Home, Alone: Renting out your pad while on a locum tenens assignment

Home-Alone-Renting-out-your-pad-while-on-a-locum-tenens-assignment
By Mark A. Kellner

For many people  including you, perhaps  your home represents your largest single monetary investment. Even if it isn't, homes are valuable assets.

So what should you do with your home when going away on a locum tenens assignment?

In some circumstances, it may be the right time to sell your home. Only you can make that decision, of course. Most locum assignments in the states are temporary so short-term rental is typically a better solution than selling but if like many physicians are now doing, you choose to pursue a full-time locum lifestyle, you might consider selling.

International locum assignments are typically 6-12 months long but most physicians will want to retain ownership in their home pending either a return after the assignment, or an eventual sale if they decide to remain expats. If that's your situation, you might want to consider renting your home out as a way to earn some additional money and cover related costs while you're away.

One resource for you could be TravelingHealthcareRentals.com, which recently partnered with Global Medical Staffing to help our professionals with their real estate rental needs. What makes TravelingHealthcareRentals.com unique (aside from being healthcare-specific) is that they'll take care of everything from listing your property, to managing the calendar and even changing linens and cleaning your home. Your GMS contact can provide more information and tips to help you rent your property and keep your peace of mind.

In many American cities, the demand for rental housing is up, and that's not just for apartments. Just as you may be transferring to a new position elsewhere, companies and organizations constantly bring in people from other locations to join their teams. Those people may also need a place to live, either short term or permanently.

Short term rentals are popular in other situations: Many vacationers and tourists  not to mention some business travelers - also like to rent homes for a while, which is why AirBnB and services such as Pillow Homes and Beyond Stays have become so popular. College and university students might even want to rent a townhome, for example, that's close to their chosen campus.

If you're in a major metropolitan area, especially if you're either downtown or with easy access to local places of interest, you might be a perfect candidate to earn money via short-term rentals.

On the other hand, perhaps you live in a desirable public school district or a community with great amenities, such as a community center with exercise equipment and a pool. Those kinds of amenities appeal to families wishing to stay in an area for a given period of time.

Services such as ZillowApartmentFinder and Sublet are where owners often post listings of rental properties for longer-term rentals.

Management is essential

Should you find a renter for your property, management is essential, either on a do-it-yourself basis or via a property management company.

The reasons are obvious: Renters need help when trouble pops up, and they need to find someone quickly. Owners (you) need to be sure rent is collected and deposited on time, and that tenants are taking care of the property.

A good property manager can screen potential long term renters, check references and verify employment, and keep tabs on your property. They can arrange for repair and other maintenance services. There's a fee involved, of course, but it can be deducted from your income tax as a business expense for the rental activity.

How to find a property manager? Check out the National Association of Rental Property Managers, which offers a comprehensive online directory of members across the country.

If you want to do it yourself, it would be smart to establish relationships with contractors, an attorney who specializes in real estate, and to speak with your accountant. You'll need to make sure everything you plan is permissible and legal for your situation. For example, some home owners' associations limit the number of rental units permitted in a given community, with some exemptions for work transfers or overseas humanitarian service.

If you're not using a property management firm to collect and process rent payments, make sure the tenant has a way to pay that gets the money to you quickly. PayPal and similar services can assist with that task.

And be sure to talk with your insurance professional. You may need additional coverage as a landlord that you didn't require as a homeowner, and your agent can make sure you have all the protection you need.

While only you can decide what's best for your current situation and the assignment you're going on, with both short- and longer-term solutions, taking care of your home (and making a little on the side) can be a breeze.

Take a look at our current opportunities here, then you can discuss housing options with your dedicated GMS physician placement specialist.
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