Finding travel nurse housing can be a daunting process, especially as a new travel nurse. The thought of living with a stranger, not knowing whether or not you’re in a safe area, and sending a large sum of money to someone without ever meeting them can be nerve-wracking. And the truth is, it doesn’t get easier the more you do it. But there are great travel nurse housing resources out there to ensure that you stay safe and don’t get scammed.
Getting Started – Looking for Temporary Housing for Travel Nurses
Before starting your search for housing, you want to take into account what your company is offering you for a living stipend. Another way to tell whether or not you can afford housing is by deciding what percentage of your paycheck you want to spend on housing. I try not to spend over what I make in one week. For instance, if my weekly paycheck is $1,500, I try to find housing that costs <$1,500.
When you start your search for housing, always know that you can negotiate and that you always have a fall back plan in the case that you can’t find your own housing. If you can’t seem to find your own housing or don’t want to, your travel nurse company will be able to provide you with housing. I don’t use my company because you can save more money by finding housing on your own. When your company looks for housing for you, they take your entire housing stipend even if they don’t end up using it all.
4 Travel Nurse Housing Resources (that I recommend)
Below you’ll find four travel nurse housing resources that I have personally used or have friends that have used these resources. I find all of them to be trustworthy and helpful, but please keep in mind that you aren’t guaranteed to have a good experience just because I have. Although I use and recommend these resources, still stay alert, and follow your gut.
1. Furnished Finder
Furnished Finder is a resource targeted towards “travel nurses and other traveling professionals”, where all living arrangements come fully furnished. Furnished Finder is a great resource because it’s free to use and there are housing options available in every state. Not only can you find an apartment or house to rent, but you can also search for long term hotel rentals as well.
I also like to utilize Furnished Finder because the people who are renting their places on Furnished Finder know the audience they are renting to is made up of travel nurses. For that reason, people seem to be a little bit more flexible and understand the needs of a traveling healthcare professional. Unlike Airbnb, Furnished Finder doesn’t inflate the cost or charge booking fees. Plus they have a handy stipend calculator to use when searching for affordable housing.
I’ve found housing on Airbnb multiple times and consider this a trustworthy resource. There are downsides to Airbnb however, mainly that it’s often much more expensive than other housing sites. The reason for this is that Airbnb charges a booking fee, which can at times be upwards of $500. Another reason that Airbnb is expensive is that when people put their listing on Airbnb, they oftentimes don’t account for “long-term rentals”. If they were to account for that, a discount would be provided. For these reasons I often try to negotiate when using Airbnb. I’ll find data from other places around the city and ask them if they can come down on pricing at all.
Tip: When booking through Airbnb make sure to read the cancelation policy! All units have different cancelation policies and it’s important to bring this up with your landlord in the case that your contract was to get canceled. Make sure that you’re communicating via Airbnb and not texting. If something were to go wrong, Airbnb can access your conversation if you use their platform, but they can’t access it if you use text.
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3. Facebook Groups
One of my favorite ways to search for housing is through Facebook Groups. This way you can easily see who else has lived in the house and get an honest review. I typically find the search bar in the Facebook group and search for the city I’m moving to. There should be housing options that pop up and then you can message the owner. Like Furnished Finder, the people who are in Facebook groups know that they are targeting travel nurses. Which means that they are more flexible and understanding. Beware, however, if you are one of the first people in a new rental. Talk about expectations upfront and what they should expect from a traveling professional.
Renting through Facebook groups does have a downside. Landlords typically require a deposit before moving in. Because you don’t know if this person is reliable (especially if it’s a new rental), it can be scary to send a large deposit to a stranger. It’s usually hard to get out of this and that is why I prefer to move in somewhere where another travel nurse has already been. You can always reach out to the landlord and ask if anyone else has lived there previously and then contact that person directly.
4. Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is a great way to find travel nurse lodging! Before I use any of the above resources, I first ask my travel nurse friends if they have any housing leads in the city I’m moving to. I will ask travelers on my floor and I will text every travel nurse that I know. I feel much more comfortable staying somewhere a friend has stayed than staying somewhere I know nothing about. If you’re new to travel nursing, I’d recommend reaching out to a more seasoned travel nurse and asking if they’ve ever traveled to the city you’re moving to!
3 Travel Nurse Housing Resources (that I wouldn’t recommend)
The next three resources that I mention, I don’t utilize or trust due to personal reasons or stories I’ve heard from other travel nurses. I am sure that these sites have some trustworthy people on them, but I would personally never utilize them nor recommend them as housing for travel nurses.
I’ve never utilized Craigslist, but many travel nurses that I speak with that have used Craigslist, have gotten scammed. It’s very easy to set up a scam on Craigslist and even if you’re diligent and use all of the resources you have to check it out, you may still lose money. For example – my friend searched Craigslist for an apartment in Seattle. She found a place and contacted the landlord who she communicated with via Facebook. She also drove by the house that the landlord was renting to make sure that it was real. Once she saw the house she sent a deposit to the landlord. He then disappeared. It turned out that his Facebook was fake and the rental property was no rental property at all. Other people lived in the home and didn’t know their property was being listed on Craigslist.
While I trust VRBO when using it as a vacation rental, I don’t find that it’s a good resource for travel nurses unless you’re traveling with a group of people. VRBO rentals are typically more expensive and less flexible. They don’t rent with the goal to rent long-term. They typically list properties to rent for the goal of a short-term vacation rental.
Another company I wouldn’t recommend using for rental properties is Zillow. I happened to be scammed on Zillow and lost $4,600, which you can read about here. The reason that I don’t like Zillow is because they take no accountability for what happens on their site. When I raised concern over my rental property they told me that I would need to hire a lawyer to contact them because they wouldn’t talk to me alone. I don’t support businesses that don’t have the interest of people who use their business at heart.
As I stated earlier, finding travel nurse housing can be one of the hardest things that you do as a travel nurse. Hopefully, this post gave you helpful tips on how to move forward with housing and what to avoid. If you know of any good housing resources, I encourage you to leave them in a comment below!
You’ve made living arrangements… but what about packing? Read my guide on How NOT to Pack For Your First Travel Nurse Assignment