Want to rent out your home dur­ing con­ven­tion?

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - News - BY HAN­NAH LANG [email protected]­lot­teob­server.com

Char­lotte-area res­i­dents are al­ready think­ing of ways to cash in on the Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion that is com­ing here in 2020. Some need only look as far as their front door.

Take Kevin Stringari. In 2012, he and his wife left town for the week and hosted guests in their up­town apart­ment for the du­ra­tion of the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion. Over the seven-day pe­riod, he made $3,000. It cov­ered the cost of their va­ca­tion and rent for

the month.

Now Stringari, who works in prop­erty man­age­ment, serves as a host for 12 Airbnb prop­er­ties around the city. His com­pany, Bot­tom Line Realty & Man­age­ment, has worked with tra­di­tional rental prop­er­ties be­fore, but Stringari said he’s found Airbnbs to be more lu­cra­tive.

There are about 1,500 ac­tive Airbnb hosts in Char­lotte, ac­cord­ing to the San Fran­cisco-based lodg­ing com­pany. And over 100,000 guests have stayed at their prop­er­ties in the last year. Other home rental ser­vices have a smaller pres­ence in Char­lotte: For in­stance, Trip Ad­vi­sor sub­sidiary Flip Key had 52 rentals avail­able, ac­cord­ing to its web­site.

Now, an­other na­tional event pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for even in­ex­pe­ri­enced hosts to make some money.

“Par­tic­u­larly for spe­cial events like the con­ven­tion… we find that we have a num­ber of first­time hosts and first-time guests,” said Crys­tal Davis, a spokes­woman for Airbnb. “It’s a good op­por­tu­nity for (hosts) to make in­come and make use of their home.”

Stringari said he will con­tinue host­ing through the RNC, and plans to raise rates dur­ing that pe­riod. Typ­i­cally, he said, he charges $90-110 per night. But dur­ing the RNC, he could see charg­ing $300-400.

Big events like the RNC come with high de­mand for hous­ing, Davis said. And with ho­tels typ­i­cally booked up, Airbnb host­ing can be eas­ier and more af­ford­able.

There are 26,000 ho­tel rooms in Meck­len­burg County, ac­cord­ing to Char­lotte’s bid for the con­ven­tion, a num­ber that will soon in­clude 6,000 cen­ter city rooms. At the 2016 RNC, an es­ti­mated 50,000 vis­i­tors flocked to Cleve­land.

Be­com­ing an Airbnb host is “fairly easy,” Stringari said. Po­ten­tial hosts sign up through the ser­vice’s web­site, where they can cre­ate a list­ing with pho­tos and de­scrip­tions of their prop­erty, in ad­di­tion to de­tails such as amen- ities. Hosts are able to mes­sage po­ten­tial guests, and pay­ment is han­dled through the Airbnb web­site.

But it’s also im­por­tant that ren­ters check their leases be­fore sign­ing up for home-shar­ing ser­vices, be­cause some land­lords pro­hibit it.

Ad­di­tion­ally, if home­own­ers want to reg­u­larly host guests, it’s im­por­tant that they talk with their in­sur­ance agent, said Stu­art Pow­ell, tech­ni­cal con­sul­tant with the In­de­pen­dent In­sur­ance Agents of North Carolina. Cov­er­age may be lim­ited or un­avail­able for home­own­ers reg­u­larly en­gag­ing in rental ac­tiv­ity, Pow­ell said, and res­i­dents should be sure they’re not putting them­selves at risk.

“Some­one that wanted to do this reg­u­larly should prob­a­bly look into buy­ing ad­di­tional cov­er­age, like some­thing that a bed and break­fast would have,” Pow­ell said.

Dur­ing the 2016 RNC in Cleve­land, Airbnb hosts made over $1.7 mil­lion, the com­pany said. An es­ti­mated 1,900 guests ar­rived at Airbnb prop­er­ties— up four times from pre­vi­ous weeks.

Some res­i­dents wel­come the chance to leave town, Davis said, avoid­ing the traf­fic and hassle of a large event while still mak­ing some money.

Stringari said he’s seen in­ter­est in his Char­lotte Airbnbs grow as years go by.

As na­tional events like the 2012 DNC and 2020 RNC con­tinue to put Char­lotte in the na­tional spot­light, it’s likely that more and more peo­ple will come to Char­lotte, Stringari said.

Davis said that look­ing be­yond fi­nan­cial gain, host­ing can be a great way for res­i­dents to show­case their home­town. “(It’s an) op­por­tu­nity to bring tourism traf­fic to their com­mu­nity that might not be known for that other­wise,” she said.

Kevin Stringari

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