Travel Nurse Housing Expert Tips and Tricks
If you’re reading this, then I feel your “furnished housing” pain. Perhaps this is your first assignment as a travel nurse or maybe you’re a seasoned vet with 15 assignments under your belt? The bottom line is that since there are SO many housing sites that are constantly feeding you ton of data, how do you know where to start? You don’t want to under-pay and be in an unsafe area, and of course you don’t want to be taken to the cleaners by some internet trickster either. Hopefully, you’ll have a few more options under and are a little better prepared after reading this… so let’s go!
There are many sites that offer furnished housing, but the problem is, most are weekend vacation sites and they are never available because someone inevitably has a trip booked far enough in advance to screw you up. I will attempt to go through and offer up some tips, tricks, and things to keep in mind during on your next assignment as a travel RN.
Locate Furnished Housing - This is always a headache. Sure, the agencies can do your housing, but you lose control over the quality of where you stay, and more importantly, you will lose the potential to keep some of your tax free stipend cash. If you want to have greater flexibility and potential, we always recommend taking the stipend and doing it yourself!
Most travel nurse jobs sound great on paper, but HOUSING is always the X Factor! I’d think that almost everyone knows about Craigslist and to watch out for scams on that site (it’s like the Wild West… ya’ll be careful now, ya’hear?). Airbnb and VRBO are also options too, but in my opinion, availability for the entire stay always turns out to be an issue (IF you can get them to respond to your request). I’ve even had travelers asked (told) to leave for a weekend here or there since the owners have already pre-booked the place to vacationers. Talk about inconvenient! There’s also a new option specifically for Travel Nurses that’s catching on called Furnished Finder
Furnished Finder has built a pretty impressive map of just furnished properties that accept 3 month leases which is totally free and allows Traveling Nurses to contact the property owner direct! If you’re going solo, you may find some pretty useful housing resources on their site!
Furnished Finder can also conduct a custom housing search specifically for you based on your search criteria. Say you’re going to Fresno, CA; you’re traveling with your dog Milo, are a non-smoker, wants in unit laundry, and prefers to be on an upper floor with an elevator. Furnished Finder then scours the internet and blows up the phones of properties across the US until they find what you’re looking for. Their in-house property map certainly gives them the advantage, but they don’t stop there! They truly uncover every stone to make sure you’re not missing any opportunities. Overall, it’s a pretty unique service that is specific to traveling nurses that is being adopted industry-wide.
Something else that’s pretty unique here is that they can also manage the entire process for you as well! Think of it like having your staffing agency arrange housing for you, except you have more control and stand to pocket excess stipend money. They set-up the utilities, pay the move-in costs and rent, and track your stay from start to finish! For the nurse who is just too busy to manage all aspects of their housing, or you simply don’t want to deal with the headaches that come with travel housing, the Furnished Finder full service may be the way to go.
Neighborhood Search Advice; is this a safe area? – A great back of the napkin way to check your neighborhood you are thinking about living in is to go to Zillow….Stay with me on this; enter the address and look at the surrounding house values. If you are in an area that has a lot of housing <100k, then it may be time to move on. Every city is relative, so don’t treat New York prices like Texas home prices. You can do the opposite which helps as well… Scroll out so you have a pretty good view of the city, and enter prices that are 400,000 and up. This will quickly show you best part of town. Target these areas!
You’ve Got Mail - Make sure you address your home mail situation. Either have it forwarded or have it sent to a friend/family member. Just do something with it! Your information is too valuable not to protect it, and unfortunately because you travel for a living, you may be at higher risk of compromised privacy data (and letting mail pile up is just asking for it).
Travel Banking- Just because you live in a new city, don’t forget about your banking. Does your bank have branches in your new area? You don’t want to be paying a service fee at the ATM every time! Thankfully, online banking and scheduled automatic transactions make life a little easier. Tip: If you’re not sure if your bank has a branch out in the area, enter the city in google maps and then put the name of the bank in the search box… it should bring up all the branches.
Arrive early to inspect the property - I know… the pictures look incredible online and you’re expecting a flawless move in but do yourself a favor; always inspect the property before accepting the keys. It sounds silly, but don’t sign your walk-through form until you know for sure that you want that place for the next 13 weeks. It’s like not inspecting a rental car for dents before you drive off… always inspect prior so you don’t have problems later on. Most importantly, please realize that once you accept the keys, it’s much harder to get out of that lease without expensive penalties. Bottom line; if you can’t live there for any reason, don’t accept the keys and check into a hotel.
Well, that’s it for this blog post. Stay tuned for more travel tips and tricks! Keep Calm and Travel On!
Updated 6/1/2017 Furnished Finder no longer manages housing (an hasn't for a while now... ) All of our properties are listed on our MAP for Free where you contact the owner and book directly without commissions or booking fees!