Credit And Debt

How Living in a Hotel Can Be Surprisingly Affordable

Delicious Morning

Since the housing bubble of 2008, people are more reluctant to take out a mortgage and get themselves tied to a specific location and 30 years of payments. A house is usually an asset that appreciates, but property values can drop for a variety of reasons, and homeowners can get hit with expensive repairs at any time.

If you live in a hotel, you’ll never have to worry about finding yourself underwater on a mortgage and unable to move. You also won’t have to come up with a large sum of money to buy a new furnace or replace a roof.

Some people who decide not to make the commitment to buy a house choose to rent a house or an apartment instead. Living in a hotel or motel is even more flexible than renting, since most rentals require a one-year lease agreement plus a deposit. Your hotel commitment is one day at a time, or perhaps a few weeks at a time if you negotiate a long-term rate.

Living long-term in a hotel is not ideal for everyone, but can be a surprisingly affordable option for people who want to live in an expensive location without paying high rent or a big mortgage. For example, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $3,600 per month. Throw in at least $100 more for basic utilities and the price works out to over $120 per night. While you won’t find many San Francisco hotels for less than $120 a night, keep in mind that if you stay in a hotel, you’ll also be forgoing the need to furnish an apartment and pay a deposit, which is often three months’ rent in one lump sum.

Not all locations are as expensive as San Francisco, but there are a number of places where staying in a hotel can be less expensive than the overall cost of renting an apartment.

Advantages of living in a hotel

Your living expenses become a lot more streamlined when you live in a hotel.

Fewer bills

You can avoid entire categories of bills such as utilities, property tax, insurance, repairs, and maintenance. Cable is often included, and you might even be able to get internet thrown in with it. If your hotel has a pool and a gym, you’ll be able to forgo the monthly gym fees, too.

Minimal commitments

You won’t have to pay a security deposit, an application fee, or have your credit checked. You can also move to another location with little or no notice.

Convenient locations

Depending on the hotel you choose, you gain access to affordable living in expensive ZIP codes and near shopping and other attractions. You can also minimize time spent commuting if your hotel is close to work. And since hotels have a full staff of housekeepers, you won’t have any household chores to deal with.

Disadvantages of living in a hotel

There are some drawbacks that may rule out living in a hotel for you.

Less space

Obviously, there will be less storage for your personal items. There won’t be an opportunity to grow a garden. And your kids and pets may not enjoy living in a small hotel room for a long period of time.

Receiving mail

Living in a hotel might make it difficult to receive mail and packages if you change locations a lot.

How to make it work

If living in a hotel makes sense for you, here’s how get the most value from a long-term stay.

Negotiate for lower rates and perks

Hotels like to keep their rooms occupied and generating revenue, so they like to get long-term guests. Use this to your advantage to negotiate a lower rate and possible perks such as free meals or free Wi-Fi access. One tactic to negotiate a lower rate is to book a less desirable room, for example a small room or a room with a crummy view, for a long period of time.

Use hotel rewards programs to save even more

If you stay long-term in a hotel, you can rack up a lot of rewards points that can be used for free hotel stays, saving you even more money. Join the hotel’s rewards program when you check in — or before — to make sure you get all of the points you can for your stay. It’s probably also worth signing up for a hotel credit card that will earn you extra points when you pay your considerable bill.