|Moving In Transition
Finding the best temporary housing solution
by Wendy Dunham
So you’re moving to Atlanta! Relocating to a new city is always exciting, but there’s a lot to think about, organize, prioritize and plan, not the least of which is where you are going to live. Finding temporary accommodation until you buy a house or until your new house is ready will be your priority. Possibly your move comes with little advance warning, and your family will join you later. You’ll need to find a place to stay during this transition.
So, where do you start? If your company is moving you, or if you’ve been hired by a company in Atlanta, your employer will probably be helping. Following their advice is always a good idea as they’ve done this process before and have built good business-to-business relationships with preferred service providers in the area. These relocation specialists know all the pitfalls and all the best tips for making the move as seamless as possible. Individuals moving without the assistance of an employer can use them too.
Kathy Connelly, Senior Vice President for Corporate Services for Prudential Georgia Realty, is a 20-year veteran in the relocation industry. Her company helps both corporations and individuals. Local service providers such as Connelly and her team know their areas inside and out, and can offer assistance with choosing neighborhoods and schools, obtaining social security cards and driver’s licenses (if applicable), and with general acclimation to a new location.
“When a corporation transfers an employee to a new city, it is investing time and money into the venture,” says Connelly. “In order to maximize that investment they need their employees to have the least stressful transition possible, with the least distractions to the job and the family. It makes sense, therefore, to use a relocation agent who is a specialist in the field. It’s like offering a package deal where we take care of everything—it gives employers and employees great peace of mind.”
One of the options Connelly has to offer movers is that of corporate lodgings. They consist of fully furnished apartments that come with all the basics, including linens, kitchenware, and washer-dryers. Most of them have swimming pools, spas, fitness centers, and business centers. Included in the lease price will be gas, electric, water, sewer, telephone, and cable. Leases can be short- or long-term. They make moving to a new city, or staying temporarily in one, comfortable and easy.
With the motto “Why settle for a hotel room when you can have a home,” TP Corporate Lodging, based in Lawrenceville, has plenty to offer the business professional, but President Tim Miller says that his accommodations are also popular with home buyers who need short-term placement, relocating employees, temporarily misplaced families, project workers, those seeking medical treatment, single people who do not want to furnish an apartment, and families on the move.
“We provide everything that our customers need,” says Miller. “We truly specialize in the kind of finishing touches that ensure our apartments do not have the look or feel of a hotel room—for example, all the beds in each unit have different bedspreads and the rooms have different color schemes. It makes a difference.”
TP Corporate Lodging even offers clients a choice in furniture arrangements with styles that range from traditional to contemporary. Optional services can include maid service, premium movie channels, a larger TV, VCR, DVD player, stereo and more.
Miller also points out that location is very important: “I am very picky when it comes to finding property,” he says. “People who lease from us will not find themselves next to a dumpster, or in a bad neighborhood.” TP Corporate Lodging apartments are located throughout metropolitan Atlanta, including Gwinnett, Duluth, Lawrenceville, Suwanee, Roswell, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Marietta, Norcross, Stockbridge, Peachtree City, Conyers, Buckhead, Midtown, and Downtown.
Other corporate lodging specialists, like Wallace Hitt at Post Corporate Properties and Fred Lemon at Fred Lemon and Associates, also will work with companies to place newly relocated employees in furnished apartments for the short-term, usually 30 to 90 days. They will have arrangements with certain properties to ensure units are available to these corporate clients. They “cater specifically to what the transferee is looking for from location to size and quality and quantity of furnishings,”
according to Linda W. Allender, Vice President, Relocation Operations for Prudential Georgia Realty.
When someone learns they will need temporary housing, such specialists can work with them and/or their employer to determine the best location, space needs, length of lease and budget and then match those requirements with available units. Some, like Hitt, work with a single apartment company, while others, like Lemon, build relationships with multiple property owners, so you will want to be aware of the capabilities of the specialist with whom you or your employer contract.
Such corporate lodging actually can mean a savings over costs of staying in a hotel. For example, according to TP Corporate Lodging, the daily rate for one of its apartments might run $59 to $85, compared with $65 to more than $149 in a hotel. Monthly rates could be $1,950 to over $5,250 for a hotel, vs. $1,769 to $2,550 in these apartments. And additional savings can be had by using your own kitchen to prepare meals—as opposed to dining out or ordering room service—and also by being able to use the washer and dryer in the apartment rather than having to pay to do laundry elsewhere.
But what if you are relocating on your own, without the help of an employer? Hiring a specialist to help you is a possibility, contacting one of these lodging companies is something you can look into and find lodging on your own, or another choice is to move into an extended-stay hotel. These look like hotels or motels and usually offer small, furnished suites where everything is done for you except cooking. There will also usually be access to a pool, a spa, a gym, and an office for faxing, copying, printing, etc. Some, such as the Marriott TownePlace Suites, even let you accrue loyalty points for being there.
A one-bedroom suite in Atlanta, for one person, in a chain like ExtendedStay America, Homestead Studio Suites, or ExtendedStay Deluxe, could begin as low as $24.99 to $57.99 per night. Prices vary according to location, and you might qualify for discounts depending on your employer.
If this sounds like a fit for you, Extended Stay Hotels is a company with many resources for newcomers to cities all over the country. The Web site www.extendedstayhotels.com has links for extended-stay hotels, temporary housing, hotels for relocation, weekly-rate hotels, and pet-friendly hotels to help break down your specific needs even more.
As attractive as extended-stay living is, some are just not suited to it. If you have three children and two dogs, you may wish to consider simply renting someone’s house. This will have to be organized well ahead of your move, but due to the economy there are a lot to choose from and rental prices are down.
Renting a house will give a family all the space they need and put them in a real neighborhood with other families and local amenities. They can usually make the place their own and move all their belongings in. Just remember there’s a down side to renting—you have to sign a lease and that is not always convenient. Many owners do not want to deal with continual turnover.
The best way to find a rental property is to go online to a company such as Rentals.com. Just plug in everything you want, in the area you want, and price range you want, and then start scrolling through all the options until you find the best one for you. Renters can search the comprehensive database of thousands of properties for free until they find just what they need, even down to things like a fenced-in yard for their dog or a two-car garage.
Atlanta-area homes listed on Rentals.com start at $449 per month for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom, 784 sq ft. house, and the prices go up to $5,000 per month. One drawback to a family eager to move into its permanent new home is that this temporary option involves commitment to a one-year lease.
Alternatively, you can contact realtors in the area you want to be in and they can help you. In fact, the National Association of Realtors® Web site lists a wide range of rental properties, and many real estate companies have Web sites that offer not only properties to buy, but also to rent. Note that the average realtor will be able to share their market knowledge but may not have an exhaustive knowledge of rental properties on the market beyond those listed with their own company and information available to the general public. They should be able to direct you to resources, but most likely will not tour properties with you as they would if they were helping you buy a house.
Whichever way you decide to go when you make that move, if you plan ahead, do your homework, and follow the advice of your employer, you will be successful. And once you’ve sorted out where you are going to live, the hard part of your transition has been accomplished. After that, everything else should fall right into place.