For any new immigrant there will be a need to plan where you will stay, a roof over your head. There are several options, so this article will help you with the planning process. Now, everyone is going to have their own idea of what is affordable, what comfort is important and so on – so this is a difficult topic to be precise on. I just want to give you a few ideas. Please watch the video below and read the article to make sure you get all the details I have given.

Short term – on arrival to the USA

For some you may have friends or family that will provide a housing option for you, even from the first night, so I think people in that position already have a plan, at least for the short term. But for others, they need to think about where to stay the first night, and then in the subsequent few weeks.

For many, the most flexible solution is a hotel at least for the first few nights. Obviously pretty much any hotel room will do and there are hotels in every location and for almost every budget. The big hotel chains offer consistency, but there are many independent hotels that can offer good, clean and affordable options.

If you think you will only need a room for a few nights, any style of hotel room will do (with a bed and private bathroom as a minimum), but if you plan to stay in a hotel longer, look for a suite type hotel that offers a little more space, often with an open plan sitting area and a very small kitchen in addition to the bed and bathroom. Hotels will normally expect a credit card to be held on file (which could be from your own country), but when it comes time to pay the bill, you can pay in cash, or just let them charge to your card.

As well as hotels, you may find AirBnB places that are suitable for you or executive hotels (sometimes called corporate housing). Executive hotels are usually suite hotels that accommodate people that want to book for weeks, or months of stay. I talk about the advantages of that in my video below. All these choices (hotel, AirBnB, executive hotels) are usually simple to book, they are usually fully furnished, and typically have wifi which will be important to you.

Medium term – the first few months and perhaps longer

You should have a plan for where you will stay for the first few months. You may be able to make those arrangements before you arrive or it may be wiser to stay in a hotel for a few days first so you can look around the area you have chosen and find somewhere to suit your choices. Although AirBnB and hotels are good choices for stays of a few days up to around 2 to 3 weeks, they do not really work well for stays of several months. Executive hotels will work better in that situation, you can stay in an executive hotel for weeks or months and can often get discounted rates for stays longer than 30 days. The paperwork for executive hotels is very similar to a hotel – so no credit checks needed, but you will often be asked to pay as you go to limit the amount of money built up against your account.

The other option is to take a lease on a home. I would not personally advise you do that until you are fairly certain that you will settle in that area. That means you have job prospects, you like the area and so on. Leases usually are for at least 6 to 12 months, and a lease is a legal contract that carries penalties if you end the lease early. In most States, lease tenants have certain rights and obligations and this means that landlords have to be cautious who they rent to. Often that means that landlords (especially corporations) will expect credit checks, references, pre paid deposits and so on. Your rent must be paid on time, and if you don’t pay, the landlord will take steps to evict you from their property. The eviction process can cause a dent in your credit history – so you do not want to get yourself into that situation. Lease a home that is within your budget, in an area you like and where you can be comfortable/safe.

Longer term

It is likely that you will end up leasing a home for at least the first 2 to 3 years, and that is fine, but paying rent means putting money in someone else’s pocket. So, your goal should be to buy a home of your own as fast as possible, and your financial priority should be to plan for that.

You will need a minimum of around 5% of the purchase price of a home as a deposit (more deposit is better of course). So – if you have arrived in the USA with no substantial savings, you will need to find the value of a starter home, calculate 5% of that price, and then make a plan to save that money every month.
No doubt, that will be hard, and you may need a second job to achieve that goal but that is what you should aim to do. Home ownership is, for most people, the biggest difference between those that build wealth, and those that just scrape by, month to month. So – regardless of your circumstances today, home ownership should be the main goal. Not buying an expensive car, not expensive clothes. Save toward buying a home.

If there is ONE thing I could say is the most important piece of advice I have every given – it is that – make a plan to get to home ownership. The rest will just fall into place once you have bought your own home.

Websites of interest

Hotels, Extended stay hotels/Corporate housing (Change site to your area on the right side of the site)