Simon Le, a business manager for Group 15, a real estate company handling short-term convention rentals in Charlotte, said he's been receiving nearly a dozen phone calls each day from people who want to list their homes — but only a few calls a week from prospective renters.
And his company has gotten picky. They will only take houses within two miles of Uptown, Charlotte's main business district. He said he expects to rent more homes just before the convention.
Some homeowners haven't given up.
On Craigslist, there were 904 listings for convention home and apartment rentals in the the Tampa Bay region. The price, quality and location varied widely. One listing was for a 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath luxury townhome along Tampa Bay for $20,000 for the week. Another was for $175 a night for a 7-night home rental near a campy mermaid-themed water park 90 minutes north of the convention site.
Not only does the city of Tampa have plenty of hotel rooms, but there is a longstanding condo-hotel-apartment rental culture across the bay on Pinellas County's sugar-sand beaches. Because of the year-round sunny weather, nice beaches and golf, Tampa and Pinellas County are home to a thriving second home culture as well.
Factor in plummeting home values, high unemployment and a weak economy in the Tampa Bay region, and it's easy to see why homeowners would want to pounce on those renting for the RNC. The trouble in actually cutting any deals is twofold, real estate agents say: Too many property owners offered their homes for rent and set out-of-reach prices.
Nick Nicholson of Bradenton, Fla. decided to list his second home on Craigslist recently for $200 a night during the RNC. He bought it as an investment and it's empty at the moment. It has three bedrooms, a pool and is near the beach, about an hour south in Bradenton. Nicholson knows the location might be working against him.
"I just kind of threw it out there," he said.
Nicholson also offered another perk: chauffeur service. In the ad, he offers to drive the renters around in his Lincoln Town Car.
So far, no one has bitten.
Tamara Lush reported from Tampa, Fla.
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