Moving to a new city and can’t wait to rent a poolside apartment or buy that house on the corner lot?
Don’t be too quick to sign a lease or take out that loan.
What if you choose a home in a partying neighborhood when you relish quiet nights? Or you could rent an apartment that turns out be a 30-minute drive from all your favorite haunts.
That’s why short-term housing comes in so handy.
Don’t settle yet
Ash Hoden, a 38-year-old writer, is bouncing around the boroughs of New York until he finds the perfect neighborhood.
Initially, Hoden rented a Tribeca apartment listed on Airbnb, a site where any apartment dweller or homeowner can rent out a shared or private room or even an entire house. After two weeks in that apartment, Hoden crashed in Astoria for a month in an Airbnb shared room.
“I’ve gotten a feel for the neighborhoods this way,” said Hoden, who soon realized he favors outer boroughs like Queens over people-packed Manhattan.
Want to explore a city but don’t want to pack everything into a hotel room while searching for long-term housing? To find the short-term option that suits you best, check out the pros and cons of a few possibilities below:
You’ll find everything from houses and apartments to city lofts and vacation homes at Airbnb, where your host could be anyone from a vacationing homeowner to an RN paying down a mortgage.
Kate O’Neil, a marketing professional in Seattle who’s been an Airbnb host for two years, has had around 60 guests stay in a $75 per night private room in her home near Capitol Hill.
One of O’Neil’s recent guests, who relocated to Seattle after a business endeavor fell through, “loaded everything in her car and was here for a week,” said O’Neil. “Then she and her car full of her life took off and moved into an apartment not far from here.”
Pros: Vast array of lodging choices. Guest reviews, profiles of hosts and messaging system to contact hosts.
Cons: Some shared quarters may be too close for private types.
Extended stay hotels.
Along with basic hotel amenities like Wi-Fi, laundry facilities and cable TV, you’ll get a fully equipped kitchen and a suite that’s larger than the average hotel. Many hotels are pet-friendly.
While you may save $1,000 at a low-end extended stay hotel, some low-cost situations can be dicey. Search online for hotel reviews before booking.
Pros: Great for families. You can save money by cooking meals, and the furnished space is ideal while your furniture is in storage.
Cons: Generally more expensive than a hotel.
Sublets and furnished apartments.
You might find a 60-day sublet on Craigslist or some apartment complexes allow a moving tenant with time left on the lease to sublet. Check out Sublet.com for apartments available for periods ranging from a week to several months.
Pros: No furniture to move.
Cons: Not everyone is upfront with their landlord. Talk to the landlord yourself and get the sublease agreement in writing.
Sociable sorts who can find a new place fast can stay a few nights for free with Couchsurfing hosts who open their homes to travelers.
Pros: Meet new people, messaging system for hosts and surfers, member profiles and reviews. Free.
Cons: Sometimes you get what you pay for. Check out the site’s safety basics and choose wisely.
Short-term lease apartments.
Lots of apartment complexes offer a month-to-month agreement or a three-month lease. Check out sites like apartmenthomeliving and search “short-term available apartments” in the amenities section of each city.
Pros: You can take your time looking for the right neighborhood.
Cons: Most are unfurnished so you have to move furniture twice.
A vacation home’s price can be comparable to an extended stay hotel, said Daniel Waldron, a realtor in Orlando. Plus you get more storage space and full closets.
Waldron recently booked one of his vacation homes in Orlando for $3,000 a month to a family searching for a house.
“Whenever someone tells me that’s a hefty price tag, I say, ‘Find me a hotel that’s cheaper that gives you amenities,’” said Waldron, whose houses are in a resort with two pools, a fitness center and a running trail.
Some city regulations require at least a 30-day stay in vacation homes, said Gay Weber, chief marketing officer at Carolina Mornings, an Asheville vacation rental company that rents houses and cottages starting at $2,000 a month.
Pros: Great for families with kids, wide range of prices.
Cons: Most require prepayment and give no refund if you check out early.
“Start planning early because vacation homes are all individually owned and unique,” said Weber. “Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call.”