CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It is not just hotels banking on the influx of crowds for the Democratic National Convention. With the announcement of Charlotte as host city came the websites, www.dncdigs.com, www.dncrental.com and most recently, www.dnc2012rbo.com and www.dncrentalproperty.com.
They are all aimed at linking homeowners with convention visitors who might desire a house or condo instead of a hotel room.
“I think it is a tremendous opportunity for the city,” said Mike Bake, who also saw opportunity for his custom four-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home in Charlotte’s Plaza Midwood neighborhood.
“The house has seen 150 people here at one point during a party and it handled it without a problem,” Bake said.
Listed on www.dncdigs.com, Bake received inquiries within a month. His house is now rented for convention week with several other potential renters interested in case the first deal falls through.
“It’ll be a hotel-like experience because we’re providing daily maid service. In this situation, the folks who are interested in this house have a contract with a chef that I know and she’s set up to provide three meals a day if that is what they want,” he said.
In addition to space to accommodate a crowd, renters also get use of Bake’s backyard pool. The price for his conveniently located home is $10,000 for the week.
“If you consider a two-bedroom condo downtown is going for $7,500, $8,000 for a two-bedroom. This is four bedrooms for $10,000,” he said. “I think it is a pretty fair bargain. And without any traffic it is 10 minutes from the convention center.”
The location of Bake’s home certainly helped peak interest quickly. But what if your home is located a little farther out, 14 miles from Center City across the Gaston County line in Mt. Holly? Is it too much of a stretch to offer it up for rent? Not if you ask homeowner Brendan Urban.
“We’re about 18 to 19 minutes from the Time Warner Cable Arena,” said Urban.
If you think about convention guests staying in hotels in surrounding counties, then Urban said his location just off of Interstate 85 still makes sense.
“It is a three-bedroom. It is $750 a night is what I’m asking,” he said. The house is on the Catawba River and within kayaking distance of the U.S. National Whitewater Center. But that is not his major sell.
“Since April of last year, I’ve been trying to make my home more green,” Urban explained. “I’ve installed solar panels and a wind turbine.”
Here, the lights, the washer/dryer, even the television coverage of the convention run off the grid.
“I’ve had a couple of people who were not interested in the rental, but when they saw the green aspect of the house they were asking questions about that,” Urban added.
In addition, Urban is helping other homeowners find renters. He and a friend started www.dncrental.com.
“We’ve talked about offering different things like transportation,” he said.
Back in Charlotte, Bake knows what he’ll be doing convention week.
“I’m going to stay locally. I’m pool boy for the week,” he joked.
If you’re thinking about renting your property, you do need to consider a few things. If you live in a condo, make sure your association allows short term rentals. Check with your insurance company to make sure any damage would be covered.
And, think about keeping one locked closet or room for valuables.
Costs vary. One site, www.dncrentalproperty.com is free for now.
Others charge from $35 to $125 per listing. It is then up to the homeowner to work out all the details with interested parties.
Local property management firms are also offering to help with DNC specific programs. One of those, MECA Properties at www.mecaproperties/dnchousing.com, plans to charge a 20 percent fee but will do all the work, including rental agreements and 24-hour maintenance.
MECA is also working with several uptown condo complexes to rent large sections of buildings.