How to Find Temporary Housing: A Guide

Need temporary housing? Unlock the secrets to finding short-term accommodations hassle-free. Read our guide for a smooth transition.

Real Estate
February 14, 2024
How to Find Temporary Housing: A Guide

While some may be able to sell their house and still live in it, many people will be looking for temporary housing solutions before they move into their dream home. Seldom do apartment leases and mortgages meet the needs of tenants. Instead, they cater to the requirements of a lender or landlord. Typically, the lowest lease term is 12 months. But what happens if you need a shorter-term housing option? While less common, short-term housing (month-to-month leases, or leases three, six, or nine months in duration) can still be found –– you just have to know where to look. 

Whether you’re looking for where to live between selling and buying your home or need some flexibility while you search for your dream home, here’s how to find temporary housing.

Understanding Your Temporary Housing Needs

Like house hunting, a trip to the grocer, or any other type of shopping, your search for temporary housing should start with a list of your wants and needs. After all, it will serve as your home until you find the best time to move into your permanent one. 

Ponder these criteria as you look for temporary housing. 

Duration of Stay

What does “short-term” mean to you? Knowing the exact duration –– or at least an estimated range –– of your stay is the first step in narrowing down your temporary housing options. Your duration-based needs will likely boil down to the reason for your search. Are you in transition between moves? On a temporary work assignment? Do you need a construction-free zone during a home renovation? The answers to these questions will help you narrow down your desired duration.

Budget Considerations

When budgeting for temporary housing, there’s more to the cost than just the rent. Things like utilities and internet service may factor into the equation just as they would for long-term housing, but you’ll also have to consider some extra fees –– like paid parking.1 Additionally, before pursuing temporary housing, consider the cost of renting a storage unit for your belongings and transporting said belongings from one location to another. A furnished rental can help you avoid paying multiple moving companies, providing you with a more flexible budget. 

Location Requirements

Location will also play a key role in your search for temporary housing –– and just because your lease is short-term doesn’t mean you should sell yourself short when it comes to locale. Chances are your ideal location for temporary housing will be proximal to work, provide easy access to public transportation, be in a safe area, and provide easy access to neighborhood amenities. Balancing these desires may be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Conduct thorough research on nearby neighborhoods to find a balance between convenience and affordability, keeping in mind that, while a more accessible location might command a higher price, it could save you on transportation costs and time. 

Size and Amenities

Temporary housing comes in all shapes and sizes –– from plush and spacious to scant and “cozy.” So, to find your ideal short-term housing setup, you’ll have to consider how much space you need but also how abundant your amenities will need to be. Will a studio apartment cut it, or do you need multiple bedrooms? A kitchenette or a full chef’s kitchen? Living somewhere warm? Make sure to check if there is air conditioning before signing a lease. Consider your priorities and space desires, breaking each into total non-negotiables and the nice-to-haves. And if you have a pet, remember that, while some places accommodate pets, other temporary housing options may not be so welcoming to furry friends. 

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Types of Temporary Housing Options

With a clear understanding of your needs, you can begin looking for the temporary housing option that best fits them. 

  • Short-Term Rentals: A short-term rental may be the best option if you’re looking for flexibility and familiarity. Short-term rentals are typically no different from traditional rentals aside from their month-to-month leases, meaning you’ll likely have to move in your furniture to create a homey atmosphere.2
  • Extended-Stay Hotels: Whether you need to stay for a few weeks or a couple of months, extended-stay hotels can be a great option for several reasons. For one, they’re relatively inexpensive, with rates as low as $50/night in many parts of the country at places like Extended Stay America and Candlewood Suites. They’re also furnished and often well-appointed, featuring kitchenettes, onsite laundry facilities, and even fitness centers. This affordable option can be ideal for business travel or a perfect bridge between selling your home and moving into a new one.
  • Vacation Rentals: Sometimes, temporary housing can feel like an extended vacation. This is especially true if you make a vacation rental your chosen short-term rental. Platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo are commonly used by travelers seeking an alternative to a hotel room, and these sites can be a great place to find a comfortable and quaint vacation rental. Your short-term stay doesn’t need to be in some far-flung destination, either –– you can find perfect temporary housing just about anywhere you look. Of course, if a white sand beach is calling your name, there’s probably a temporary housing option for you. 
  • Corporate Housing: Generally geared toward business travelers, corporate housing options offer furnished, move-in-ready apartments. Companies like Landing were created specifically for those looking for corporate housing, but their diverse offerings are available to anyone looking for a temporary place to stay. If you find yourself drawn to a furnished apartment rental, corporate housing might be the ideal solution.
  • Sublets: Long before there were apps for temporary housing, people relied on apartment subletting for their short-term housing needs. When you sublet a space, you’re renting directly from a current tenant –– meaning the rental is generally furnished and move-in ready. This can be a convenient and flexible option, but it does come with a set of risks. Many tenants sublet their apartments without getting landlord approval, which can be a violation of the leasing agreement, in some cases.3 This means trouble for the primary tenant, but as a subtenant, it can mean you’re out of a home with little notice (and no refund.)  

Legal Considerations and Rights

Before you begin searching for the perfect temporary housing option, it’s important to understand the legality of being a short-term renter. While a short-term renter is defined as a tenant who occupies a space for less than 30 consecutive days in many parts of the country, legal rights for short-term renters can vary greatly from place to place.4 Consult a legal professional to be sure you know the full extent of your rights as a temporary renter. 

How to Search for Temporary Housing

Compared to the days of hunting for housing in the “Classifieds” section or learning of a sublet opportunity from a friend of a friend (of a friend), there’s no shortage of ways to find temporary housing today. Here are some of the most useful resources in your search for the right short-term rental. 

Online Rental Platforms

Just as sites like Zillow or are for homebuyers or long-term renters, there are myriad platforms specifically designed for short-term and furnished rentals. In addition to Landing and Airbnb, websites like Furnished Finder can help you find the perfect temporary housing option. If there’s a downside of these platforms it’s that there are too many options. But using your predetermined temporary housing needs, you can narrow down your search using filters like furnished/unfurnished and pet-friendliness, or by amenities like in-unit laundry to find the right fit. 

Social Media and Forums

The Classifieds still exist –– they’ve just moved online. Local Facebook groups, Reddit communities, and forums can be genuine goldmines for finding temporary housing options in your area. Although these sites lack the refinement of platforms like Landing and Furnished Finder, the community aspect comes with in-depth insights into new areas from locals and previous tenants.

Real Estate Agencies

If technology fails to produce your desired result, you may have to turn to a real person and consult a real estate agent specializing in short-term rentals. The downside of this approach is that, compared to crowdsourcing information or scrolling through hundreds of listings for free, this expert guidance often comes at a cost. But it can also come with listings not widely advertised (or advertised at all) and in-depth market insight designed to get you the best deal. 

Evaluating Temporary Housing Options

You’ve used internet resources, a real estate agent, or some combination of both to line up your temporary housing options –– but how do you decide which rental is right? When evaluating potential homes, do the following: 

  • Consider the Total Cost: As mentioned earlier, the flexibility of temporary housing can come at a cost. And while this cost is typically reflected in the rent price, there may be additional fees, like an early termination fee, that can drive up the cost. Calculate the total cost of your stay, including deposit fees and these hidden costs, then compare the overall expense to your budget to decide if an option is right for you. 
  • Scour Reviews and Reputation: Airbnb claims that nearly 80 percent of all guests leave a review after their stay.5 This means that, if you’re looking for temporary housing using Airbnb, you should have plenty of firsthand experiences on which to base your decision. But whether you’ve found a short-term rental option on Airbnb or another platform, conduct as much research as you can to see what past tenants or guests have to say. 
  • Read the Lease Terms: At first glance, a temporary housing option may be perfect –– but once you dig a little deeper into the lease, you may discover that the fine print says the opposite. As you review your options, take great care to understand the flexibility of lease terms, notice periods, and any penalties for early termination to be sure you’re getting the deal you think you are. 
  • Visit in Person: Searching for temporary housing online brings the world to your fingertips, but it doesn’t always tell the full story. If possible, visit your favorite listings in person to verify their condition, safety, and accuracy. If reality aligns with expectations, you may have just found your new temporary housing. 

Tips for a Smooth Temporary Housing Experience

In your search and beyond, these tips will help you have a more enjoyable and predictable temporary housing experience. 

Read the Fine Print

At the risk of sounding like a broken record: Carefully review your rental agreement or lease. Understanding your financial responsibilities and your expectations as a tenant will help you avoid additional fees or even eviction. Pay close attention to clauses about deposits, requested notice periods for terminating your lease, and any restrictions (like no pets, no smoking, or in some cases, no visitors). Creating a list of questions to ask when renting a house about the fine print can avoid troublesome hurdles when it's time to move into your new home. 

Keep Communication Open

From your first conversation, work to establish clear communication and a solid professional relationship with your landlord, property manager, or primary renter. While your time in this space –– and, therefore, your relationship –– will be limited, good rapport and clear communication will help make your experience more enjoyable. 

Manage Your Expectations

A short-term rental can be cozy, homey, and even luxe. It can also just be an inexpensive and temporary option for this current moment. Either way, managing your expectations will help you avoid disappointment or surprise. A place like Extended Stay America might not be ideal for long-term housing –– understanding that it’s a temporary arrangement will allow you to focus on your job assignment or your forever home hunt. 

Remain Open to Possibilities

The handful of temporary housing options outlined above are just the tip of the iceberg. In reality, there are countless ways you can bridge the gap between long-term housing. And if your search for temporary housing is an attempt to create greater flexibility as you navigate how to find your dream home, you might consider Truehold’s sale-leaseback

A sale-leaseback is the ideal choice if you’re looking for temporary housing between moves. With Truehold, you can sell your home, cash out your home equity, then continue living there as a renter while you search for your next spot. When you sell your home to us, you can stay as long as you’d like, or as little as 6 months, and move when the time is right. Plus, you don’t have to worry about storing your belongings before you move to your new home. Best of all, you can use the home equity to buy another house or to cover your moving expenses.

Finding perfect temporary housing doesn’t have to be hard. And with Truehold, you can search without even leaving your home. Want to learn more about Truehold’s sale-leaseback? Connect with one of our advisors today. 


1. Experian. Should You Sign a Short-Term Apartment Lease?

2. Extra Space Storage. Extended Stay Hotels vs. Short-Term Rentals: Is One Better? 

3. Rocket Lawyer. The Do’s and Don’ts of Subleasing. 

4. GovOS. A Guide to Short-Term Rentals for Local Governments. 

5. Keycafe. Should Airbnb Hosts Ask Guests to Leave a Review?

Lucas Grohn headshot
Written by
Lucas Grohn
Senior Manager of Sales at Truehold - A Thought-Leader in Real Estate
Lucas Grohn brings over a decade of real estate expertise to his role, where he guides a team dedicated to innovative sales strategies. Known for his thought leadership and diverse experience, from managing brokerage operations to training agents at top firms, Lucas covers a broad span of real estate content for Truehold.
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Truehold's blog is committed to delivering timely and pertinent insights in real estate and finance, purely for educational and informational purposes. Crafted by experts, our content is thoroughly reviewed to guarantee its accuracy and dependability. Although designed to enlighten and engage, our articles are not intended as financial advice and should not be the sole basis for financial decisions. Our stringent editorial practices ensure the integrity of our content, empowering our readers with valuable knowledge.

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