You’ve arrived in Killeen, have a week off to spend house hunting, and after researching, realize that you would be better off buying a home than renting. You find a great agent (cough cough!) who takes you around on the weekend and helps you find a great home that meets your needs. You make a competitive offer and get it under contract for a great deal! Fantastic! Now you can’t wait to close and move in!
2 months from now….
Where are you going to stay in the meantime? You can’t stay 2 months in a hotel. And you can’t find a rental lease for fewer than 12 months! Whatchya gonna do?
My wife and I were almost in this predicament when we arrived in town ready to buy and move in, only to find our closing delayed a week. We had the U-Haul ready to unload, two cats, and everything. To top it off, my wife was ill with a two-month-old. We were at the Shiloh Inn only about 10 days with the full U-Haul sat in the parking lot, but would have been in a pickle had the delay been any longer.
I’ve worked with more than one buyer in this situation who have asked about where they can find a short term rental.
Another word for short term rentals is a corporate rental. Corporate rentals are much more common in urban areas where businessmen may be required to make extended stays for project. There are property managers and real estate companies that work exclusively with corporate rentals, and it is an expanding and lucrative real estate niche.
What to Expect
Short term rentals often come completely furnished, so that you can keep your belongings in storage until you’ve locked down your new home (or until you finish your business trip). Usually they will expect a lease duration of at least a month. They also will likely be anywhere from 1.5x to 2x the rent of a comparable, traditional rental home ($1800 and up a month in the Fort Hood area). While expensive, it is still probably cheaper than a hotel, and a better quality of life for the duration of your transitory period. Short term rentals also are likely to be multi-family units like a duplex or apartment unit. Most will include basic maintenance like lawn services, and the higher end corporate rentals may even include maid services, laundry, or even a chauffer.
Military members coming to the Fort Hood area are typically allowed 10 days permissive TDY and reimbursed hotel costs, after which they are coming out of pocket for their housing. That is not enough time to finish the option period, let alone close a home. Especially since the new mortgage rules took effect in October, financed buyers can expect about two months between contract and move-in. Most quality traditional rentals are looking for a 12 month lease. What is a would-be homebuyer to do?
The cost of a short term rental and the relief that it provides may very well be worth it versus the alternative hotel or living with friends and family.
The short term rental may not be ideal for everyone, and there are some alternatives to keep in mind and talk to your agent about. One is the Buyer’s Temporary Lease, if you have some cash for rent and deposit in advance and are lucky to be working with a very charitable seller (many agents advise their sellers to never do a buyer’s lease). Another option is finding a for-rent-by-owner on Craigslist or similar site who is willing to consider a month-to-month arrangement.
The high rent of a corporate rental is fairly attractive – TWICE the market rent. The downside is the extremely high turnover – several renters any given year – and consequent vacancy and maintenance costs, as well as the costs to keep the home furnished. But there is a lot of opportunity for the savvy investor, and empirically it seems to me personally that there is a shortage of these resources and awareness in our area.
Fort Hood Area
If you are looking for short term / corporate rentals in the Killeen area, I might recommend checking into Browns Temporary Apartments. I have not personally used their service, but do have friends and colleagues who have and came away with good experiences.
Any experience with corporate rentals? Horror stories from when you could’ve made good use of one? Please share below!