The Do’s and Don’ts of finding Housing for a travel nurse assignment – Part 1

There are good ways to do things and there are sometimes not-so-good methods to employ.  It doesn’t mean one is necessarily “bad” but maybe doesn’t yield as desirable a result.  When it comes to finding housing arrangements as a travel nurse, you probably have learned through trial and error the most effective courses of action but for a new traveler, there are some tricks to try to make things easier, cheaper, more efficient, etc.  Here are some useful pieces of advice to consider:

The DO List

  • DO ask any property upfront if they will accept a short-term lease and if there are any “short-term lease fees”. It can be surprising how many properties will not offer short-term leases. This will help you immediately narrow down viable options.
  • DO ask about the property’s pet policy if you are planning on bringing your fur babies. This would include questions about pet fees, pet deposits, pet rent, weight restrictions and breed restrictions.
  • DO ask whether or not the deposit is refundable. Often a property will tell you that there is a security deposit or even a pet deposit when it more accurately would be a security fee or pet fee.  If the deposit is refundable, we suggest asking if it is 100% fully refundable or if there are cleaning fees taken out of it upon vacating the premises.  These things ideally are written out in a lease but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
  • DO inquire about specifically what furniture is included in the unit. Although many times with online ads there are images of the unit, you are not always getting the property that is in the pictures.  There are many places that won’t include things such as linens, dishes, house wares, etc.  Some may only feature a bed, couch and dresser.
  • DO talk with the owner of the property about what utilities are included in the rent and which ones you’ll need to set up on your own. If the utilities are already currently in the owner’s name, we suggest trying to negotiate with the owner to keep those in his/her name and just include an estimated monthly utility bill in the rent payment.  This will help avoid having to pay additional bills each month and also circumvents required deposits and service fees when setting up utilities.
  • DO make an appointment to view the property before putting any deposits down. Many apartment complexes will state online that they are closed on the weekends but if you make a call and ask, quite a few of them will make appointments for viewing on Saturdays and Sundays. We advise physically seeing your specific property ahead of time to confirm that the pictures you saw are current and accurate representations.
  • DO ask to speak with the Sales Director or General Manager when discussing extended stay rates. Typically a front desk employee will not have the authority to lower the rate they’re required to offer a guest.  Hotels benefit greatly from extended stay guests and the General Manager and Sales Director are in a position to get you get the best deal.
  • DO use the ‘Map’ option on Craigslist, Zillow, and other online property listing sites if available. If you know where the facility you’ll be working is located on the map, you can better gauge where you will want to stay. There’s nothing worse than finding the perfect property first, and then when checking the address, finding out you would have to drive an hour to work each way. 
  • DO ask the properties when talking with them how long it will take to drive to the hospital you’ll be working at. Locals typically have a better sense of traffic in the area than online mapping systems.
  • DO ask about what’s known as the EPP (Extended Plus Program) rate at the Extended Stay America chain. This rate typically cuts a standard nightly rate in half!  When calling, you will need to press 2 on the main message menu rather than talking to the front desk because they will not be able to give you that rate.  The EPP rate is only ever given out when specifically requested.  It will never be offered to you, even if you tell them you’re staying 90 days or longer.  The EPP rate however, will lock you into a minimum of a 60 night stay guarantee and it will require a credit card to secure the room upon booking.


Click here to access Part 2, the DON’T List.