How to Find a Short Term Rental in the Bay Area

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  • We're doing remodel work on our home, just enough to require or at least prefer a move out. We don't know when the work will be done and how long it will take - we're estimating starting later this year after permits and it may take 3-6 months. We're close to getting contractor bids. 

    If you have done this, what are the ways in which we should be researching and identifying 3-6 month rentals while we move out? Is it possible to rent a full house? Should we look at one of the new apartment buildings? Other options of types or sourcing methods?

    We're in North Berkeley and I don't want to be too far from our house because I plan to check in on it daily. And ideally our son can bike to his mountain biking club practices. We have a family of four with kids. I work from home (may take the Transbay bus in to SF later this year) - the kids should be back at in-person school this fall. All to say we need a little space (3 bedrooms, home office space). We have a small dog. 

    And any advice about moving out in this scenario? Should we plan to move EVERYTHING out of the house or can we leave some stuff in rooms that are not involved - take only what we need? Other advice in general, about surviving the remodel period and living elsewhere? 

    Or did you live in your home while fairly extensive remodel work was being done? Would appreciate hearing about those experiences too. 

    Thank you! 

    We (family of four with a dog) moved out of our house for six months while we did a major remodel of our home many years ago. The work moved along much faster with us out of the way. A local realtor found us a six month rental house. We moved most of our things to the rental house and stored excess stuff in the rental house garage. One room in our house was untouched, so we left those things there. I would reach out to well-connected local realtors who may know of someone wanting to rent out their house short term. Another idea I had was to look into Airbnb’s. I believe there is a one month maximum, but perhaps you could make a deal with one of the hosts. I think these days landlords are reluctant to rent for “short terms” (even though they might have reasons to want to do so such as for a sabbatical or a temporary move) because they can never get a tenant out under the current rental laws. Clearly if you intend to move back to your home after the remodel, landlords would consider you a great short term tenant. Good luck!

    We did this several years ago. Be prepared for a). the project to run several months longer than you anticipated and b) for crazy high rental prices. We couldn't afford to rent another house while we paid the current mortgage and for the remodel. With two young kids, we moved into a pretty small space and ended up packing up most of our stuff and storing it in the garage. Our remodel was pretty extensive, so we needed everything out. We also chose to live nearby so we could check on the progress every day, and it was necessary. My husband caught a lot of mistakes. 

    We did a major remodel several years ago and had many of the same requirements as you - stay relatively close to our house, had small children attending schools close to our house and had two small dogs.  We ended up with a furnished Airbnb house that we rented for 3 months up front, and the owner was fine with us going month to month after that.  We ended up staying in the Airbnb for 5 months, then moved back into our house when it was ready for reoccupation, but long before the construction was actually done.  It helped that our kitchen and one full bath was in a part of the house that could be walled off from the construction.  We just moved stuff out of the part of the house impacted by construction and piled the stuff into the remaining space.  We didn't forward our mail as we checked on our house essentially daily, though of course we had deliveries sent to the rental house.

    You may want to check around with neighbors to see if they happen to know of a place nearby that may be available for a short term rental, but barring that you may want to check a home rental site.  Good luck!

    Hi!  We are currently in the process of remodeling our entire house (kitchen, bathrooms, new flooring, painting and new doors).  We decided to move out of the house for 3 months.  We found our rental on  We ended up renting a fully furnished house.  The cost of the house happened to be cheaper than the cost of an apartment or an extended stay hotel.  You can also try vrbo, airbnb and other services but be prepared for the sticker shock of what fully furnished rentals cost. However, there was no way we could have lived in the house during the disruption of the remodel, plus the remodel can go a lot faster if no-one is living in the house, so ultimately it was more cost effective to just move out despite the cost of the rental. We spent a few weeks packing up the house and then we hired movers to move ALL of our possessions out of our house and put them in a huge shipping container in our driveway.  If there isn't room in driveway for a shipping container, than you can have movers move all of your stuff to a self-storage facility. What didn't fit in the storage container we put in one spare bedroom in the house that wasn't being remodeled.  Our temporary house rental is about a 10 minute drive from the house that is being remodeled.  I couldn't find anything closer that was within our rental budget.  I stop by the house that is being remodeled once or twice a day to check on the progress.  Hope this is helpful!

    I have rented my furnished house out over the years to families undergoing move-out renovations. (I am no longer doing this.) In all cases the families left their furniture and all possessions behind except for clothes, toys, etc that they would need while out of their house. They found me through short-term rentals on Craigslist. I don’t imagine that this is the best vehicle anymore but I don’t really know. 
    I have also heard of folks staying put. Are you up for days or weeks when the plumbing is shut off or the kitchen is closed? Zero privacy? Are you hearty campers? 
    Best luck with your renovation! 


    They have all sorts of rentals, not just for academics- houses, apartments, short-term and long-term I think it's wise to move out if you can, so you don't have to live with the stress of the daily disruption of a remodel. I would leave what you can in the house- moving is a lot of work! We are remodeling and I am so glad not to be living there! There is also Craigslist for rentals, but you really have to watch out for scams.

    Our remodel was estimated to take 4-6 months and took about 13. We moved in after 10 months and dealt with constant construction, which was stressful. 

    If possible, put as much as you can in storage. Our things got very dirty, even in other areas of the house and when covered. Also make sure your rental is flexible and easy to extend. 

    I hope you learn from our experience- and that your remodel goes more smoothly!

    We lived in our house while doing the foundation and during the kitchen remodel. We set up a sink in the dining room that drained into the backyard. That is no problem as long as the water stays on your own property. Then moved the fridge into the dining room. Add a microwave, hot plate, work table, eating table, and done. It worked well. But was happy to have a real kitchen again. If you are pulling out plaster, dust can get into everything. It creeps under doors and through the openings in the ceiling where the light fixtures are attached. But I think if you cover everything, close and tape the doors, it should be fine. Also contain the work area as much as possible. 

    As far as finding a place to live, just inquire every place. Try nextdoor, facebook, craigslist, and every rental website. Check out management sites, too, like Premium Properties or Latham. Keep in mind that everybody is remodeling and materials are scarce And these projects generally uncover problems that have to be addressed. So it may take longer than you expect. 

    Keep an eye on the contractor. They like to take shortcuts. Visit every day. 

    Good luck!

  • Hi everyone, 

    My husband, daughter and I arrived from NYC recently and are looking to buy a home in Berkeley. All our stuff is in storage. As it might take a few months to find the right place, we need a short term furnished rental that works as an office for me an my husband and is big enough to accommodate a nanny for our 21-month old and us coexisting. Airbnb has limited stuff and is expensive. Corporate housing websites are not geared towards families with children. I hear everyone talk about how people are leaving town for a few months and subletting their homes. Where can I access those listings? I checked Craigslist but there weren’t too many listings there either. Thank you for your help.

    Hi! I always check sabbatical homes website, most, if not all, are furnished. 

    we had the same situation recently and have found the current place through that site. When were you planning to move? 

    Hi there,

    We moved my in-laws here to care for my son and needed a similar arrangement for 9 months. Most airbnb prices are set up for short-term rentals. However, I had success by contacting the airbnb hosts directly and asking if they were willing to negotiate a longer-term rate. Most of them jumped at the opportunity. What was listed on airbnb for $3700 a month became $3000 a month when we arranged it directly with the hosts.

    Note that you need to be quite savvy in your contact as airbnb will not allow you to share your email address or phone number. However, if you're in the area you can set up a time to meet at the cross streets near the home or if you send three subsequent messages with pieces of the phone number it will get through.

    Good luck! We had lots of offers for long term furnished rentals since there are not as many tourists anymore, and most hosts prefer the lower-risk tenants who will stay for a while.

    Our family used Sabbatical Homes when we first moved to Berkeley while looking to buy a house. We had a really good experience. - Academic Home Rental Exchange Sitting - est 2000

    Check out the Sabbatical Homes web site. They seem to be better geared to long term stays.

    Be warned that it took us two years to find a house we really loved enough to buy. I recommend Faye Keogh as an experienced, patient realtor (she never pressured us).

    The good news is that we ended up with our dream home!

    Have you tried  Also check on NextDoor.

    I have a furnished house in North Berkeley that might be perfect for you (does nothing contain my personal belongings). Feel free to call me so I can tell you more, send you a detailed description and photos. Happy to do a distance showing. Best, Brenda has homes in Berkeley and Oakland. We are looking ourselves for next summer. We are moving from the North Bay back to Berkeley or North Oakland next year.

    Thanks everyone. I will check sabbatical homes. We are a little bit confused right now and wondering if we should do a year-long lease and bring our furniture out of storage. It seems risky buying a home without having lived here at all. Especially finding the perfect house can take a long time as some of you suggested. On the other hand throwing away money on rent is not great either. Has anyone been in a similar situation?

    to the OP - I think taking your furniture out of storage and renting for a year is worth considering.  There are some penalties, but you can always break a lease if you happen across the perfect home to purchase, and in the meantime you're testing out the neighborhood and have your own stuff around you so you feel at home and are in less of a rush.  [My business deals with rentals and relocations, so I'm happy to answer any specific questions about lease breaks etc. if you have them, just message me.]  

  • Summer 2020 Housing for Visiting Faculty

    (1 reply)

    Hi There,

    Early planning here but trying to get a sense of the options available.  I've been working on a summer program for VA Tech students to study in San Francisco from approximately May 15-August 15.  In 2020, VA Tech would like to send a home faculty member to teach the course and the faculty member will need housing for his/her family as well.  The site where we house the students is only for students.  We are hopeful that we can find a stable situation for 2 adults and 2 children for the full three months.  Does anyone know of local colleges or universities that might have visiting faculty housing for the summer or other temporary housing situations that might be relevant?  The students and the classroom will be in San Francisco, so we are looking for transit oriented options in the East Bay or Marin as well as San Francisco.  

    Thanks in advance,



    My name is Tina and I'm on faculty at Cal where housing for everyone is a huge problem! Cal has short term faculty housing at the Clark Kerr Campus and I think they use it for visiting faculty but I'm not sure.

    Also try Sabbatical Homes. 

    This is a site for faculty who share homes, rent, and you can search via zip code. 

    Good luck