Do you know what time it is, Austinites? That’s right – SXSW 2014 is just around the corner!
But before you lock all of your doors the whole week to avoid the crowds, know that you could be missing out on a huge opportunity by renting out your home for SXSW. It’s true – hundreds of properties rent out their homes this week to take advantage of two major benefits: vacation away from the crowds and some extra money on the side! If you plan on renting out your home for SXSW, we have a few tips so that you can feel protected while a stranger is in your midst.
SXSW Is Massive
Every year, 50,000 people flock to Austin, Texas for the annual South by Southwest Festival to see industry titans from film, music, television, social media, technology and more. This year promises to be the biggest year yet, with planned speeches and keynotes from actor Nicolas Cage, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and more.
These are just some of the official events by the way. SXSW is famous for the surprise and secret performances and parties that happen every year that are open to the public, free of charge. Just last year, Justin Timberlake partnered with Myspace to surprise everyone with an intimate performance at the Coppertank Events Center. Other notable surprise performers and guests in the past have been Kanye West, Bill Murray, Tom Morello and Metallica.
What Is The Market For Short Term Home Rentals In Austin?
According to Austin Portfolio Real Estate agent Kim Fowler, it is extremely common for locals to rent out their homes for SXSW.
“Austin allows for 3% of all single family residences per Census tract to have a Short-Term Rental Permit,” Fowler said. “Most areas in Central Austin, closer to Town Lake are already at capacity for permits. Almost 300 STR permits have been issued to date in Austin.”
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Just look to online classifieds to see that the demand is there. In mid-February, there were over 500 listings on Craigslist for people looking for rentals in Austin during SXSW.
Between F1, SXSW, the X-Games and Austin City Limits, Austin is able to support huge events that are going to continue to promote thousands of tourists to head to the Lone Star State in need of rental properties.
Tips When Renting Out Your Home for SXSW
Having strangers occupy your property can be scary, but there are a number of precautions you can take to ensure that you are protected when renting out your home for SXSW:
- Ideally, know who you are renting to. If they aren’t a close friend or relative, do some online research to see if you can learn more about your potential tenants before you give them a key.
- Get a large deposit and a credit card number. Make sure that whoever rents out your property can be held responsible if damages or theft occur.
- Take all personal items like jewelry and money with you. At the very least, get a safe that you can store these items in.
- Lock all belongings in the garage or closet with key deadbolts. Designate one closet to store everything you don’t want your guests to have access to and lock it. Fill another closet with everything your tenants may need such as extra linens, pillow, etc. The easier you make it for your guests to find things, the less likely they will go rummaging through your personal belongings.
- Have a separate alarm code for visitors. If you have a home security system, you can assign a temporary code to the renters. This way, your house can remain protected during your absence and you can monitor your home’s safety remotely with your smartphone.
- Consider re keying your home after guests leave. The renters may have made copies in your absence.
- Drop by or suggest you may come by to check on them. The less that your renters know your exact schedule, the better.
Whether you stay in town for the festivities, or head out on a small vacation, we hope that this advice will give you peace of mind.
By Tim Krebs