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Atlanta Newlywed Saddled with Townhouse that Wouldn't Sell

An Accidental Landlord Story


When Tanya Niketas was about to get married, she and her new husband were faced with a dilemma faced by many newlyweds… what do to with their individual homes. They each owned a home but they wanted to buy a larger home together. The good news is her husband was able to sell his home, but Tanya wasn’t so lucky with her townhouse. The market was declining and the home's current value was less than what she owed on it. Selling was not an option if she wanted to come out of the process without losing her savings!

Like many homeowners, Tanya initially tried to rent out her townhouse as a traditional rental.

"It was a nightmare in terms of wear and tear on my home. People were moving in and out with all their furniture. The fees I made barely covered rent and maintenance costs. Plus, I was stuck in long-term lease agreements," says Tanya.

Fed up with the traditional rental process, Tanya decided to convert her townhome into a furnished rental. She was familiar with the corporate rental process because she had done it in the past with her primary residence.

Tanya and her husband would spend several months at a time at a beach house near their family in South Carolina. To be able to afford such an extended vacation, the couple rented out their primary home. Tanya says doing this enabled her to "more than cover" her costs.

"After having such continued success finding renters for our personal home as a corporate rental on CHBO, we decided it made sense to covert our townhome into a corporate rental as well," says Tanya. "I don’t know why we didn't do it sooner!"

Tanya quickly found the townhome's first renter upon listing her property on CHBO.

Now, more than a year later, Tanya reflects that her townhome has only been vacant for 12 days in the last year!

"Occupancy consistency is by far better with a furnished rental versus a traditional unfurnished rental," she says. "Our goal has always been to maintain positive cash flow until we’re able to eventually sell the property. Corporate Housing by Owner helps us do just that."

We asked Tanya to share some tips about what it takes to be a successful Corporate Housing by Owner landlord – even if she's a landlord by accident:

What were the biggest challenges to getting started as a corporate housing landlord?
The biggest challenges were establishing protocol and altering the lease contract for each of our properties. Renting out our main house was (we thought at the time) a one-time 'test run', so that was pretty seamless. But in establishing the townhouse as an ongoing rental with guests coming and going, I ran into issues trying to get consistent systems in place such as cleaning/maintenance, inspection, turnover protocol, etc.

CHBO has lots of great tools and forms for people to use to help them get set up. I was most challenged by contracts and how to document everything that needed to be documented. Make sure you find a good rental contract to use or work with a lawyer to create one specific to your property.

What resources, advice, etc. did you find most useful to get started as a corporate housing landlord?
The CHBO template for creating the listing made it really easy to get my property up on the site. Also, having support and someone to answer questions along the way was very useful. I often spoke with one of the property specialists at CHBO (Eric) who answered many of my questions. He even suggested that I reconsider my rates based on square footage and current market rates. His suggestion was invaluable to insuring maximum profitability for my rental property.

How long did it take you to list your property on CHBO?
The manual listing part took only about an hour, but staging everything for pictures took a little bit of time to get things the way we wanted.

What would you have done differently when accommodating your first tenants?
My first tenants at the townhouse rushed me into letting them move in a few days early and it was a disaster. I explained to them that the air conditioner was being serviced but they insisted it would be fine, and then of course they complained because it was hot for the first 24 hours. I should have waited until it was done before I agreed to let them move. My advice is to never let anyone rush you into anything involving this process. Regardless of the intentions, it creates unnecessary stress for everyone. Fortunately those guests didn't stay for long and now I know what not to do.
 



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