in things like utilities, parking, and repairs over the course of your stay. It may seem cheaper to get a short-term rental over a vacation rental, but after you factor in all the expenses for one versus another, your opinion may shift.
Don’t forget to factor food into your costs. Someplace with a kitchen will save you money on restaurant bills every night. A fridge makes breakfast cheap and easy while an in-house coffee maker will save you those coffee house trips every morning. Make an expense sheet for each of your options so you won’t be surprised once you move in.
Step 3- Be Flexible
Of course, you want the perfect location. But if you’re staying for a short time, you may need to compromise a bit on location to open up your options. Consider widening your search to nearby towns or neighborhoods to expand your structure and cost options. Focus on safety first. Upgraded appliances and nice landscaping can temporarily take a back seat.
Step 4- Don’t Forget Your Pets
Take your furry friends into consideration early. Make it a filter on all your searches and be sure to verify a pet policy when you discuss terms. If pets are allowed, make sure the housing will work for your pet. An older dog with arthritis may not appreciate the 20 stairs he has to maneuver in a short-term place. They may not appreciate your howling beagle in an apartment complex with thin walls. Look at all angles of your pet picture.
Step 5- Decide What to Take
If your temporary housing is fully furnished, take only essentials with you. The last thing you want to do when your new place is ready is packing up and moving a lot of stuff- again. You can live without your favorite lounge chair for a short time. The same goes for dishes, linens, towels, and family pictures. Not only will it save you a headache to limit the number of things you take, but you will also limit the chances of leaving something precious behind.
Step 6- Get a Storage Unit
When it comes time to move from your old place, put the stuff you’re taking to temporary housing in one spot and box up and wrap everything else. Have the movers- or your friends- take that stuff to a storage unit. Be sure to negotiate the right length on your contract for the unit. Many places will allow a month-to-month contract but be sure to ask. Once your things are in storage, leave them alone, so it’s a clean and easy move to your new place.
Step 7- Wrap Up Loose Ends
You’ll need your mail to go somewhere. You can open a P.O. box, or have it forwarded to your temporary stay if it’s on the longer end. If you’re going somewhere for a small amount of time, you can have the post office hold your mail, and you can retrieve it every so often. Once your place is ready, be sure to do changes of address with your important, recurring mail.
If you’ve got regular prescriptions, have them moved to another pharmacy. If you have recurring deliveries like Stitch Fix or Butcher Box, pause them until you get your new place. It’ll save you some cash while you’re in temporary housing. Cancel memberships you have to local gyms, museums or co-ops you won’t use anymore and look into replacements in your new area.
Get recommendations from your primary care physician and specialists for health care professionals in your new area and in your temporary housing area if you’ll need them. Have all your records sent to your new doctors or get copies for yourself- that includes veterinarians.
Temporary housing is a great solution to a common problem. Too often, you feel you have to extend leases or pay to stay in your sold-house by paying hefty rates. If you choose this solution, you not only get a place to stay, but you can also complete 90% of your move before your new place is ready. If you’ve got friends or family that are moving, mention this option to them too.
There is temporary housing in almost every area of the country. Just do a little online research, ask for references from people you know or call around. There’s a perfect home away from home waiting for you.