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Temporary Housing: Another "Secret" Short Term Rental Strategy

With just one phone call, we completely shifted our entire strategy and broke into a new, hidden “short-term” rental sector.

Several months ago my husband and I were selling our personal single family home. We had done well living there; using the in-law suite for house hacking for a number of years and felt the time was right to sell and upgrade. We would be making a modest profit, and were looking forward to using the proceeds towards our next investment.

We were approached by a temporary housing company who had seen our other property, a single family home corporate rental. This home is listed on several platforms for furnished corporate housing and also AirBNB and VRBO. The agency was representing an insurance company and they were interested in placing a 6-month tenant at our short term rental. The prospective tenant was forced to move out of their home due to an unfortunate house disaster and they were in dire straits.

Let me back up a bit. We were literally in the process of moving into a new, two-unit property. At this same time, the rental in question was booked and not available to rent. Additionally, we had just moved out of our primary home. In an effort to prepare to list it, we had made a number of improvements, e.g. new flooring, paint, and a minimal master bathroom remodel.

Then we got the call. The temporary housing agent explained the situation and stated that there were no other housing options available within our city. Both parents worked in the town as educators, and their children attended school there as well. The only other housing options were several towns away, which would present a challenge for the family.

We explained to the agent that our rental property was booked and was therefore, not available. Then she hit us with a million-dollar question:

"Do you have any other properties?" …

Insert mind=blown emoji. I am very familiar with this simple question. This is a question that I, myself, have asked MANY motivated sellers in the past. But in this particular situation, it caught me off guard. It took me aback because the “normal” person does not have multiple properties to dole out…. Then the ‘light bulb’ turned on… Wait a minute…. what about our personal home that we’re about to list? I had not considered this before …we had JUST endured a 3 house move in 2 months’ time. That was brutal.

So, I took a moment and very sweetly (and hesitantly) ask my husband if he was willing coordinate another house move….to move the furniture BACK into our primary home so that it could be used for temporary housing. "Absolutely not!" was his emphatic response.

... Until he heard the numbers.

Temporary housing associated with insurance claims was a whole new world and a whole set of numbers!!!

We spoke to the agent and negotiated a price for monthly rent that was 3-4X the market rent for our city…. Plus a generous non-refundable deposit!!! And the agent didn’t even flinch!!!!

Once we agreed to this, we received the FedEx check in the mail within 48 hours.

Then the real work began! We worked three days straight, around the clock in moving furniture back into the home and staging it as quickly as possible.

The family arrived on the fourth day and absolutely loved the place! They had been staying in a hotel and were really looking forward to being in a real home again. Prior to the family moving in, we did our due diligence (a background and credit check).

So far, we have been receiving steady, on time payments directly from the housing agency. Just yesterday they sent a letter to extend for an additional month, as the tenant’s home restoration is still in progress.

I have heard mixed reviews with working with insurance temporary housing. My best recommendation: Do not forego your landlord due diligence process. 

 Personally, we have had a great experience thus far, and no issues to report. The insurance agencies are very well funded and there’s a demand and often low supply for single family homes in many suburban areas. We are now considered a preferred vendor and look forward to serving this client in the future.


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