4 Ways to Be a Smart Renter of Short-term Housing

12/13/2016

Tips for travel nurses and others considering DIY rentals

Choosing the free, agency-provided housing is an easy option for securing travel nurse housing, but not the only option to finding your home sweet home away from home.

By Megan Krischke, contributor

So, you’ve just accepted a new nursing job in a new town, and you need short-term housing. Whether you are moving for a permanent job or a temporary travel nursing assignment, here are several things you can do to make sure your rental goes smoothly.

First, consider the sure bet

If you are making a temporary move because of a travel nursing job, choosing the free, agency-provided housing is a no-hassle way to be sure that your housing is secured when you arrive. You should also have the necessary furnishings and be within a reasonable distance from your job; just ask your recruiter exactly what is provided and where you will be housed. 

[RELATED: Get answers to travel nursing FAQs.]

Top travel nurse agencies, such as NursingJobs.com’s staffing partners, have longstanding relationships with apartment buildings where they house their travelers, and you can count on the place being vetted. They pay close attention to safety of the surrounding neighborhood, and continually review comments from their travel nurses who have stayed there. They can also help you find pet-friendly housing or accommodations for families, if needed.

If, however, you would still prefer to find your own place, you can request the housing stipend instead to help cover your costs. It can be challenging to find someone who is willing to rent to you for just 13 weeks or so, but it is possible. Just use your smarts and follow these basic guidelines. 

If you prefer to be a DIY renter, consider these tips:

1.  Compare Airbnb vs. Craigslist & more

There are so many rental apps and sites to choose from these days! One of the most popular is Airbnb. Often used for vacation rentals, it has also become popular for short-term housing and room rentals for travel nursing jobs.

One of the great things about Airbnb (and similar sites) is that it comes with reviews. It also provides a third party who handles the money, cancellations and disputes. It is assumed that the room, bathroom and kitchen will be furnished, and that the arrangement will be temporary. It has a clear process and clear rules for added security; these extra services involve a fee paid on top of the rental fee.

The advantage of Craigslist and similar classified ad sites is that the interaction is personal. From the get-go, you are interacting directly with the person placing the ad. You are likely to find a wider variety of choices on this type of site, including roommate situations and rentals that will take pets. The downside is that a private rental or room sharing contract isn’t regulated in the same way as Airbnb.

If working directly with the owner of a home or a small apartment complex, you probably won’t have the chance to read reviews. You’ll need to ask more questions, do more research and rely more on your impressions of people. 

2.  Create a renter’s résumé

Potential roommates or landlords are also going to want to know a bit about you. Creating a renter’s résumé can help you sell yourself, and keep you from answering the same questions over and over.

What to include in your résumé:
•  The dates you need accommodation
•  Any housing or roommate preferences (private bath, gender, etc.)
•  Your living habits (work schedule, how much you’ll be in the home when not at work, messiness v. cleanliness tolerance, etc.)
•  A short description of yourself, including education and employment
•  Your credit score, if favorable
•  Your monthly income and housing stipend; bank account information and balances may also be required
•  Rental history and references from previous landlords or roommates--perhaps a short paragraph from one of your references.

3.  Do your research

•  Watch out for scams, especially on unregulated sites. Does the price for the list of amenities sound too good to be true? Does the grammar of the post seem off? Is there a lot of writing in ALL CAPS? These are all signs of a scam.
•  Find the rental on Google Maps and take a look around at the street view. Look up safety stats, transportation maps, restaurants and other services in that area.
•  What can you find out about the potential host/roommate on the internet?
•  Ask a lot questions of your host/roommate, so you know exactly what you’re getting into; try these 20 questions from BrickUnderground.com.
•  Remember: read all rental agreements carefully before signing.

4.  Be a good roommate or tenant

If you are living in someone’s home or sharing space with a roommate for three months or so, keep in mind that you are more than a guest but not exactly a full-fledged member of the household. Your rental history can also follow you, so make sure you leave behind good references.

•  From Day 1 until the day you move out, follow all of the house rules.
•  Set times to check in with your host/roommate to discuss any issues that might be coming up.
•  Find out if there are any times during your stay that your host(s) might like to have the place to themselves--and plan to be away then.
•  Ask permission with plenty of advance notice for anything that might be out of the ordinary, such has having family or friends visit.
•  Pick up after yourself and do your share of the housekeeping chores. And clean like crazy when you leave! This will help you recoup your deposit and leave a good impression.

FIND OUT MORE about travel nurse housing and benefits, or find your next nursing job today.



© 2016. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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