Living in temporary housing

Many people find that living in a temporary place whilst house hunting is an effective way of moving to a new city. Having done this a few times I shared some experiences and ways to make it easier in my book – My Guide to a Successful Relocationdsc01805

Here is a snippet from the chapter.


The benefits

The biggest benefit of taking a temporary rental is you are already on the ground and able to view apartments more easily than if you are only travelling for short home search visits. In a fast moving rental market you will often need to arrange to see an apartment within a short time to avoid missing out on it.

It also means you can start to get settled and explore the city, especially if you are unsure about where exactly in your new city you wish to live. I spent a lot of time in Berlin visiting different areas to see if they appealed to us. I would advise, if possible, taking temporary housing close to at least one of your preferred neighbourhoods so you don’t end up spending too much time travelling unnecessarily, and where you can easily experience the local area and community.

Another big benefit is that the apartment has the basics you need and will, for a cost, be cleaned for you, with bedding and towels provided. We lived for almost four months in temporary housing in Berlin and there were certainly benefits to this.

The downside

It can be stressful with no set time limit to living in a temporary home, especially if you don’t like the area around your place or it just starts to feel soulless and you yearn for your own space and things.

What can you do to make it a positive experience?

We learned a lot from living in corporate housing and there were a few things we did, or could have done in hindsight, to make the experience better:


Something of a no-brainer but make sure you have a laptop or tablet to connect to the Internet as this is essential for entertainment, research and keeping up with people at home, especially as you may not be able to get a phone contract easily at the start. However, the Internet access may not be great if you are living in a large complex – we had to sit in the kitchen pressed up against the wall in our place to get any decent connection!


Bring your essentials

Although the places will be furnished and equipped you still should pack a box of essentials from home before you pack up and move to the temporary housing, and have it sent to arrive when you do. We moved in the autumn to Berlin and hoped to be settled quickly but this didn’t happen so I was pleased I had shipped a box of our winter essentials. Other things to consider sending in a box are: favourite toys and books (if you have children) and a change of season clothes if you are moving towards the end of a season.

The kitchen in our place had a very basic selection of utensils. I bought some cheap things from the supermarket such as a cheese grater and measuring jug. So be prepared, if you like cooking perhaps add some of your kitchen essentials and basic cooking utensils like a measuring jug, measuring spoons (basically anything that measures!), a cheese grater and a tin opener to your box you send from home.

Capsule wardrobes

As you will probably be travelling quite light at this stage, be prepared to be sick of the small selection of clothes you bring by the end of the stay. Don’t bring anything you love too much. There were washing facilities in the block we stayed in and they needed tokens, which could be bought from the management office on certain days of the week. As the machines are used by lots of people, they are not the most efficient in the world. Unless you want to buy a drying rack, make sure all the clothes you bring are dryer friendly.

Keep positive

Living in temporary housing and searching for a home can start to become emotionally draining. It can feel like a never-ending jail term if your home search is longer than you hoped, but the main thing to keep in mind is that this is temporary – this is not your ultimate home and you will have your own things again.

If you found this interesting and/or useful you can buy the book to read more and the rest of the book, of course.

One comment

  1. Hej! Thanks for this, good pointers and I’m checking out your book.
    I’ve heard it said that it’s extremely hard for foreigners in Denmark to get a mortgage – without having many years of a Danish credit record. Is that true? Thanks

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