At some point, you’ll likely need a short-term rental, because you need a place to live … but just temporarily.

Maybe you’ve landed a sweet gig in a new city and have to be onsite before you can move out of your old place.

Maybe you’re traveling and want to have a home base for longer than a week or two.

Maybe you or a family member needs to travel for medical care, and you need a place that’s fully furnished. What exactly are your options for finding a temporary home away from home?

Short-term rental options

One of the obvious options is a hotel. But unless your stay is quite limited, a hotel can get very pricey, very fast. And in most hotels, you’ll have just one room and no place to cook, which means you’re eating out a lot. Which can get pricey. And add pounds to your derrière.

On the other hand, with a short-term rental, you can get a private unit with usually one, two or sometimes even three bedrooms, plus a kitchen and other amenities. In fact, rentals known as extended stay apartments, corporate housing or executive suites specialize in providing the “extras” so you can easily move in with just your essential personal items. One of the biggest attractions is the price, which can be less than half of what you would pay for a hotel for the same amount of time.

But before you get sucked into the world of possibilities, take a moment to understand how this type of temporary living works. Here we’re talking fully furnished rentals that are set up for short-term leases. You might be able to negotiate a three or six-month lease in a “normal” apartment, but be prepared to pay more for the convenience.

Type of unit

A short-term rental comes in all shapes and sizes, with options ranging from a free-standing home to an individual unit in a condo complex or apartment building. The type of place you go for will likely determine if you’ll be in a quiet neighborhood or a livelier part of town.

Lease terms

You’ll want to find out if the unit rents on a fixed, short-term contract (such as three months) or a straight month-to-month lease that renews automatically. With a fixed term, your rent expense stays the same until the lease expires. In a month-to-month, your rent can change over time, but you have the flexibility to give 30 days’ notice and not break the lease.

Rental extensions

Ask the manager what happens at the end of the lease should you need to stay longer. For example, in a fixed lease, you may be able to go month-to-month after the lease expires, and in a month-to-month contract, you might be able to transition to a fixed term if needed.

What’s included

It’s common for corporate housing to include furniture, linens, towels and a TV, plus kitchen and basic cleaning supplies. Most include utilities, plus internet and cable. Ask if the unit has a washer and dryer or if you’ll use a shared laundry area. You might be able to order housekeeping and other concierge services, usually for an additional fee. Find out if your monthly rent includes parking or use of common areas, such as a gym, pool, business office or clubhouse. Some complexes even offer social or meet-and-greet events.

Package deals

Many dedicated short-term residences offer packages, so you can add the amenities you want and not pay for those you won’t use. Some packages let you make furniture upgrades or order higher levels of concierge services.

Pets

We love our pets, so many corporate housing rentals allow animals, but usually with an extra deposit or fee. Find out what the deposit covers and if your pooch will have access to a yard or enclosed area.

Flexibility is the key to short-term leases, and with a bit of searching, you’ll likely find a place within your budget that helps you feel at home while you’re away from yours.

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