An estimated 35,000 people — from delegates and journalists to scores of protesters and police — will be flocking to North Carolina’s largest city to attend the three-day convention in early September. He figures some of those visitors might want a bigger place to stay than a cramped hotel room with no backyard.
So a few months ago, Read listed his three-bedroom, two-bathroom house as a short-term rental. His price: $7,000 a week.
“There are a lot of people coming to Charlotte and this was a good way to make money. Why not?” said Read, the director of real estate at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte’s Belk College of Business. “A lot of people felt the same way .... But the closer you get to the convention, the more you see people looking for last minute bargains.”
It’s a similar situation in Tampa, Fla., host city for the Republican National Convention: homeowners looking to make a quick buck all with the added benefit of giving them a chance to get out while their hometown is overrun by convention-goers and snarled with tightened security.
Charlotte and Tampa officials say they have enough hotel and motel rooms to handle the crowds. But some listed their homes just in case people wanted an alternative to hotels. They’re banking on landing visitors who didn’t plan ahead and need a place to stay and also targeting big groups with deep pockets, such as lobbyists who want more space to entertain.
When homeowners in the two cities first began listing their properties, the prices were steep. Some were asking up to $20,000 a week. One Charlotte homeowner wanted $50,000 to rent his five-bedroom house for a month.