When it comes to short term, furnished housing you might hear a lot of arbitrary numbers thrown about in terms of rent. You will often hear you can make $300-500 more per month renting to a short term tenant in a furnished place than opting for long term tenants. But this estimation doesn’t give you all the information you need to price your short term rental.
There is not one tried and true formula for pricing a furnished rental, but there are several ways you can research your property’s market, and a few considerations to take into account when deciding on a dollar amount.
Research Your Market
The number one way to figure out what you can realistically charge for your short term rental is to research the cost of similar rentals where your property is located.
Start by searching your location on our Housing Map. Don’t worry about putting in a budget since you will want to know the range of all the available properties in your area. From there, you can go filter details that you feel match your property, or simply scroll around the interactive map interface to get an idea of the pricing in your neighborhood.
If you want a more numbers-based approach, another great tool is the Travel Nurse Housing Stats calculator. Once again, you will input your city and state and generate a report. For some, this might be preferable because it gives you straightforward tables and charts to help you compare pricing.
Perhaps the most useful part of this report is the pie chart that details price ranges in the area and the percentage of rentals that fall within these ranges. This is separated into whole place versus single room pricing, and gives you a range for where to get started if you want to be competitive.
The last tool I like to point out to potential landlords is the Stipend Calculator. This report is actually meant to help travel nurses know what to ask for in their pay packages, but it has some great insight for landlords as well. Keep in mind that travelers often have strict stipends they are trying to adhere to, so what you think they should pay and what they can actually pay may be two very different numbers.
The Stipend Calculator is nice because it not only gives you the pie chart with listing price ranges, but it also gives you some insight on what amenities are typical for the area. This can help you make your space more competitive by offering amenities that may not be very plentiful in your particular area.
Determine Your Monthly Cost
Possibly one of the worst financial mistakes you can make is to overpay or overextend yourself on setting up a furnished rental that cannot realistically make your money back each month. Yes, travel nurses get housing stipends, but they are not usually able to afford “luxury” or “vacation” prices.
When renting a unit separate from your home, this piece can be a little more critical. As a general rule in some areas, you can calculate monthly rent for a property based on 1% of the total cost of the property. For a furnished, short-term lease you can expect to make an extra $300-500 per month on top of this.
If you are purchasing new furnishings for the home, try to keep it basic and simple. The space needs to look relatively modern and fresh, but it doesn’t need designer couches or expensive silverware. Some landlords will choose to use a 0% credit card or store financing to purchase these items and figure that cost into their monthly expenses, but you might consider trying to pay cash up front if you can. This will help eliminate the stress of needing to make additional income each month to cover your financing payments.
Learn About Travel Nurse Pay
There is a myth that tends to circulate every so often that travel nurses are raking in huge amounts of money each month and attempting to profit off of their excess stipend. Or, landlords assume that travel nurses make a generous wage on top of their housing stipend, so there is no reason why they can’t afford a premium price for housing.
The reality is that most travel nurse packages will range from $1600-$2200 a week after taxes depending on the location. Southern states can dip as low as $1300 per week, and areas like San Francisco or Los Angeles can see slightly higher rates to reflect cost of living. The rates will also vary based on specialty and season, with rates increasing slightly in the cooler months to reflect flu season.
Another thing to note is a travel nurse gets paid in what is called a “blended rate” format. Their pay package is typically broken down into two categories: taxed pay and untaxed pay. Their taxable rate is usually somewhere between $20-30 per hour, which is lower than the average RN pay at regular jobs. This is to help maximize the take-home pay a traveler makes. If the agency were to give a higher hourly wage and leave what’s left for housing, travel nurses would typically not make enough to cover their full expenses. Unfortunately hospitals just aren’t willing to pay higher rates, and tax laws for traveling professionals have gotten more stringent over the years.
One other important piece of the travel nurse pay package is their tax home. Even though travel nurses are rarely at home for extended periods of time, in order to receive tax free housing money they have to maintain a “home” somewhere outside of the area where they are traveling. For some this means splitting rent with a roommate or family member, but a lot of travelers keep their mortgage back home while they travel, especially if they only plan to travel in the short term. This means their pay packages have to cover not only their expenses on assignment, but any expenses that come with maintaining their space back home.
This is not to say that travel nurses do not make a generous living. It is just helpful for landlords to truly understand what a travel nurse can typically afford when figuring out how to price their short term rental. For a more in depth breakdown of travel nurse pay, check out our article here.
Compare Your Amenities
Last but not least, compare the little details your property has to the amenities of similar properties.
Extras like private or covered parking, washer and dryer, and premium location can go a long ways to help boost the price of your rental. For example, a nurse might be willing to pay more if your property is across the street from the beach or within walking distance to their job. In house laundry is also a huge selling point, because most travel nurses only bring enough scrubs for a few shifts at a time since they have to travel light.
Also, allowing pets can help you increase the price a slight amount. Travel nurses who bring pets along usually anticipate a slightly higher rent price, sometimes due to extra cleaning fees or deposits. Being pet-friendly does cause slightly more wear and tear on your furnishings and property, so charging a slightly higher price for a pet friendly rental may be worth it to some landlords.
On the other hand, certain extras will not be worth your time to invest in. Luxury quality bedding, premium kitchen accessories, and name brand furniture are not important to travel nurses. Do not waste money you have to make back on top-of-the-line embellishments because they will not help boost the price of your rental. Instead, focus on a clean, welcoming look and make sure your pictures reflect that feel when you take them.
Be Open to Feedback
While we plan to cover the topic of etiquette on housing groups in a future blog post, I do know there are great landlords and nurses in our Facebook community that can provide feedback on a space you are considering renting. If you are feeling unsure, feel free to post a couple of pictures, give your location and price, and see what you hear back from the community.
Landlords can help you adjust your price to reflect what they have seen be realistic for your neighborhood, and nurses can give more specific insights as to what they are usually able to afford in your town. Be open and willing to accept their advice and critiques to help boost your ability to sell your space when you list.
Learning the ropes of the travel nurse landlord market can seem overwhelming at times, but just like anything else it gets easier with time. Luckily, once your property is read to go, you will have less headache in the long run by dealing with well-vetted, professional tenants on a regular basis. Know that you will learn as you go, and don’t forget to give yourself some space to adjust your price if needed!