It’s a great opportunity – but you have to stay in another city for 3 months
You’ve just been seconded to head office to help spearhead a big project. It’s going to transform your career, but there’s one hitch: You have to move across country for 3 months so you can be on-site with the rest of the team. Getting an apartment isn’t an option (and why would you move all your stuff for just 3 months?) and staying in a cramped hotel room for the next 12 weeks seems like a recipe for cabin fever.
Corporate housing – also known as ‘executive suites’ or ‘furnished accommodation’ – is probably your best bet. But how do you choose the right one, especially if you have to do it online and won’t be able to check out any suites in person before you arrive in town?
6 tips for finding the perfect short-term home:
- Ask around. Referrals are one of the best ways to find a great place to stay, because people who’ve been through the process can give you more detailed, relevant information (“I know you love eating out – this place is within walking distance to all kinds of great restaurants…”) – and will be honest if a particular place didn’t deliver a good experience.
- Talk to your HR or accounting department. Chances are, they’ve arranged short-term accommodations for other employees in the past, and they can steer you in the right direction.
- What features are most important to you? Do you like to be able to walk to work, shopping and entertainment, or do you need parking? Are you passionate about working out and would appreciate a fitness center in the building? Do you need a large area to set up a home office? The more you know about what you’re looking for, the easier it’ll be to make a shortlist of possibilities.
- Spend some quality time with Google (and Google Maps). Give yourself some time to Google ‘furnished apartments’ or ‘corporate housing’ in the neighbourhood you’d most like to live. The more you know about what’s on the market, the better equipped you’ll be to make a decision you can live with for 2 months.
- Make sure you see all the photos – and a floor plan. Photographs – especially small ones online – can be deceiving. What looks like a huge, light-filled living room in one photo angle can turn out to be a poky, privacy-free closet when seen in person. (Plus, the more photos a company provides, the more likely it is they haven’t got anything to hide about their properties.)
- Talk to a real person. It can be tempting, when you’re busy and just want to get things done, to book a suite online without talking to anyone. That’s fine for a night or two in hotel – where it doesn’t matter that much if the room turns out to be terrible – but it’s more dangerous when choosing a place to stay for an extended period. Even a 10-minute phone call will give you a good idea of what you can expect in terms of reliability and service when you’re actually in your new, temporary, home.
BONUS TIP: When you do make your arrangements, don’t forget to get all the details in writing.
Getting to know a whole new city in a sort of risk-free way – after all, you’ve got a job and the company is probably picking up some or all of the cost of wherever you stay – can be a great adventure. It’s even better when you have a nice place to come home to at the end of the day.