Tips for Renting to Traveling Nurses

The demand for quality healthcare is steadily increasing.  Now more than ever, communities need qualified health practitioners.  Many hospitals have turned to “Traveling Nurses”, health practitioners like RNs and physical therapists who rotate from hospital to hospital to serve short term needs.  

This represents an opportunity for landlords, and carries many benefits.  Traveling nurses stay longer than the typical short term renter, but shorter than a standard annual leaser.  Their travel is paid for by the hospital, in the form of a sizable stipend.  And they are typically favorable tenants / guests, as they spend most of their time either working long shifts or recovering from those long shifts. 

I recently had the opportunity to speak with a recruiter who places traveling nurses in hospitals and coordinates their housing needs.  She shared with me some interesting insights which I thought you might find valuable too. 


The weekly housing stipend a traveling nurse receives can vary, based upon vocation and the location.  Typically RN’s receive $600 a week for housing (this is in addition to their normal pay, and potentially food stipends as well).  Certain occupations, like physical therapists, will earn a lower stipend.  Since the traveling nurse gets to keep whatever they do not spend on housing, most are price conscious.   They may also have preconceived notions of reasonable housing rates if they are from an area that enjoys a lower cost of living.  

One comment I found particularly interesting was that most traveling nurses don’t have enough money for a large down payment.  As such, landlords may need to be flexible in terms of their required up front commitment. 


The number of traveling nurses who are willing to share a space with another person versus those who want their own space is split evenly.  With that said, most all of them want at least their own bathroom.  Many family oriented traveling nurses will travel with their family, and as such want their own space – normally a single family home with enough rooms for each person in the household versus an apartment. 


Since they are working long hours, traveling nurses appreciate amenities that save them time or money.  One of the most popular amenities is a weekly maid service.   This isn’t a requirement, but it is a nice bonus which helps differentiate your property from others. 


Most traveling nurses have their own vehicles, and consequently prefer housing that includes parking.  The obvious exception to this is if the host location is in a highly urban area where everything is walkable – like New York City for example. 


While most employment contracts are 13 weeks, traveling nurses look for weekly or monthly housing.  They avoid housing with long term commitments.  


The most popular sites where traveling nurses look for housing are Furnished Finder, VRBO, and AirBNB.  

Renting to traveling nursing can be very lucrative.  Hopefully you’ve found the insight I’ve provided helpful. 

Buying A Home For Your Parents

I was recently approached by two friends (let’s call them Celeste and Mary) for some advice on buying a home, and I found the situation interesting enough that I wanted to share it with you.  

Celeste and Mary are sisters.   Now in their 30’s, they want to find a way to give back to their mother Gloria, who is closing in on her 70th birthday and rents a room in a home.  Gloria lives primarily off of her social security benefits and has never owned a home.  

The three ladies are wondering if they contribute jointly, could they purchase a home with a low enough monthly payment that Gloria could afford to pay the mortgage.  Gloria’s brother, a handyman, might move in to this new home as well, helping to offset the mortgage payments and help with repairs around the house.  

Here are some of the questions posed, and the advice that I shared.  Of course, your situation might be entirely different, but my feedback might be something you’d want to consider as well. 

What Should They Look For In A Property?

My recommendation is to look for a single family home, in need of a little fixing up.  A mobile home, in particular one where they do not own the land, wouldn’t be a good investment.  Typically the home itself depreciates, and the land appreciates.  A townhome is an option, but it would prevent them from converting a garage into an Accessory Dwelling Unit which could be rented for additional income.  

In my opinion, the best option would be a single family home with a detached garage, on a relatively large lot.  To keep her taxes down, she should aim for a home as inexpensive as possible, being mindful of the repair / upgrade costs.   With family and friends who are handy, she can fix up the home over time into something that might be very livable.  All work, when required, should be permitted by the city. 

I would look for a home in an up and coming part of town.  Since she is over the age of 65, I’d recommend a single story home.  

Who Should Purchase The Home?

Celeste, Mary, and Gloria think that they should all purchase the home together.  But I pointed out that when Gloria passes away (as we all will do), that the property might be subject to a step up in property taxes as the title transfers from Celeste, Mary, and Gloria to just Celeste and Mary.   Celeste and Mary are Gloria’s only children, and as such the likely beneficiaries in the event of Gloria’s passing. 

A better option would be for Celeste and Mary to purchase the home, and then rent it back to Gloria at a reduced rate.  In this scenario, Celeste and Mary should craft an investor agreement, and think about putting the home into an LLC to further protect their investment. 

Celeste and Mary will have the added benefit of maximizing the tax deductions and depreciation on the home, which is something that Gloria, with a limited income, wouldn’t be able to fully capitalize upon. 

How Much Of A Downpayment Should They Put Down? 

Their first inclination would be to put as much money down as possible to make the mortgage manageable given Gloria’s limited income. 

But given that mortgage rates are amazingly low, and as first time home owners they qualify for very low rates, I recommend that they only put down 20% towards a 30 year fixed mortgage.  This will help them avoid PMI, and allow them to maximize the buying power of their money.  

There are a lot of things to consider when buying a home – and certainly Celeste, Mary, and Gloria will have more questions.  But I found the exercise exciting, especially because it allowed me to test my real estate investment deal analysis skills against a real life scenario.   Who knows, I might just end up purchasing a home as well !