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What To Do Between Buying And Selling Your Home

Zina Kumock5-Minute Read
May 12, 2020

There's a lot to remember when you're buying a home, so it's easy to let things fall through the cracks.

Did you sign the documents your real estate agent sent over? Have you talked to the sellers about which appliances they’re planning to leave? Have you signed all the utilities over to your name? Do you actually have somewhere to stay while you're in between houses?

People tend to forget about that last question, leaving them scrambling to find last-minute accommodations. That usually means a pricey hotel stay or an awkward month with the in-laws, squeezing into their tiny guest room and taking turns to use the bathroom.

But with a little forethought, you can be completely comfortable while you wait to take possession of your new home – and it doesn’t have to cost very much if you play your cards right.

Here are some of the best options to consider when you’re in between houses.

Rent Your Old House Back

Before the official closing date on the house, ask the buyers if they’d be willing to rent your old house back to you for a certain length of time. They may be willing to do this if they’re still under a lease or haven’t sold their own house yet.

You should both be willing to sign a lease that states how long you can stay, what the rent will be and who will pay for utilities. Decide if you’ll still be responsible for maintenance or if the new owners will have to mow the lawn and handle routine repairs.

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Utilize Your Network

Social media has a way of connecting people with problems to people with solutions. Create a Facebook post sharing what you’re looking for and ask others to share it with their followers.

You may discover a friend with a vacation house they rent out or a former coworker with a vacant rental property. If renting your old house back doesn’t work, this should be your next strategy. The people you know may be more flexible, and more willing to work with your schedule and budget.

You should still offer to pay the market rate to whomever you’re renting from. Your friend shouldn’t lose money just by doing you a favor, and you don’t want to lose a friend just because you asked too much.

Don’t forget to ask your real estate agent for advice, as they’ve probably dealt with this problem before. They may know someone or have a solution that has worked for previous clients. When you post on social media asking for suggestions, tag your real estate agent so they can share the post as well.

Look For Short-Term Housing

If you need a place for more than a month or two, your best option is to look for short-term or month-to-month housing. This will usually be cheaper than renting from Airbnb and more comfortable than an extended-stay hotel.

Weekly Apartment Rentals

Look on traditional rental sites like Trulia, Craigslist and Apartments.com. When you see a place you like, contact the landlord and ask if they would be willing to offer a short-term lease. You may have to pay a bigger security deposit or higher monthly rent.

This strategy works best if you’re not in a competitive rental market. If landlords in your area are struggling to fill their apartments, you’ll probably have a better chance of being accepted.

You can also search for sublets on Craigslist which may be more receptive to short-term stays. Apartments.com also lets you search by short-term rentals so you know the landlord accepts short leases. If you’re OK having a roommate, you can also look on Sublet.com where you may find entire homes or rooms for rent.

Rent A Vacation Home

The easiest solution when you’re in between houses is to find a short-term rental on a site like Airbnb, VRBO or HomeAway. Many of these owners are happy to rent for extended periods of time and often willing to offer a slight discount, usually between 10 – 15%.

This is a practical option if your furniture is already in storage and you need a furnished space. Plus, these homes are often in residential areas – much better if you have kids or a dog that needs a daily walk.

Book An Extended-Stay Hotel

Extended-stay hotels are an ideal scenario if you’re single or don’t have kids. The space will usually be much smaller than an apartment or house, but hotels offer more flexibility than apartments.

Most extended stay hotels have kitchens and a small living area, but make sure the one you choose also has free Wi-Fi and solid reviews. The last thing you want is to spend these days or weeks in a room with paper-thin walls and a train track right outside your window.

Look Into Corporate-Style Housing

Homeowners looking for more space or luxurious amenities should look into corporate-style housing. These spaces are usually furnished apartments where people stay while they’re on long-term business trips.

These can be more expensive than short-term rentals, but may offer a greater range in how long you can stay. If money isn’t as much of a concern, then this is a great option.

Ask About College Housing

When you think of college housing, you probably imagine cramped dorm rooms with loft-style beds. But some colleges have apartment-style housing suitable for adults, often used by grad students.

If you live near a university, contact their housing department and ask if there are options available to the public. These may only be available during the summer. Campus housing units may already be furnished, in which case you won’t have to haul a bedroom set across campus.

When you inquire about college housing, ask about rates for parking and a meal plan. Utilizing a college meal plan will be more expensive than buying groceries, so account for this in your budget.

What To Do With Your Things Before The Move

If you’re planning on staying at a hotel or Airbnb, you’ll have to find a place to put all your stuff.

Rent A Weekly Storage Unit

A weekly storage unit is one of your best options. These are easy to sign up for, and you can do a month-to-month contract. Make sure to read reviews beforehand so you don’t end up with one that has a history of flooding.

It’s also good to compare costs and try to price match when you can. You should also find a storage unit close to where you’re staying. That way, in case you forget an important box, it won’t be a huge hassle to run and get it.

Make sure to factor in all the costs of renting a weekly storage unit. Some may charge more if you rent it on a weekly basis, but you can try to negotiate beforehand.

Ask A Friend Or Family Member

If you’re trying to cut costs, ask around if people you know have room in a spare bedroom, basement or attic. You never know who has an extra room that can fit your bedroom set. If someone lets you use their space, try to pay them back with a gift card to their favorite restaurant.

Rent Someone Else’s Space

Look at sites like Neighbor.com to see if renting a basement or garage from a stranger might be a better fit than a storage unit. Prices may be lower than the cost of a storage unit, and you may get lucky and find a house near you.

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Zina Kumock

Zina Kumok is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. A Certified Financial Health Counselor and Student Loan Counselor, she also works as a money coach helping people one-on-one at Conscious Coins. She has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth and Time. She paid off $28,000 worth of student loans in three years.