MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — With Super Bowl 2020 just around the corner, the idea is a tempting proposition: Got a spare room or home to rent? Lease it out to party-minded football fans who need a place to stay for the big game in Miami.
And why not? South Florida hotels are filling up fast, prices are rising toward the nose bleed section and home sharing appears to be the best alternative for consumers who don't hobnob with the rich and famous.
Airbnb, the international home sharing platform, is conducting a series of workshops next month to show would-be "hosts" in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties how to jump into the game.
"We're looking to target people putting out an initial home or a room for the Super Bowl," said Airbnb spokesman Sam Randall.
Airbnb and its Georgia hosts were active last February for Super Bowl 2019 in Atlanta, which "saw nearly 11,000 guest arrivals with supplemental host income of nearly $3.5 million, close to $700 per host." Nearly a quarter of the hosts were first-timers.
Thus far in South Florida, more than 11,000 fans have booked townhomes, condos and other digs between Jan. 30 and Feb. 2, the day of the game, Randall said. A little more than 4,000 of them are in Broward. No data was available for Palm Beach County. But he said the Airbnb booking numbers for the game are "significantly higher" in January and early February than in non-Super Bowl years.
"During these events, home sharing not only expands available lodging options but give hosts the chance to earn extra income by sharing their home while helping guests live like a local," the company said in a statement. It projects an average daily room rate of $136 for the South Florida hosts.
But while homesharing might be a tempting idea, it's not a clear path to a quick buck, veteran hosts warn. The business itself takes a level of attentiveness that is not for the impatient investor.
Fort Lauderdale real estate agent Sara Dorfman, who is now in her fourth year as an Airbnb host, operates a triplex in Victoria Park for short-term renters. She also maintains a property in the city's upscale Rio Vista section.
"It's a lot (of work) and a lot of people don't want to take it on," she said.
She suggested that owners willing to commit to the business beyond the Super Bowl are the most likely ones to make money at it.
"I just don't see how it would be worth it," she said of renting only for the Super Bowl. "You have to be approved by the city and have a certificate of occupancy from the city."
Among other things, the upfront local government fees alone range into the hundreds of dollars.
For those who do want to enter homesharing game, here are some tips:
- Homeowners should check with their local governments to ensure homesharing is permitted in their towns or cities, and if so, obtain copies of the rules. Many cities such as Fort Lauderdale require homeowners to register, obtain permits and pay initial and seasonal fees. Cities also require onsite inspections as well as fire alarms, fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors and land telephone lines in the event of emergencies.
- Screen inbound guests. "I don't do that for every single inquiry," Dorfman said. "But I really try to be extra cautious" during high profile events such as the Super Bowl. Ask how many people are in the group? What are the ages? What's the purpose of the trip? "Usually those three questions get it done," she said. If the would-be renters balk, it's easy to move on to the next rental candidate.
- Make sure the property you're offering via social and other media channels actually reflects the environment and amenities advertised. One time, Dorfman recalled, a girlfriend came to town for a bachelorette party only to find her unit had no pool furniture. But it was depicted in an ad that contained professional photos from the Realtor.
- Make sure the guests "have the accommodations they need -- a comfortable home they can go into, not something (the host) threw together in the last minute." Remove personal belongings from the home.
- Know your area and be prepared to answer guest questions about the community, restaurants, landmarks and how to get around. "Hosts who are very successful are the ones who live here," Dorfman said. "You have to cater to the guests. You have to make yourself available and really help them out."
- Once established, operators have lots of opportunities to turn their properties into cash generators.
For the Super Bowl, Dorfman acknowledged that like the hotels, she, too, is raising her rates. Two and three-bedroom units are going from $300 a night to $500 or $550.
"This year alone has been one of our busiest years and already we have had requests for the Super Bowl," she said. "I have two of my properties booked for the Super Bowl already. I'm pretty much booked from the current day through New Year's."
- Let a manager do it
For those homeowners or investors who don't want to bother with the details of running a homeshare operation, there are management companies that will do the job for a fee.
Keyes Property Management is ramping up such an operation for homeowners between Miami and Port St. Lucie, said Benjamin Gene, the company president. Of the 600 condos and single family homes the company manages, 25 are in play as short-term rentals.
"One of the nice pieces of the homesharing business is the prices can increase," he said. "We absolutely intend to see a rather large increase for the Super Bowl."
His main worry: that big, unruly parties will offer political ammunition for homesharing opponents to persuade cities to heavily regulate operators "and put them out business."
Information from: Sun Sentinel , http://www.sun-sentinel.com/