Chicago Couple Finds Success in Corporate Rental Market
In 2004, Kajal Agarwal and her husband bought a 2 bed/2 bath condo in Chicago's established Lakeview neighborhood. The low rise brick building was located less than two blocks from Lake Michigan and Chicago's popular lakefront attractions.
After living in the condo for four years, the couple decided it was time to head to the suburbs. They desired a larger living space and good schools for their son who was about to start kindergarten.
Because the couple didn't want to carry two mortgages, nor did they want to sell in this tumultuous housing market (there were two other for-sale condos in their building that both had been on the market for more than a year!), the couple decided to try their hand at renting.
Kajal says her first renter experience was "disastrous." Her renter never paid rent and it took her four months to get him out of her condo. Fearing another bad experience, the couple looked into converting their condo into a corporate housing rental in order to attract professional clientele. As a former traveling business consultant, Kajal was familiar with the corporate housing concept.
"I felt that corporate rentals were safer, more lucrative and more interesting than individual rentals so in July we made the switch," Kajal said.
Kajal said she spent about $3,000 furnishing the condo before listing it on CorporateHousingbyOwner.com (CHBO), a website that connects individual homeowners offering fully-furnished short-term rentals with potential corporate housing renters.
“A CHBO representative gave me some great tips on how to get started without spending a ton of money," she said.
After listing the property in July 2008, Kajal immediately received interest from a California woman who needed a furnished rental for one month while visiting her daughter. Next, a family from Belgium contacted her to rent her condo for six months!
"We are truly amazed by the CHBO coverage not only in U.S. but across Europe and Asia also," she says. “You just have to be positive, even though it's hard in this economy. We've received good responses through CHBO and have attracted quality renters that we don't worry about ruining our condo. We have recovered a lot of our costs already and believe that it was well worth going the extra mile of furnishing our home and offering it as a corporate rental."
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