Olympic Lesson to Homeowners: Major Events Offer Major Opportunities

One advantage of owning your home: you can use it to generate income. Maybe you rent a room out, or have a fully separate in-law in the basement. You get help with your mortgage and if you need it/want it, some company.

But if you’re more like me, you don’t thrill to the idea of renting out a room because you’ve been renting all your life, sharing your space with various people. As a first-time buyer, I’d like to avoid living with strangers if I can. That doesn’t mean I can’t cash in occasionally though-- as we learn from homeowners in London, England who are using Olympic fever to make a little gold of their own.

Renting Your Home Out For Special Occasions

Renting your home during special events can generate incomeWith the Olympics in London, tourism there has shot through the roof. Hotels have been booked for ages, so London homeowners suddenly find themselves with a unique opportunity: they can rent out a room, or even their entire home, and cash in on the record high prices lodging fetches right now. The Guardian UK even covered a story of a landlord evicting a tenant to make room for visitors who’d pay much more than the original lease: “{The tenant’s} landlord wants her to move out for a month so he can rent the flat out to Olympic visitors for £1,400 per week….If she doesn’t leave for that time, apparently he would look to increase her rent to make up for the income he thinks he could get during the Olympics.” Apparently with a month-to-month contract, the landlord has the legal right to do this.

Whether your personal ethics would stretch so far or not, you too can use a popular event to make a few bucks. And you don't have to be, or even become, a full-time landlord. You can be a temporary one. In San Francisco, homeowners have already listed their homes for rent in advance of the America’s Cup sailing race. SFGate wrote that “Nick and MaryAnne Tortorelli will offer their updated Noe Valley Victorian through ReListo for $30,000 a month. Similarly, the Lokey family of Russian Hill will list their condo for “$30,000 or $40,000 a month” during the race.

You don’t have to own something as grand as a Noe Valley or Russian Hill luxury abode, either. My parents, who live in Santa Cruz, CA, an hour and a half south of San Francisco, are listing a room and bath for rent during the Cup for $60 a night weekdays, and $75 a night weekends. Using the popular AirBnB (free to list!), they’ve already had inquiries and are now thinking about renting out the whole house, taking a vacation themselves while making some money.

Other Events to Consider for Temporary Renting:

  • Graduations: If you live near a college, graduation time could be a great chance to rent out lodging to traveling families. Generally, with large colleges, nearby hotels fill up quickly.
  • Summer school tours: List your home with local private colleges. When families come to tour such colleges, they may want somewhere to stay awhile, to see how life really is in the area.
  • Rodeos
  • World’s fairs
  • Major sports events like the World’s Series, NBA Playoffs, NASCAR, Superbowl and Kentucky Derby
  • Political events: Obama’s inauguration in Washington D.C. brought so many overnight visitors, they ended up bedding down in neighboring states.

Do You Live Near a Tourist Draw?

Home near the Seattle Space Needle? Near Faneuil Hall in Boston?  Near a major jazz club in Chicago?  Near South by Southwest in Austin? When visitors are headed your way, you can list, temporarily or long term, your house or just a room therein. Make some money, maybe make some friends, and enjoy yet another perk of owning a home.

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Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert.