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How to Rent Your Home for the 2013 Presidential Inauguration

If you are thinking about listing your home (or a room in it) to rent for the 2013 presidential inauguration weekend, here's some advice.

If it seems like you’re hearing less about people trying to rent out their homes for the 2013 Presidential Inauguration than you were four years ago, you aren’t imagining it.

Fewer people are trying to rent out their condos, apartments and houses for this inauguration than for President Barack Obama’s first presidential inauguration in 2009, and the prices for home rentals have dropped.

One reason: Officials just aren’t expecting crowds as big as they were in 2009, when, by some estimates, 1.8 million people flooded the city. The projected crowd for the 2013 inauguration is fewer than 1 million people, the Associated Press reported.

A check of Craigslist, Airbnb.com and other home rental websites that serve the DC area revealed very few homes listed for more than $1,000 per night—those that were in that price range are high-end condos in downtown DC very close to the National Mall and the inauguration festivities. Most rentals in Arlington near Metro stations start under $400 per night.

For more presidential inauguration information, see Patch's 2013 Presidential Inauguration special section here.

Despite the cooler-than-last-time market, some DC area residents are taking the rental plunge for the first time. Georgetown resident Traci Seigel told Patch she lives in a more desirable area than she did four years ago and is interested in renting out her two-story, one-bedroom, 650-square-foot home for the weekend.

Siegel is working with Alana Faustina, a Realtor who is offering services like abackground check, handling keys, accepting payment and other logistics. Siegel is also advertising her home on her own through a Democratic listserv and the Georgetown neighborhood list serv.

Faustina said people going through this process for the first time—guest or host—may be nervous.

"Our best suggestion to ease their worries would be to have them communicate through conversation to get a better sense of the other family and what they may be like," Faustina said. "This allows them to ask questions about the home, the neighborhood and anything else so they will all enjoy the experience all together."

With safety on the forefront of her mind, Siegel said she plans to take payment in advance via Paypal and do her own background check if she finds a renter on her own.

Taking payment in advance via Paypal or a credit card service is a good idea, Fairfax County Police Department Public Information Officer Lucy Caldwell said.

Here are additional tips from the Fairfax County Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit:

  • Remember online connections can be risky; be careful and act with caution. Consider getting references from the potential lesees.
  • Use care to either lock up or remove your valuables (such as jewelry/precious metals), including personal documents, such as tax returns/bank statements.
  • Consider a formal lease agreement.
  • Keep track of all keys issued to lease. Give them one and make sure you’re getting the same one back. If a key is lost, charge a fee to change all locks.

With safety in check, here are some additional advice and resources if you’re thinking about renting your home for the 2013 Presidential Inauguration:

Advertising - Several reputable housing rental sites have services to help you, including HotPads.com, AirBNB.com, or a paid service like homeaway.com. Many residents are using local email listservs or newsletters to get the word out locally, too.

Setting Your Price – How much you can get for your room, apartment, condo or home will depend on several factors, including whether you are close to a Metro stop or an otherwise desirable area, how many bedrooms and bathrooms you have and amenities—does your condo have a pool and a game room that your guests can use, for example? Look for other rentals near you to see what other people are charging.

Should You Stay or Should You Go? – You may choose to stay in your house and just rent out a room or two. There are many factors to weigh: It may lessen what you can charge, but you may feel better being able to keep a very close eye on your valuables. Of course, there may be some awkwardness in sharing a bathroom with complete strangers.

Contract – You’ll want to set up a rental agreement or contract, specifying payment and payment due dates, arrival and departure dates and times, rules of the house, consequences for failure to follow the rules of the house and more. Treat this like a business transaction with something you value highly—your home

Are you renting out your home for the 2013 presidential inauguration? If you rented your home in 2009 for the presidential inauguration, what advice would you give to other people? Tell us in the comments!

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