At TNT Moving Systems, we work with people at every step of the moving process and have witnessed some of the challenges that come with temporary housing. In an ideal world, your moving, closing, and selling dates would all align perfectly. In reality, it’s not uncommon to find yourself with extra days, weeks, or even months between moving dates. This means you have to find a place to stay in the interim; say hello to temporary housing!
Temporary housing is basically what it sounds like; it’s a space rented as a temporary, short-term solution while you’re awaiting the move to your next home. For some, this might look like an extended stay at a hotel or AirBnB, while for others, this could be a month-to-month apartment or house rental. There are a ton of great options at a range of prices, and you should definitely be able to find a great place to call home when looking for short term housing, without sacrificing comfort or the necessities.
The 2021 U.S. Housing Shortage
Since 2010, the US housing market has been struggling to keep up with buyers demand for residential real estate. Real estate experts estimate that there are fewer than three months of supply of homes on the market since the 2000’s, which equates to a shortage of about 2.4 million homes. In the 2020 recession, home building was put to a halt in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent supply chain issues on building materials, which otherwise is typically the busiest season for new construction.
Builders are already more than busy this year, as interest in housing has skyrocketed more than ever. Whether it’s people who realize their home is uncomfortably small or were forced to move home during COVID lockdowns, Americans want more space. Danushka Nanayakkara-Skillington, associate vice president of forecasting and analysis at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) estimated that “New construction on single-family homes could exceed 1-million (in 2021).”
According to the National Association of Realtors, the 2021 spring market is starting off with the lowest levels of homes on the market in nearly 40 years. Demand (pending listings on the mark) is outstripping supply (active listings) in 70% of metro areas. Listing prices are rising at double-digit rates in 64% of metro areas. This, combined with aggressive fiscal policy, low mortgage rates, and job growth means that demand for homes will only continue to increase.
Goodbye city-living, hello space!
People are moving away from big city overpriced apartments and townhomes, and reassessing what they truly want and need. For many, that assessment includes space and reasonable housing prices, with a push towards the suburbs, exurbs, and even the countryside. Remote employees are leaving big cities as they can now live in lower cost areas. Post-vaccine America may have different geographical shifts, with a rush to return back to the cities, but for those who are able to keep up their remote work, there may be a collective shift where people want to reside outside of their working hours. Cities tend to have stricter laws, high taxes, and less space for your money. Telecommuting and living in areas with fewer restrictions can make more sense financially. A comfortable, spacious home may be more valuable than what they can afford in the city.
The South and Southeast have seen major growth in the past year, with many northerners fleeing high COVID case cities, cold temperatures, cramped and overpriced housing. Texas, Florida, and the Carolinas have seen the highest growth in the South. On the West coast, mountain states like Idaho, Colorado, and Utah have also experienced similar levels of growth, with people moving away from the expensive coastal cities.
New home construction in 2021
In addition, more entry-level homes are also expected to enter construction this year, which will help the competitive housing market against too many entry-level buyers pushing up prices. Affordable housing is a crisis across the country, and builders are trying to meet the demands for these homes. Southern states, mountain areas, and the Midwest are seeing higher rates of home construction as they offer more pro-business environments, readily available land, and cheaper building permits for potential builders and buyers.
The first rule of building or renovating a new home is to double the time estimate it takes to finish the job. Contractors are rarely ahead of schedule. For those building a new home, construction continues to face problems it has had for years. Between increased lumber prices, limited lot supplies, green space requirements, restrictive zoning laws, costly permits, and a skilled labor deficit since the 2010 recession, there simply aren’t enough supplies, workers, or incentives. Existing homeowners can also pose a problem, as they tend to vote against multifamily construction and low income housing, which drives up land costs.
Buyers awaiting closing amidst a housing crisis
With this scarcity of homes for sale, buyers are more than motivated – we’re talking multiple people bidding on homes, buyers placing bids without ever having stepped foot in a house, and buyers placing bids over the asking price, all of which drive up the prices. The ball is in the seller’s court, for sure right now, which isn’t the best news if you’re a first-time homebuyer looking to snag a home in 2021.
What’s the fix for those buyers in the in-between period? Temporary Housing!
Are you approaching the downtime between your current home and the day that you’re finally allowed to move into the home that you just bought? Or are you building a new home, but managed to sell your existing home before the new one is complete?
Whether you finally get the job you want in the perfect city, are ready to take the leap into purchasing a new home, are caught between selling, buying, building, or renovation, housing is simply unavailable. There is a widespread housing shortage in major cities all across the US. As a result, many buyers may need to utilize temporary housing until they can find the right house or move into their new home.
Weighing Out Temporary Housing Options
While some may be lucky enough to have friends or family willing to host you in-between moves, you’re more than likely going to need to find temporary housing through a rental or vacation company. An apartment broker may be the easiest way to learn about your options in a specific area you’re interested in and be able to filter your choices by rate, location, and amenities. This service is completely free since property managers pay apartment brokers. However, this also means that an apartment broker is mainly searching for short-term rentals and corporate housing options, not vacation rentals or extended stay hotels.
Short term-rentals: Short-term rentals are typical apartments or houses that offer flexible lease terms (e.g. weekly, month-to-month, 3-month, etc.). Typically, the less amount of time you lease, the higher the cost of your monthly rent.
Corporate housing: While similar to short-term rentals, corporate housing is created with the intent of lodging traveling business professionals. People with traveling or contracting careers like nurses or flight attendants may seek out this type of rental, or most popularly, workers undergoing relocation.
Sublets: A sublet is taking over a lease from an existing tenant for a set duration of time or remainder of the original lease. A sublet may require approval from the tenant’s landlord. Depending on the availability of the rental market in your area, subletting may be a good option.
Vacation Rentals: You may only think of sites like Airbnb and HomeAway for people purely vacationing. However, the real aim is to connect homeowners trying to rent out their homes or a room in their house. With rental periods ranging from days to months, vacation rentals are a great way to find temporary housing. Many hosts offer discounts for longer stays, and unlike say, sublets on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace listings, vacation rental sites like Airbnb and HomeAway make the search, comparison of options, communication with the owner, and payment process seamless, both on desktop and mobile.
Extended stay hotels: If you require housing for more than a few days, an extended stay hotel accommodates guests who need the convenience and accessibility of a hotel stay, without the pricey nightly rates of a typical hotel. Different hotel chains offer varying rates, depending on the length of your stay, the quality of the room, etc.
Plan for your belongings during your temporary stay
The biggest issue temporary housing seekers face is figuring out what to do with their things. Some rentals may require you to bring your own furniture, whereas others may come fully furnished and equipped. In either case, you’re probably going to be in a situation where the rental isn’t large enough to house all your belongings, or you don’t want to move an entire home multiple times during your temporary stay.
Storage pods or units may be the best answer in a temporary housing situation. Whether you are waiting on construction or bidding on a new home, keeping your belongings in less expensive storage may be the right solution for your family.
Some might be lucky enough to have family willing to store their belongings in the in-between.
Make use of furniture rentals to avoid hauling your entire house to a short-term stay.
Furniture rentals can be a real lifesaver for a number of reasons. Maybe you’re a young adult just starting out, and wanting to invest in nice pieces rather than hold onto your college Ikea collection. Buying new furniture all at once for a new place is super expensive, and renting can be a great way to figure out what pieces and style you like without the long term commitment. Even in temporary rentals where you can bring your own furniture, you’re probably going to want to reduce the heavy lifting with furniture rental.
Consider: Price of rentals versus length of rentals
You may need to consider weighing the costs against the length of the rental period. Longer furniture rentals may not weigh out in being both cost effective and convenient. Typically, furniture rentals can be a cheap, temporary solution for short, say 1-6 month periods. You’ll find that most furniture rental companies charge (in addition to the monthly base rental fee) a delivery fee, deposit insurance, interest, or even service fees like online payment charges. Some even have a minimum purchase threshold. So between charges, delivery, set-up, and taxes, more often than not, the price of renting furniture ends up being more than just purchasing it. When you purchase furniture, you’re making an investment into a piece to last for years. Depending on your temporary housing stay, you’ll need to weigh out the costs beyond the upfront charges of the rental.
Consider: Your ability to keep the rented furniture clean.
The beauty of owning your furniture is just that – it’s yours to do with however you like. While you’re never aiming to spill that red wine on the sofa or let your pet throw up on a rug rather than the wood floors, accidents happen all the time. When it comes to rental furniture, you won’t have the flexibility of mistakes without incurring direct costs.
Final Temporary Housing Moving Tips
- If your length of stay is unknown or dates are in flux, communicate with the landlord before booking. A huge factor in finding the right temporary housing is how long you plan to stay versus your budget – and whether or not you require flexibility in extending your stay and add time.
- Don’t forget your pets! Go ahead and make certain that you’re filtering for pet friendly rentals from the start, or begin researching for the paw-fect boarding facility for your furry loved ones. Most temporary rentals require an additional monthly fee, and many don’t allow pets at all. Remember, a move is just as stressful on your pet as it is on you, so take their comfort into high consideration as you’re finding an appropriate short term housing solution.
- Ask about costs additional to rent. Beyond monthly rent or pet rent, some temporary housing may also have fees for utilities, parking, or general repairs. Since short term rentals already run at a higher cost, you’ll want to know exactly what you’re getting into before signing any contracts.
- Book your final move ahead. Better to book with a tentative date than to not book at all, and be left stranded. Ideally, you’ll want to book 6-8 weeks ahead of your move. We know that with contractors and sales, there’s a lot of moving parts that can push deadlines without any warning. At TNT Moving Systems, we will do our best to accommodate your moving goals.