If you’ve thought about investing in travel nurse housing in 2022, here’s what you should consider before putting your plan into reality.
Table of Contents
- What Are Travel Nurses?
- Types of Travel Nurse Housing Options
- Types of Properties Where Travel Nurses Stay
- The Pros and Cons
- Travel Nurse Housing Sites
- How to Make Your Property Attractive to Travel Nurses
- Final Thoughts
An investment strategy that has been making huge advancements—especially over the past few years—is investing in travel nurse housing.
This can actually turn out to be quite a successful investment. But of course, you’d have to consider a few factors—and do some thorough research—before diving into it.
Now, we’re glad to report that the US housing market offers investors many opportunities for profitable real estate investments, often outside their communities.
And on that note, it’s worth mentioning that short-term rentals aren’t necessarily only for holidays. Short-term rentals are just one notable example of housing for travel nurses.
So, to help you out with that, we’ll discuss the profitability and expected returns on investing in nurse housing—and how you can start this venture the right way.
What Are Travel Nurses?
Before we get into the core of travel nurse housing, we would like to draw your attention to the profession itself. So, let’s start by talking about the job description of travel nurses—not just as it is today but when it first appeared, too.
Interestingly enough, this is not a new profession:
Travel nurses go back to the 1970s when this job was introduced. The reason for this was the high census in healthcare, which means that healthcare facilities were understaffed.
That said, back in the day, a traveling nurse’s job was considered “informal.” They were hired as regular employees in hospitals, and they had to travel to meet the demands of the patient.
The discouraging fact was that, at the time, many facilities did not provide housing for nurses who had to travel long distances and work a couple of days at a time.
Fast forward to today, and there’s been a slight “modification” to their job description.
Now, travel nurses work under a contract for healthcare agencies that specialize in arranging their housing. Even more so, it seems that many nurses nowadays are leaving their day jobs to pursue temporary jobs—simply because they offer more money.
In essence, they will go into hospitals and clinics across the country and provide high-quality health services there.
Common Places Where Travel Nurses Work
- General medical hospitals
- Emergency rooms
- Urgent care facilities
- Rehabilitations centers
- Nursing homes
- Occupational health services
- Surgical hospitals
- Community hospitals
This is just a partial list; medical help is always in demand. And since a traveling nurse is, in essence, a medical professional who takes up jobs in areas that are in high need, there is one more thing to note here:
In order to do their jobs properly, these nurses need to find temporary housing.
That is why real estate investors should pay special attention to this phenomenon. If you’re a real estate investor, now would be the perfect time to check if there are any of the mentioned facilities in your area—and if you should consider offering temporary housing for nurses.
Types of Travel Nurse Housing Options
Broadly speaking, there are two nurse travel housing options:
- Agency-placed housing
- Stipend pay housing
The first travel nurse housing option involves the help of an agency.
Travel nurses can choose to have their housing arrangements handled by a staffing agency. In essence, that means that the process of finding house rentals will be taken care of by the professionals.
Here’s the thing about this type of housing, though:
With agency-placed housing, the nurse will likely be working with a staffing agency that will connect them to rentals with long-term leases in that area. So, they will be staying in places where other nurses stayed before.
And that means the tenant target group is, in essence, secured.
Sounds good, right?
Beyond just accommodation, these agencies should also cover utilities, including heat, warm water, and gas. That said, internet connection and cable TV will be up to the travel nurse.
That is the option most travel nurses will go with if they receive a last-minute call and have to travel to a location they’ve never been to before.
Tips on Working With Agencies
If you are a real estate investor who wants to do business with nursing agencies, here are some tips that might come in handy:
A promising start would be to contact some of the major agencies and companies in the area because these businesses are responsible for nearly 50% of the travel arrangements.
From there, you can decide to list your property directly with the agency.
Alternatively, you can also try contacting the staffing offices in hospitals where your property is located and inquire about the agencies they’re working with at the moment.
The point is, gathering information is of the utmost importance here.
Stipend Pay Housing
Some people aren’t fond of finding accommodation through staffing agencies. Travel nurses who feel that way can opt for a tax-free travel nurse housing stipend and choose the housing option on their own.
Before going into any details, it is vital to note that the employer most commonly covers the costs of housing.
In a sense, this gives the travel nurse more freedom in terms of choosing the housing option that appeals most to them. However, the amount of money they’ll receive depends on where they’re working.
As you can imagine, if they work in less developed areas, chances are they won’t be given too big of a budget. In that case, their travel nurse housing options might be limited.
With this option, the travel nurse must check the payment rates with their employer. Otherwise, they could end up having to cover the costs themselves and be left without any money.
Either way, one should make a checklist of the following points and go through them—be it with the agency or by themselves:
- Cable and Wi-Fi
- Flexible lease terms
Types of Properties Where Travel Nurses Stay
With the basics covered, here are the most common travel nurse housing options:
The first thing that may come to mind when thinking of traveling and booking apartments for a temporary healthcare job would be hotels and motels. And although they are considered to be a more expensive option, it’s an understandable choice if there is a housing shortage.
Some nurses willingly pick hotels because they want to enjoy the amenities that come with the booking. Motels, on the other hand, work for those who wish to have a small kitchen at their disposal and take care of their daily meal preps.
Things could get tricky with the hotel’s housekeeping, though—especially when nurses are working night shifts—because the housekeepers might disturb them during the day.
And that makes rentals a much more popular choice—which is excellent news for investors.
As we pointed out, vacation rentals are not reserved solely for people looking to enjoy their holidays. These are equally suitable for nurses temporarily working at a hospital or clinic in the same area as short-term apartment rentals.
In fact, some travel nurses might even choose to live in Airbnb or VRBO rentals long-term if the healthcare facility and the agency they work with make a successful deal.
Of course, it’s necessary to check the occupancy of such rentals and make sure that they’re available for long-term stays. In crowded areas and popular tourist destinations, that’s hardly ever the case—but it could be an opportunity for you as an investor.
Searching for reasons to invest in Florida vacation rentals? Click here.
There’s also the opportunity of leasing furnished apartments.
More and more companies are offering flexible leases on furnished apartments—making it easier for travel nurses to settle and start their work as soon as possible.
Traditional apartments will require the nurse to enter into a year-long contract, which is not always the best—nor the most practical—idea.
However, choosing travel nurse furnished housing with flexible leases is an option that won’t take a toll on the nurse’s finances and will save them from unnecessary packing and moving of big items such as furniture.
So, it might be time for you to consider investing in fully furnished apartments—and focus on meeting the needs of travel nurses.
Bed and Breakfast
For nurses who will be in town for only a few days, a budget-friendly option would be to opt for bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodation.
This type of housing typically involves families or individuals who rent homes to someone (in this case, travel nurses) for an overnight stay. That is a great alternative if the agency cannot make other arrangements.
It can be a lucrative investment—but make sure you’re genuinely interested in entering the bed and breakfast business before proceeding.
The Pros and Cons
We’ve gone through the two main travel nurse housing options—and what they may include. Now, let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages for you as a real estate investor.
Travel nurses are usually interested in short-term furnished rentals. So, if that is already your niche, you can expect a steady cash flow by renting out your property to them, as many will eventually renew their contracts.
Besides, if you did your research and your property is in a good location—meaning that the healthcare facility there is known for offering this type of temporary employment—you won’t have to stress about occupancy.
Another key benefit of investing in housing for travel nurses is that you can count on having quality tenants. Rest assured that they will take good care of your property during their stay.
As with other investments, this can be a double-edged sword.
Here’s one of the main disadvantages:
A travel nurse’s contract could be terminated without advanced notice, leaving you with an empty property. Even though they booked the accommodation for three weeks, the healthcare facility may end the contract earlier.
So, you can’t count on exclusively renting your properties to travel healthcare professionals. You need a backup plan for scenarios when there might not be any travel nurses in the area. It’s rare—but it happens.
Travel Nurse Housing Sites
Now that you’re familiar with travel nurse housing options, consider where and how you’ll get travel nurses to book your accommodation. For that, you will have to research websites that aim to provide such accommodation—and see if you can list your property there.
Here are our top three picks:
1. Furnished Finder
First on the list is Furnished Finder.
This travel nurse housing finder is intended to provide accommodation for travel nurses.
Currently, there are more than 40,000 listings available—and they’re all more or less in close proximity to hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
As Mashvisor’s partner, you will find Furnished Finder’s data and analysis when you search for properties on the Mashvisor platform.
Given that vacation rentals are the main focus, Airbnb bookings seem to be doing a great job of finding accommodation for traveling nurses needing a temporary place to stay. So, it is still a platform to consider as an investor.
While it’s not an actual travel nurse housing website, Airbnb specializes in offering short-term rentals. Do note that some nurses might book the rental directly through the owners to avoid unnecessary costs.
Find out whether Airbnb is a worthwhile short-term investment here.
3. Facebook Housing Groups
We’re sure you’re already using Facebook to chat with people. You might not realize this, but:
You can use it to join groups, get in touch with travel nurses in the area, and negotiate everything regarding their stay.
Some popular Facebook groups where you can list your accommodation include:
- Travel Nursing: Places/Rooms For Rent
- Travel Nurse Housing USA (Private & Shared Rooms, Apartments, Sublets)
- Travel Nurse Housing (The Gypsy Nurse)
Check out the ten best rental websites for real estate investors by clicking here.
How to Make Your Property Attractive to Travel Nurses
Let’s assume that travel nurse housing is the type of investment you’d like to pursue. In that case, you’ll need some guidelines on making your property attractive to this particular group of tenants.
The number one rule is to understand the challenges that travel nurses face—and do your best to address them.
For starters, consider their length of stay:
The approximate length of a travel nurse contract is usually around 13 weeks. So, if you plan on renting your investment property to travel nurses, you should make it available for the period mentioned.
Even more so, you should be aware that contracts sometimes get canceled. It would be wise to offer month-to-month housing options. That way, you will have other tenants ready to book the property should the nurse’s contract get canceled earlier than expected.
Perhaps the most crucial part is furnishing your investment property.
Make sure your property is equipped with all the necessary amenities, and include some specifics that travel nurses might need. It’ll undoubtedly mean a lot to them.
Last but not least, keep the price of travel nurse housing within the average range of market values for rent in your area. You don’t want to overprice your property—that would only drive tenants away.
That’s about it on the topic of travel nurse housing as a prospective investment strategy in 2022. Now, let’s go over the key points again and, hopefully, reach a verdict regarding this opportunity.
First thing’s first—travel nurses have been around for decades. However, it seems that more healthcare professionals have been accepting these work-related travel arrangements these days.
And that created a demand and interest in investing in housing for travel nurses.
There are two options for travel nurses—agency-placed housing and stipend pay. As a real estate investor, you have a chance to earn a considerable profit while working with a staffing agency to provide accommodation.
That said, you need to ensure that your property fits the purpose of travel nurses—and, of course, research the housing market 2022.
You will need in-depth insights into the current situation before proceeding—and that means you’ll need to do a thorough analysis of the market.
Luckily, Mashvisor’s Heat Map tool does just that. It helps you conduct an in-depth analysis of profitable markets and pick a suitable neighborhood for your investment—one that promises high returns.