Independently owned corporate housing options are as unique as the people who own and manage them. From the basic offerings to higher end finishes to a more diverse location, with managed corporate housing you’ll find a property that is tailored made for your needs.
So, what should you look for when searching for a corporate rental? That depends on what is important to you in your stay, but here are five elements you should evaluate a property for:
– Does the property offer the lease terms and availability you require? Check the dates that the corporate rental is available to determine if its availability corresponds with your lease start time, length of stay and lease end date. Also, if you need more flexibility, like an open departure date, is the landlord flexible with the availability schedule to allow you to extend and end your stay as necessary?
– Does the asking rent fall within your budget? Whether your company is paying for your stay, or rent is coming out of your own pocket, everybody has a budget to stick to. However, posted prices may be flexible depending on the lease terms, length of stay, etc. So don’t eliminate the property without finding out if the landlord is flexible with the rate.
– Does the property offer the amenities and conveniences you are looking for? If security is important, you’ll want to be sure the property has controlled access. And if you’ll have two vehicles with you, does the community accommodate (or even charge for) that extra parking spot. Make a list of the little things in your life that you must have and cross-reference it with the property’s attributes.
– Does the property’s location match your needs? Location should be at the top of your check list. Making sure that a property is located in close proximity to your work, grocery stores, restaurants and, overall, with a setting that you feel comfortable in.
– Does the property size fit your requirements? If you are bringing the family with you or expecting visitors during your stay, you’ll not only want to be sure the property features enough bedrooms or sleeping space for its occupants, but also you’ll want to make sure that guests are okay with your landlord. The same goes for pets. If you’re bringing your cat or dog along for the stay, you’ll need to discuss whether this is permitted with the landlord and if there are extra fees involved as well.
All Corporate Housing Rentals or Corporate Housing Companies are NOT created equal.
When you are a renter you need to know not all corporate housing companies are the same, it is of the utmost importance to ask as many questions as you can think of each and every time. The experienced and quality property owners and managers will be able to address all your questions and concerns with ease.
Rates. What does the monthly rate include? Are there discounts for longer leases? Are there additional fees?
Location. Is there a local office or on-site contact should I require assistance? If there is not a local contact ask how they handle client requests and property issues.
Services. What additional services are provided? For example, is there 24-hour maintenance service or other amenities that will make the stay pleasant?
Accreditation. Is the company a Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA) member? CHPA is the trade organization for the corporate housing industry and requires specific levels of professionalism, excellence, customer service, and ethical standards. Ask whether the leasing agents are Certified Corporate Housing Professionals (CCHP). The CCHP certification means that the corporate housing professional has met clear industry standards. These accreditations will enable a relocation manager to distinguish a quality corporate housing agent from the pack.
Experience. What percentage of the corporate housing company’s business is involved in corporate relocations? Finding an experienced provider can be a bonus in this changing marketplace.
Protection. How are the company and its vendors insured? This is especially important to find out when working with management companies that manage properties offered by individual homeowners.
Policies. What is the company’s policy when a guest does not like the property? Does it have other options available to accommodate that guest?
When you are a renter you need to know not all corporate housing rentals are the same, it is of the utmost importance to ask as many questions as you can think of each and every time
Read Reviews: Read every review for a rental very carefully. In our experience, prior tenants are the best possible indicators of what you’re going to find when you and your luggage show up. They will generally give you decent indication of how it will be to live in a place.
Check the Area: Use Google Earth to look at your rental before you commit. The kennel next door or the lively pub downstairs might be bearable for a few days, but after a month, daily annoyances can become infuriating.
Study The Photos: Does the sofa look comfortable in addition to looking fashionable. In the kitchen can you see a stove, microwave and other items you expect especially in international rentals. Use the photos to ask more questions to confirm the details in the property will be what you expect.
Understand Parking & Transportation: If the rental listing does not specific exactly how far public transportation is from the rental, ask before you make the deal. Better yet, get an address for the rental, and you can let Google Maps do the investigation for you. You can actually have a look at the neighborhood and the building before you commit.
Research More: Take no prisoners on this issue if you depend on the Internet. When you begin to negotiate with an owner or representative, ask about Internet strength and let them know that this is a potential deal breaker. If you expect a strong, consistent broad band connection which will allow you to use Skype and stream entertainment without a hassle, tell them so right up front! In several cases during our home free life, we have been forced to make major demands once we have landed and discovered that we didn’t have a decent connection.
Corporate housing has come a long way in the past four decades and continues to evolve into a popular lodging solution for travelers of all walks of life. Change tends to breed misconceptions, so it has never been more important for renters to stay apprised and knowledgeable about the corporate housing industry. And even though the corporate housing industry has and likely will continue to change, you can count on one thing staying the same: corporate housing always has and will continue to provide short-term furnished housing to individuals and business executives who need a place to call home, even if only for a short while.
Managed Corporate Housing = AvenueWest
By Owner = CHBO
Corporate Housing Providers Association = CHPA
A recent article posted at NBCNews.com Business uses Zillow’s Break Even Horizon to determine the top 10 cities where renting is more economically sound than buying and how long it takes on average to break even if purchasing a home. This figure is calculated based on the net cost of purchasing a home vs. renting the same house. Here are the top 10 cities renting costs less than buying:
New York City, NY. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 5 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,016; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 19.4%
Renting an apartment in the city would save more money than purchasing a home unless you were going to be living in NYC for more than 5 years. The average home price is $462,500. A 20% down payment is going to be $93,000 for a home this much and with the current rate of 3.277% and a 30 year fixed mortgage, you are looking at a monthly mortgage payment of $2,145 which is higher than the current rental index.
Seattle, WA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 4.3 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,850; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 4.7%
Waterfront property in Seattle averages about $392,200 as of December 2012.
Boston, MA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.9 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,299; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 11.3%
Based on 25 new single family homes for sale in Boston, MA, the average home costs $727,200. A 20% down payment is $145,000 with a 3.277% interest rate, your monthly mortgage payment would be $3,334. Renting in Boston on average would be a monthly savings of $1,035.
Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, CA tied for 4th for the amount of years it would take to break even if purchasing a home.
Washington, D.C. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.7 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,439; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 7%
There has been an increase in new home development in the D.C. area. As of December last year, the average home cost $402,400 which is up by 10%.
San Francisco, CA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.9 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $3,281; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 12%
San Fran has seen an 18% increase in home sale prices year after year! Currently, the average home costs $770,600. A 20% down payment of $154,000 with the current interest rate of 3.277% would be a $3,529 monthly payment. By renting, you would save on average of $248 a month.
Portland, OR. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.6 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,423; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index:
Portland has the most bike commuters in the U.S. Last year, 21.49% of homes sold were sold at a loss, but the average value of homes has risen 8.8% ($257,400).
San Diego, CA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.4 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,116; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 2.9%
The average San Diego home value is up 11% making the average home $404,100.
Los Angeles, CA and San Jose, CA tied for 7th place based upon the number of years it would take to break even after purchasing a home in either location.
Los Angeles, CA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.3 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,311; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 2.3%
Los Angeles has a very high unemployment rate and the home rates dropped about 35% which actually makes L.A. more affordable for home owners. The average home costs $399,800 which was up by 9.7% as of December 2012. If you put down a 20% payment of $80,000 with the 3.277 interest rate with a fixed 30 year mortgage, your monthly payment is going to be $1,863.
San Jose, CA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.3 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,513; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 4.5%
San Jose, CA has a lot more people interested in purchasing homes since the average annual income is $92,500. San Jose has a very high employment rate with over 6,000 technology companies. The average home in San Jose is $544,600 so if you put down 20% ($109,000) + 3.277% + 30 years = $2,514 monthly mortgage payment which is $1 higher per month than the current rental index!
Denver, CO. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 2.8 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,468; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 9.3%
As of December 2012, Denver’s average home value was up by 14.1% with the average home costing $233,700.
Austin, TX. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 2.7 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,516; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 6.2%
At the end of last year, Austin had an overall home value increase of 4.7% = $209,900.
Nashville, TN. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 2.6 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,190; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 3.8%
The average home cost is now $140,000, which is up by 6%.
Most of the cities listed above experienced an overall increase last year in their median home values which is great news overall for the market!
Let’s face it, travel in general is filled with stress but business travelers experience these much more frequently. A recent poll from TripIt determined the top 5 most common stresses associated with travel:
- Exercise. 67% of frequent travelers said that the pressure to exercise was stressful – 17% of these responders found it to be extremely stressful.
- Healthy Eating. 66% of responders found eating healthy to be a challenge and added to the overall stress of traveling – 19% said it was extremely stressful.
- To do list upon return. 64% found the pressure of tasks needing to be done when they returned home to be a significant source of stress while traveling.
- Airport Security. Of the people that were polled, 59% found airport security to be very stressful.
- Driving in a new city. The lowest on the top 5 travel stresses is driving in a new city. 54% of respondents found this to be very stressful when they travel.
Since exercise and healthy eating are the two highest stresses for frequent business travelers, here is a list of suggestions that TripIt recommended to help alleviate some of your stress:
Bring healthy, portable snacks with you so you won’t be as temped to buy un-healthy snacks when the hunger sets in. Bring along some almonds or a banana to help tie you over between meals.
Instead of ordering a large dinner, choose a small plate or an appetizer for dinner instead. If you opt for a salad, keep in mind that the dressing has a ton of fat and calories so it’s best kept on the side. Salad is not always the healthiest choice on the menu either so be smart when choosing.
Instead of using escalators or moving sidewalks, try taking the stairs or walk to keep you moving.
Track how many steps you are taking with a pedometer or an app on your phone.
- Ask for a map of the local area with running/walking trails or nearby parks.
- Do crunches, pushups, jumping jacks, chair dips, stretching, and any other activity that doesn’t require any equipment in your room.
It is a stressful world we live in and the constant traveling makes life that much more hectic. Hopefully these tips from TripIt will make your future business trips less stressful, more active, and healthier. 🙂
Safe travels everyone!
Many of us have a 9-5 job or jobs in the service industry where we don’t have a lot of time to go on long, lavish vacations. A recent blog post by Nomadic Matt titled “How Can You Travel More Even if You Work a 9-5 Job” sheds some light on how you can use your time off most effectively while still being able to travel – even with a limited amount.
Most American’s have 2 weeks vacation per year plus the weekends = 110 travel days. Most of us also get holidays off and have some three day weekends here and there which gives us even more time to travel each year. Sure, it isn’t consecutive time but you could take a long vacation by using your 2 weeks in a row. Here are some tips on how you can maximize your time to travel a lot more this year:
Weekends. Sure the weekends only offer 2 full days (unless it’s a 3 day weekend) but that is plenty of time to explore a city close to you.
Find a location that is closer to you. If you are in America then traveling to Australia for only one week would be a waste since your travel time takes up almost 3 days! Instead, take a trip to Central America which is closer. Generally the closer the destination, the cheaper the flight is going to be too.
Be a tourist in your own city. Take time to explore the city you currently live in. Go to the museums, tourist attractions, new areas you have never been, etc. Being a tourist in your own city will give you new insight on where you live.
- Don’t try to see it all at once. Instead of trying to see everything in a short amount of time, focus on a couple attractions and destinations that you want to go see. This way, you will be less overwhelmed and will have more time to enjoy the place you are visiting.
Next time you feel like getting away, remember these 4 tips that will make your experience more fun in less time. As the famous Roy Rogers croons, “Happy trails to you, until we meet again. Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then.”