Short Term Rental Options

I. Credit

 

I. Prior to looking at housing (the longer before, the better), ensure that you have established some positive credit history. Your credit will be helpful in securing housing from prospective landlords.

  1. Check your credit first for free. Setup an account on creditkarma.com. Use it for information but don’t pay much attention to the score. Then set up an account on Credit.com where it is not as informative but the score is more important there than on Creditkarma.

  2. If you have no established credit history, I recommend getting a Capital One secured credit card or Discover secured credit card. Both have no annual fee. The Capital One card offers the ability to have a higher limit than the money that you put in as a deposit to get the card. For more on using credit cards to build your credit, click here

  3. If you have established credit history and it is below 720 (especially below 650), see if you can boost it. For methods, click here.

II. Determine some things for housing:

  1. What is your budget going to be for housing?

  2. Do you have a car or will you be relying on mass transit?

  3. If you have a car, consider parking since sometimes you have to pay for parking in places like downtown Norfolk.  

  4. Are you comfortable with rooming with others?

 
 

III. Look into housing possibilities.

With short-term apartments sometimes there is a waiting list for the kind of room that you want.

 

Often, even if a landlord is offering a room or house for a year lease, they will be willing to go for a shorter time with a larger security deposit &/or a higher rent payment. If you get turned down for a room or house or it looks like you’re going to get turned down, offer it. Before spending the money to apply for a place that says that it’s for a 6 month lease or longer, talk about that with the landlord in advance.

 

With apartments, usually they have a set in stone policy and most apartments do not allow 12 week leases or less (like Belmont at Freemason, Eastbay, Ghent Village Apartments, 201 21, Brittany Place Apartments, etc.) 

  1. Apartments:

    1. http://www.apartmentratings.com/va/

    2. www.apartments.com ​​

  2. Houses/condos etc.

    1. www.realtor.com

    2. www.zillow.com

    3. www.hotpads.com

    4. www.trulia.com

    5. See Craigslist & Airbnb under 9.

  3. Extended stay hotels (I recommend checking to see that your hotel has free wifi, a refrigerator/freezer (& be sure to ask the size), microwave, (even if not standard sometimes hotels can provide them to your room at no cost to you as happened to me in the past week at the time of this writing) if you currently have status or are close to having status with the hotel chain (ask Adam for credit card options that can instantly get you status with your preferred chain,), & the occupancy level you need for your family. You may potentially also check to see it has a stove/oven, a business area, as well as laundry on-site including the costs (though laundromats are an option as well). Club level (concierge level with Marriott) is another factor to consider, especially if you have status with a chain or could attain the status needed for free access. In upper-end hotels, club level could mean 3 meals a day. While they typically advertise breakfast and snacks but don't advertise lunch or dinner, see my review of an upper-end hotel that didn't advertise either lunch or dinner but had fantastic meal options in each case. Be sure to watch out for some that are closed on weekends and holidays. I also recommend checking reviews on Tripadvisor rather than the hotel's website when finalizing a decision between differing chains)

    1. Low end: Weekly rates starting at $240. See examples in Hampton Roads here, but be sure to check the reviews. For instance, they have locations in Newport News (is 3.3/5), Hampton (1.9/5), Norfolk (1.5/5 review on Expedia), & 3 in Chesapeake starting at $230 (Sun Suites 2.8/5). Also availability can be limited. The Mulberry Inn is an additional option with better reviews than any of those options while not being much more expensive than them.

    2. Middle/upper end

      1. Status - [even if you don't already have status, for most of these options, there are credit cards that can get you status with the hotel chain almost immediately if not immediately, which can be very valuable prior to a stay (potentially saving you hundreds or thousands). The only status that Adam has with hotels is through credit cards, not by meeting the usual stay requirements (I have Hilton Gold, Marriott Gold, Hyatt Globalist, IHG Platinum, Raddison Gold, etc. With that status I get extra perks, depending on the brand, property, and status level. The best status I have from a credit card is Hyatt Globalist status, which gives free breakfast at most brand locations that don't include it as standard or free club lounge access and space-available upgrades up to standard suites. While I don't have it, there are solid ways of getting Marriott Platinum & Hilton Diamond status through credit cards and many other options unmentioned - while not in every case, in some cases I can even get a referral bonus by referring you to credit cards with a unique referral link that is at no cost to you)]

      2. Hotel Brands:​​

        1.  

          Marriott: I recommending doing a broad search, then narrowing down by the following 3 possibilities:

           

          1. Residence Inn by Marriott​ (free breakfast & full-sized refrigerator, stove, microwave, coffeemaker - 1 client of mine enjoyed his stay here near Patrick Henry Mall)

          2. Towneplace Suites by Marriott (free breakfast; full sized appliances, cookware, dishes)

          3. Element by Marriott (Hampton Peninsula Towne Center only - microwave, silverware, dishes & glasses, pantry, kitchenette, basic rooms have mini-fridge but studios and suites have full refrigerators & dishwashers)

          4. Fairfield Inn & Suites (free breakfast, minifridge & microwave)

          5. Springhill Suites (free breakfast, minifridge & microwave)

          6. Marriott Vacation Club - Marriott's Manor Club at Ford's Colony in Williamsburg only, which my wife & I have enjoyed (we have tried the villa & the guest room), offers good amenities for extended stay if opting for the 1 bedroom or 2 bedroom villa (the guest room that is not a villa doesn't offer a full kitchen, but still offers a microwave & minifridge)

          7. Marriotts with Concierge Levels if you have free access via status or think an upcharge for it would be worthwhile. Examples include Newport News Marriott at City Center, Sheraton Norfolk Waterside

        2. Choice

          1. Comfort Suites​ (free breakfast & includes sofa bed, microwave, & refrigerator). 

        3. IHG

          1. Candlewood Suites​ (paid breakfast available; offer fridge, stovetop, microwave, & dishwasher)

          2. Staybridge Suites (free breakfast; offer cooktop stove, microwave, full refrigerator and dishwasher )

        4. Hilton

          1. Homewood Suites​ (Free breakfast - Williamsburg, Greenbrier, & near ORF (Norfolk/Virginia Beach))

          2. Hiltons with a Club lounge if you have free access or would prefer to pay extra for it like Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, Hilton Norfolk the Main, etc.

        5. Hyatt (Hyatt House in Virginia Beach is ideal among Hyatts if you are looking to be in VB due to the kitchennette)

        6. Other

    3. Additional options

  4. Rooms for rent:​ If exploring this option, which tends to be the cheapest for the highest quality (i.e., a $40 hotel room may have terrible ratings whereas a $40 Airbnb room for rent within a mile of the hotel may have excellent ratings), it is especially important to look at the ratings & reviews of a place prior to performing a booking. Typically landlords will have rules so it is important to know them prior to booking. It is also important to keep in mind that the landlords may be more selective than hotels about who they allow to stay at their home.

    1. See Airbnb under 9.

    2.  http://norfolk.craigslist.org/ - go to housing, rooms for rent & shares available. Be sure to search by radius from your work's zipcode if you want to be close to work. The availability feature was not working for me here, so if an error pops up when you search in part by availability, take that off the search by having it say "all dates".  If you're looking to bring a pet or want a furnished room, Craigslist also has options where you can narrow down by those and other criteria. Watch out for scams on Craigslist and similar sites through these instructions.  

  5. If exploring http://www.brickunderground.com/blog/2011/11/find_a_roommate_online_12_websites_that_do_the_heavy_lifting_for_you

  6. http://www.easyroommate.com/

  7. http://www.padmapper.com/

  8. Dorm Rooms:  These are some of the most overlooked options in housing for those that are not students. Availability is highest in the Summer. ODU locally offers housing to non-students, as someone I was helping that was looking for Summer housing in Norfolk discovered. https://thepointsguy.com/guide/book-dorm-room-familys-travel/?navtid=Latest-2 I wouldn't be surprised at all if other universities offered housing to non-students. It would be best to start your search in this department by targeting the biggest universities nearest to your work. 

  9. Multiple options (house, condo, or room):

    1. https://www.airbnb.com  Like craigslist, it’s a decent option if you’re looking for the cheapest possibility and are all right with higher risks. Unlike Craigslist, AirBnB includes reviews, substantially reducing your risks for those with many reviews. Airbnb is my highest recommended option for a short term rental if you are choosing someone with lots of great reviews because it can be so much more cost-effective than other places with worse reviews and worse locations. Sometimes you have rooms for rent and sometimes you have the whole place to yourself. Sometimes longer stays can have lower rates than a few nights. Because of how AirBnB works, sometimes good locations will go for very cheap in order for a landlord to get initial reviews. That said, the nature of Airbnb puts some people off, since you are going through individuals with more limited protections than a typical hotel or property management company, and some (like my wife) would prefer to not use Airbnb at all for a stay. Here are some safety tips directly from Airbnb.

    2.  http://norfolk.craigslist.org/ - While not as great as Airbnb, with no reviews, it can be a cheap option when considering temporary housing.

    3. Additional Options, (see sections 2-4 on the page) geared toward those who are unable to afford most options above or who are trying to be especially frugal or adventurous. It includes subsidized rent, camping, shelters, unconventional options, & otherwise. 

 

 

IV. When looking through options, be sure to check the crime of the area. To see that and a few other things to help you determine the suitability of an area, look here.

 

V. Determine how your temporary housing is going to be furnished, whether by the landlord or you. Here are some options. You may have too much furniture or other items to be able to fit in your temporary housing location in light of temporary housing usually having a higher cost than comparable annual rental housing if you are running on a tighter budget.

 

VI. Consider self-storage if your temporary housing situation isn't sufficient to store all of your belongings. I recommend American Classic, who have a number of locations, excellent service, and do price matching if you find anyone with better prices. Whenever considering temporary housing, it's important when comparing temporary housing to factor in the additional cost of storage if your living situation will not afford the ability to store all of your items there. It's also important to factor into the equation extra time & any moving costs with moving potentially twice.