When people complain about work, it’s often not about the job itself but the toll it takes on their lives in the form of local commuting, out-of-town business trips, stressful packing and unpacking, and time away from family and friends. Whether you’re just starting to make your mark in your profession or finally on the fast track to fame and fortune, investing in a pied-à-terre might actually be a great way to improve your out-of-town arrangements.
What is a Pied-à-Terre?
Simply stated, a pied-à-terre is a second home. It may be rented, leased, or, if you’re really rolling in money, purchased outright. It can be a modest studio apartment, a luxury condo, or a sprawling house. The French word literally translates to “foot on the ground” because pied-à-terres were initially ground-floor apartments executives on the go called home whenever they were in town for business.
Where They’re Popular
In 2014, a study showed that London had the largest concentration of pied-à-terres in the world, with around 22,300. In second place was New York City with 17,400. Hong Kong came up third, followed by Singapore. In recent years, as business travel has increased all around the world, second homes have only gained favor in major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Reasons a Pied-à-Terre May Be Right for You
Saving money is generally the main reason for a company setting up a pied-à-terre for frequent business travelers. After all, it ends up being cheaper than staying in nice hotels in the long run, and not just the five-star variety, either. Statistics indicate that about 7 percent of business travelers spend a minimum of 30 days of the year in a hotel at an average 2018 cost of $165 per night. Although your company may have good “deals” with hotels where they frequently put up employees, a pied-à-terre is often less expensive overall.
A single apartment can also be used by multiple employees throughout the year, eliminating the need to repeatedly book rooms for stays that may vary in length and change in the middle of business trips, which translates to wasting money on rooms that were never used in the first place. Plus, being able to prepare your own meals in a pied-à-terre is also appealing to companies who find themselves overpaying as a result of their employees eating out three times a day. Stress is also reduced in a home-like environment, increasing employee productivity and overall happiness.
Rising home prices have pushed many working-class people into rural areas to find affordable housing. This often means long commutes twice a day to and from the cities where they work. This daily grind not only adversely affects mental and physical health, but it also breaks down family ties through lack of communication and physical contact. And with all your free time spent on the road, the time you give your body to unwind and rest is undoubtedly going to decrease.
A pied-à-terre alleviates the stress of commuting for hours every day. You get a good night’s rest on a regular basis, and when the weekend rolls around, you can spend time with your family in your best mental and physical condition.
Visiting family in outlying areas is important, but it can be very costly if they have no guest rooms to offer. Instead of racking up hotel costs, why not sign a lease on a nearby pied-à-terre? After all, it offers a homey atmosphere at the end of the day, not to mention a place where you can entertain visitors in a leisurely, intimate setting. Keeping clothes, personal accessories, and hygiene items at the pied-à-terre also means you can make impromptu visits without the hassle of packing a bag. The pied-à-terre option is especially handy if you frequently visit an elderly relative in an assisted living facility or a son or daughter living on a college campus.
A lot of people move to the suburbs when they start a family. Whether it’s for a safer environment, better schools, or just more wide open spaces to roam around, suburbia never seems to lose its appeal. But if find yourself longing for the bright lights and big city amenities after leaving them behind for a nice quiet place in the burbs, a pied-à-terre could be the perfect solution for you. Just think: once or twice a month, you could escape to your “home away from home” and be close to all those big city treats you miss: boutique shopping, live entertainment, fine dining, art galleries, and museums all just a few blocks away. Just to be safe, try a weekend rental at a couple different places to test the waters before committing to anything long-term.
Buying a pied-à-terre can also be a moneymaker as well as a money saver. You could actually cover the monthly payments by renting it yourself out whenever you don’t need it for your personal use. Besides, traveling consumers are increasingly opting to stay in bona fide homes with kitchens and other homey accommodations rather than pay for a big bed, small dresser, and a couple of chairs in a hotel room.