Furnished Finder is an Airbnb alternative for travelers seeking a furnished rental for 30 days or longer. In this article, I share my experience using the Furnished Finder platform as a former five-star Airbnb host and frequent Airbnb user.
Using my extensive experience on the Airbnb platform, in this article I compare what it’s like to stay in a Furnished Finder instead of an Airbnb.
Reasons to use Furnished Finder instead of Airbnb for longer stays:
Advantages for guests:
- You can visit the property before you book it.
- You can get your host’s full name and check public records for court proceedings or criminal records.
- You can negotiate the monthly rate before booking.
- Because the platform does not take a cut of the nightly rate, housing on Furnished Finder is generally much less expensive.
- If the location’s local laws exempt 30-day stays from hotel tax (most areas do) you’ll save on nightly rates.
Advantages for hosts
- You can meet guests before giving them access to your home.
- You can make modifications to the standard contract as needed.
- Furnished Finder has a built-in feature that allows you to run a background check on potential guests before agreeing to host them.
- With no commission on rentals (only a listing fee) you’ll reap higher profits on this platform than monthly Airbnb rentals.
- In many locations, stays longer than 30 days are exempt from local hotel and hospitality taxes.
So, What Even is Furnished Finder?
Furnished Finder is a temporary-housing classified ad website that works a bit like a cross between Craigslist and Airbnb. Furnish Finder offers far more safeguards than a random online classified. It is also free from many of the corporate hassles of Airbnb.
Like Airbnb, on Furnished Finder guests can view listings for available homes online and read reviews left by previous guests. Furnished Finder is different from Airbnb, however, because Furnished Finder allows you to communicate directly with hosts. Like Craigslist, on Furnished Finder, you can visit the property to see the home before you book your stay.
Typical Furnished Finder Users are…
Most users of this website are traveling nurses. The site was actually created to serve traveling nurses, but all sorts of people use Furnished Finder when they need a furnished short-term rental for a month or longer.
Some business travelers use Furnished Finder as an alternative to impersonal corporate housing. Others (including myself, when I moved to St. Louis) use the platform to rent a furnished home to live in while buying a home in a new city. One friend even used Furnished Finder while her home was undergoing an extensive remodel.
Places where Furnished Finder is an option as an alternative to Airbnb
At the time of the latest update to this article, Furnished Finder exclusively operates within the United States. It is open to both domestic and international guests.
Choosing Between a Room and an Entire Place
Like Airbnb, Furnished Finder gives guests the option to choose between having an entire home to themselves or renting a room in a home.
While renting a room in an occupied home is a less expensive alternative to renting an entire house, most introverts prefer to rent a whole house.
Thankfully, there are diverse housing options on Furnished Finder, Renting a small apartment by yourself may be less expensive, in some cases, than renting a room in a larger home with more amenities.
How to Pay on Furnished Finder
One thing I didn’t quite understand when I was new to the platform was how to pay my hosts for the home that I was renting. Furnished Finder doesn’t process payments. Instead, you will pay your host directly. The contract you’ll sign at the start of your rental will explain how to pay rent.
My monthly payment was simply a Venmo payment to the homeowner delivered on the first of each month.
My experience navigating and renting on Furnished Finder
I used Furnished Finder to secure a place to stay during my move to St. Louis in 2021. After years of renting from terrible property management firms in Seattle, I knew I was ready to buy a house when I moved to St Louis. To avoid multiple moves, I decided to find a furnished home or apartment to stay in until I closed on a house in St. Louis.
At first, navigating Furnished Finder was a little bit frustrating for me. Finding an available listing was harder than it appeared. A few times, I found a rental that seemed like it could work, sent a message to the homeowner, and got no response.
Despite these early setbacks, I continued to explore my options for short-term housing on the site. A week or so after I began looking in earnest, I connected with a couple soon leaving for international travel and seeking a tenant for their home. Although the home was larger than I wanted, I decided to go take a look at the property.
After renting hundreds of Airbnb’s around the world and having some mixed experiences with expectation-versus-reality of an Airbnb apartment, my favorite part of using the platform was being able to go and take a look at the house before I agreed to rent it.
Through Furnished Finder, I was able to visit the home, meet the homeowners, and have a walk-through introduction to the home. After viewing the house and meeting the homeowners, I decided to move forward with renting the first home I viewed in person from Furnished Finder.
Next Steps: From Verbal Agreement to Legal Agreement
The next step after I chose an available home on Furnished Finder was very similar to the process of renting an actual apartment.
The homeowners requested that I submit to a background and credit check, and I did a bit of my own web sleuthing to get a sense of whether the homeowners were what they claimed to be. With both parties satisfied, a contract was signed. I placed a $500 deposit to cover potential damages or cleaning required after my stay.
A few days later, the homeowners were bound for their international destination, and I moved into their home in a historic neighborhood of St. Louis.
Moving into my Furnished Finder Rental
After a few weeks in corporate housing and short-term Airbnbs, moving into my Furnished Finder apartment was near blissful.
It’s always good to be in a real home with a full kitchen after eating out way too much during my stays in shorter-term vacation-oriented rentals (Airbnb kitchens can be hard to cook in, however I do have some foolproof easy Airbnb Recipes).
The most frustrating thing I found about Furnished Finder rentals was the temporariness. Small problems – like a missing towel holder in the bathroom- were truly the smallest minor inconveniences. But it was frustrating knowing that if this was my home I could fix the problem in minutes. Because I was a guest, however, I just had to deal with the inconveniences.
Like any rental, Furnished Finder had surprises I didn’t anticipate: appliances that didn’t quite work, and minor annoyances that had been omitted in the listings. This, however, seems standard to every form of housing.
Ending my Furnished Finder stay
Moving out of my Furnished Finder apartment felt like moving out of any Airbnb. Well, except that I accumulated a lot more stuff during my two-month Furnished Finder rental! By the end of my stay, I had completed the purchase of a property in St. Louis. I was able to move from the Furnished Finder home directly to my new house.
After my stay, I was invited to leave a review for the home. Following my guidelines for how to leave a good Airbnb review, I left a positive and detailed public review.
After my Stay: Inviting a New Host
After my two-month stay in a Furnished Finder in St Louis, I recommended the site to a friend with a basement apartment for rent. Not interested in managing all the cleaning required to make a profit with an Airbnb listing, she was intrigued. Following my advice for how Airbnb hosts can attract long term guests, my Seattle friend prepared her apartment. Most hosts need to make some small changes to appeal to longer-term guests.
My friend decided to give the site a try. Now, 1 year later, she loves being a Furnished Finder host. She rents her Seattle basement apartment to guests interested in staying for one to three months. For her, the experience of hosting Furnished Finder guests has been positive.
Tips to Protect Yourself as a Renter on Furnished Finder
After a few years of dealing with predatory corporate property management in Seattle, I developed a few practices to help protect my interests when renting an apartment. Thankfully, these same skills come in handy for other situations, including renting apartments and homes on platforms like Furnished Finder. Here’s what you should do to make sure you aren’t scammed or held liable for damages that you did not cause in an Airbnb or Furnished Finder:
- Check references. Look to see if reviews for the property or property manager are available online. Search online for reviews by previous tenants.
- Verify. Reverse image search the listing photos to be sure they’re not stolen from another ad.
- Document. Before ever unpacking your luggage, take a video of your home. Walk slowly through the home. Film the home’s condition and closely note any damages to walls, doors, floors, etc. Then, immediately upload the video online. In the event of a dispute over damage in the apartment, you’ll have a time-stamped video proving the apartment’s condition from when you got possession.
Final Thoughts on Using Furnished Finder as an Alternative to Airbnb
I think that Furnished Finder has the potential to be a serious competitor for Airbnb. In many ways, it’s the experience Airbnb offered when it was new: real homes, with human hosts. When it comes to short-term rentals that are 30 days or longer, Furnished Finder is my pick. I think Furnished Finder, with its lower fees and greater transparency, provides many advantages over Airbnb for both hosts and guests.
Lynli Roman’s unique approach to travel is informed by a Masters Degree In Counseling Psychology, previous work as a research assistant, and decades of experience growing up on the road with a traveling family. When she’s not writing Seattle-focused content from her Pike Place Market apartment, Lynli writes on-location while conducting hands-on research in each destination she covers. Lynli’s writing has been featured by MSN, ABC Money, Buzzfeed, and HuffingtonPost. She is passionate about sharing information that makes travel more accessible for all bodies.
Tuesday 22nd of November 2022
i found a decent furnished finder. it was high though. the apt normally rents for 1500 a month, and he charged me close to 3k for a 1br including utilities, and furniture. im not going to lie though, the vast majority of folks who list on ff never respond to messages, and others are extremely suspicious. some will agree to show and then ghost you
Sunday 16th of October 2022
Thank you for all this information. We recently purchased a small home to be near our son & wife, however plans changed and we aren't moving just yet. I'm seriously thinking of listing it for rent on FF as I prefer not to have guest in & out & was a nurse for years. I have a home in Florida that i have rented out quite a bit to nurses that found my on the alternative sites. We have a few hospitals near our home & I was researching FF vs VRBO/ABB to offer guests and very much enjoyed your article.
Thursday 30th of June 2022
As a host, I'm able to charge much less to tenants on FF than Airbnb and still make more money. For a one month rental on Airbnb, I'll pay more than twice the amount in fees than I pay for a year on FF.
Howevet, FF is more a la carte. I do more of the leg work. I have to input info for leases, collect payments and negotiate directly with guest. I prefer to have a little more control over who comes into my home.
Wednesday 15th of June 2022
I tried twice to rent a place in Oceanside Ca. through Furnished Finders for a month before I make my permanent move down there. I was told no, the site was for traveling medical professionals only.
Thursday 30th of June 2022
@Bob, I don't know why anyone would tell you that. On tenant profiles it gives you the option of listing your profession, and nursing isn't the only one. Earlier this year I rented my house to 4 caddies in town for a tournament. And 2 months to a local couple who were having renovations done on their property.
Wednesday 29th of June 2022
@Bob, I'm a landlord on FF - and I've rented to people with various jobs - many who were not in the medical field - and they don't even have to be a traveller. I have a feeling they said they were looking for a travel medical professional - because most landlords won't rent for only 1 month. They may rent for 2 months - but the next option on FF shows 3 months.
LynLi Roman M.A.
Thursday 16th of June 2022
Thanks for adding your experience! I imagine it varies from one property owner to another. I've had good luck with it as a digital nomad!
Thursday 19th of May 2022
If you didn't I would have written a blog on FF. It's an incredible site. I have used it a lot. Initially I hesitated as I am in tech, not a nurse, but hosts are quite welcoming. Great job writing this up
Wednesday 29th of June 2022
@LynLi Roman M.A., Enjoyed your article on FF - and, YES, it's the MOST AMAZING site to connect landlords and travellers/roomies. So easy to navigate --- and I've found the best travellers.
LynLi Roman M.A.
Thursday 19th of May 2022
Thank you Guarav!