Short-term leases offer just the right amount of flexibility, giving you a place to live temporarily while you figure out where in your new city you'd like to permanently reside.
Typically, a short-term lease lasts for less than six months. It's often based on a month-to-month rental agreement, giving you the option to renew each month as necessary. Usually, you only need 30 days notice to terminate, meaning you avoid paying a penalty for breaking a lease once you've settled on exactly where you want to live.
The easiest time to secure a short-term lease is during the winter months. If a property goes vacant within these off months, landlords may want a tenant to fill the space until spring or summer when the apartment will be easier to rent and for a longer period of time. Landlords don't often want their apartment leases to be off-cycle. It increases the risk of a unit staying vacant for a longer period.
Once you've found your short-term apartment, it's time to take advantage of the flexibility it offers you to get to know your new city and find your ideal neighborhood for a long-term stay.
Explore a lot of neighborhoods
Making an interstate move means familiarizing yourself with an entirely new place. While you can look at basic information on paper to know what areas have top-performing schools or lower crime rates, most people want more out of their neighborhood than what can be gleaned online.
With a short-term lease, you can start with a neighborhood that sounds appealing, while still researching all your options. Make a list of the neighborhood must-haves and then start exploring. You may want to consider things like:
- Proximity to shops and restaurants
- Ease of access to major highways
- Availability of public transportation
- Composition of the community – do you want a neighborhood heavily populated with young singles, families or couples?
Knowing what you're looking for and having the time to explore allows you to take more time getting comfortable in your new city.
Find your ideal commute
Assuming you'll have a new job in your new destination, it's important to settle into a home that makes your commute easy. You don't want to end up in a car for hours each day, stuck in gridlock.
As a good starting point, locate a temporary apartment close to work. That way you won't get stuck with a tedious commute. As you find neighborhoods that you like while you're out and about, verify what living in each place would do to your commute. You can eliminate neighborhoods simply for being too far away. Narrow down your potential list based on your ideal commute requirements to prevent getting to and from work a stressful situation.
Where are you most at home?
Doing all this research as you ease into life after an interstate move helps establish your best options for where to live. However, what ultimately determines where you settle is where you feel most at home.
Spend time simply being in your new city. How does it make you feel? Where do you have the most fun? What special places will you frequent? If there's a park, museum, club, restaurant or anywhere specific that you know will become a regular spot, consider living close by.
You don't want to make a split decision on where to live only to realize the best pizza in the city is 15 miles away, and with a short-term lease, you don't have to rush your decision.