Woman holding a pair of keys.

What to Do with Your Home While Traveling for Work

Getting ready to travel for work? Some jobs require travel that can last months or years, so you’ll need to figure out what to do with your home while on a long-term business trip. Whether you rent or own, here are some helpful tips for what to do with your home while you’re away for work.

What to Do If You Own a Home

How connected you feel to your current home and how long your upcoming business trip is can determine the best route when it comes to what you should do with your house. Below are some options to keep in mind when deciding if you should keep or sell your place.

Rent Your Home

White house with red for rent sign in front. Photo by Instagram user @jennifersusanmaddanlenrealtor
Photo via @jennifersusanmaddalenrealtor

If you decide to return at the end of your business trip, your best option may be to make your house a rental home. Post your home on short-term housing websites such as AirbnbHomeAway, and Short Term Housing. Be very specific about the dates you’ll be gone, list your desired rent, and post clear photos of your home. Once you’ve identified a prospective renter, do your research to make sure you can rely on them.

  • Can they afford rent? Run a credit check, and confirm the potential renter is employed. Ask the renter for additional business and professional references.
  • Are they trustworthy? Use services like StarPoint or ScreeningWorks to run a background check and uncover potential criminal history, legal battles, or evictions.
  • Will they respect your home? Contact previous landlords or apartment managers to learn if they had property damages, paid rent on time, or were disruptive to neighbors.
  • Do they have pets? Pets may bring your renter happiness, but they can also cause long-term damage to your home. Determine if you’ll allow pets, and if so, which kinds.
  • Do they pass your personal test? Meet with and interview the candidate personally. If you don’t feel completely comfortable opening your home to them, don’t sign off on any deal.

When you find someone you feel secure renting your property to, sign a contract that clearly outlines rent, what responsibilities the renter is responsible for, and what consequences there will be if either side violates the contract. Work with a legal professional to ensure everything is in order.

Sell Your Home

Red brick house with white open house sign in front yard. Photo by Instagram use @signpostdepotpics
Photo via @signpostdepotpics

If you don’t plan to return to the city you’re leaving, or you’d prefer to find a new home when you return, consider selling your home. It will be more difficult to negotiate a deal after you’ve left on your trip, so you’ll most likely need to sell your home fast. To do that, make sure you hire the right real estate agent for your needs and equip them with all the necessary information.

When selling your home, your departure date and sale likely aren’t going to match up perfectly. Have a plan in place in case your home:

  • Sells early. Where will you live? Do you have friends or family in the area you can stay with? Are there temporary housing options in your new location?
  • Doesn’t sell in your desired timeline. Can you delay your departure date? How many months can you afford to pay for two homes? Do you have an in-town representative you trust to work closely with the real estate agent and interested buyers?
FIND YOUR STORE

What to Do If You Rent a Home

If you’re renting, you can either sublease your apartment to make back a portion of your rent or break the lease—just be sure you check with your rental agreement and your state’s laws regarding subleasing beforehand. Here are some ways to help you get out of renting your apartment.

Find a Subletter

All white bedroom with dark floors in apartment. Photo by Instagram user @etshipley
Photo via @etshipley

When finding a subletter, it’s best to go through your personal connections, as it’s easier to entrust your space with someone you can vouch for. If you have roommates, ask them to look for prospective subletters—they’re the ones who will have to live with the new addition, after all. In the event that no suitable subletter is readily apparent, consider these potential avenues:

  • Post online. Craiglist and Facebook Marketplace are popular ways to search for subletters and roommates, but there are sites specifically designed to make this process as pain-free as possible. Check out SubletSpareRoom, and Flip for professional help.
  • Ask your landlord. Your property manager may know of individuals who are interested in moving in (especially if your building has a wait list) and could recommend prospective subletters.
  • Utilize social media. One post on social media can help you reach tons of people who might be interested in your apartment—and it can be amplified by your friends and family! Be sure to post crisp photos of your apartment along with desired rent and amenities.

Once you find a subletter and reach an agreement, sign a sublease contract with them. This document should include exact dates of occupancy, rent and utility costs, and security deposit cost. Submit the contract to your landlord for approval, then set up a direct deposit payment with the subletter.

Break Your Lease

Lease agreement by keys. Photo by Instagram user @chicagorenter
Photo via @chicagorenter

In the event that you can’t find a subletter and don’t want to keep paying for your rental home, you’ll have to cancel your lease. Breaking a lease is typically the more expensive option for long-term business travelers, but it does take less work than finding a subletter.

Examine your current apartment lease agreement for clauses or conditions that might allow you to break the lease with minimal financial consequences. Then, explain the situation with your landlord or rental property manager. You may be able to work out an agreement, especially if you’ve been a good tenant or can assist in finding a new tenant to take your place.

Another option to consider is to check with your employer or contracted company to see if they’ll cover the cost of breaking your lease as part of a relocation package. Not all businesses will offer this, but if you’re moving temporarily for work, rental lease coverage can sometimes be negotiated.

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Have belongings you need to put in temporary storage while traveling for work? Extra Space Storage has secure self storage facilities throughout the U.S. Find a storage unit near you!

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