A resource I wish would have been available to me beginning as a therapist is “Rate My Therapy Company” Facebook group. This community was created to make it easier for therapists to learn about companies before applying. This group allows therapists to rate companies and provide valuable information on factors such as pay, productivity, and company culture.
Written by Yonas Tekeste 3/8/22
The most stressful part about starting a new travel contract as a healthcare worker is finding housing. As a new traveler, I would freak out wondering where I would sleep at night, but now I am used to not knowing where I will live from time to time. Today I’m here to share my proven tips to help you find affordable housing with less than three days to spare. There’s no denying that being in this situation can be stressful, but when you apply these tips, you’ll find your success rate for securing housing is much improved.
One thing to keep in mind is that historically, higher-paying jobs are in higher cost of living areas. However, when you apply the tips I share below, you’ll also have a chance of finding lower-cost housing while taking a higher-paying contract. If you really don’t care about saving money or need help in a rush, you can have your travel agency find housing for you. They’ll use your housing stipend and take some of the hard work out of finding accommodation.
How to Improve Your Chances of Finding Affordable Housing
Flexibility is the key to finding affordable housing. I recommend renting a room instead of a personal unit and searching for housing on multiple outlets. Try to consider low-maintenance housing options and avoid being too picky during your search. As a healthcare worker, I recommend you always travel alone and without pets to have the highest chance of securing an affordable accommodation.
When you begin your search, you’ll need to be responsive to landlords. In some cities, accommodation gets snapped up almost immediately. However, when you do get into a conversation with a landlord, don’t be afraid to negotiate. They often put their prices higher than they would accept, so they might be willing to lower them to within your budget.
Where to Find Housing as a Healthcare Worker
Thanks to the internet, finding housing as a healthcare worker is now easier than ever. I recommend using sites such as Craigslist, Airbnb, Vrbo, Health Care Travels, Furnished finders, and Nursesbnb to begin with. Facebook is also one of my favorite resources, and I recommend joining groups including Travel Nurse Housing and Furnished Finders. You can also check out local university Facebook groups or even reach out to churches for more options.
If you’ve exhausted all of the online resources, consider asking your facility for local recommendations. They likely know where past workers have stayed and may be happy to pass those details on to you. You could also reach out to extended-stay motels and hotels. The more places you look for housing, the much more likely you’ll be to find success in just a few days.
If you struggle to find housing, I recommend booking an Airbnb or hotel and finding housing once you arrive at the contract. You can then see accommodation options in person so that you know what you are getting yourself into.
How to Prevent a Housing Scam
Sadly, healthcare workers are constantly falling victim to scams when it comes to finding housing. When traveling across the country to somewhere you are unfamiliar with, this can be quite a daunting experience. I remember the fear I felt driving from IL to CA for a contract, but fortunately, it all worked out in the end. There are plenty of scammers out there, so always check reviews and do your due diligence before parting with any money.
When renting from a landlord, ask to have a videocall to verify they match the pictures on the website. It is a great way to have a video tour and scope out the vibe the landlord gives off. If they look shady then it probably is. Think of it as a job interview. This is particularly important for Craigslist, as most illegitimate housing scams will refuse to take that call. Try to search for the landlord on Google or social media, and if nothing appears, this is a huge red flag. Don’t part with any money or pay a deposit before arriving at the place unless you are using a legitimate site that offers some form of protection. You can never be too careful. I recommend opting for a month-to-month contract where possible, and you’ll find that most landlords will be open to this arrangement.
You can search for housing on multiple platforms however I have found great gems when I post an advertisement of myself on craiglist or facebook where the landlord reaches out to me. I have to filter out more scams this way but it can be a quicker way to find options as you get more inquiries this way.
A Template for a Housing Ad
This is a template of a housing ad I recently used to find housing in San Francisco at an “affordable rate” with stunning views.
“Looking to rent a furnished room in San Francisco
I am a 29 yo single Doctor of physical therapy who is clean, laid back, outgoing, and respectful. I do not have pets. I work M-F and am not home most of the time. My contract is 3 months long but has the flexibility to increase.
Budget is under 1200, but I can be flexible for the right place.
Must have easy parking, near a highway, and offer the flexibility to bring a guest over occasionally. Preferably not too loud at night and should have laundry. Please message me if you have any leads.”
Use your title appropriately when asking for a job. If you are a doctor use that title! I also post a photo of me smiling in my scrubs. Healthcare workers go through rigorous background checks and on average they are amazing tenants. Landlords would rather rent out to healthcare workers than a random person.
Ask people to message you to save time on these sites, and you should find that you receive dozens of messages within just a few hours or days.