In 2006, when the building industry was at its peak and the economy in good shape, Marlene Johnson and her husband decided to buy a condo in Phoenix (about 10 miles outside of Tempe, Arizona). They visited the area often because their daughter lived there and they saw a ripe investment opportunity.
Marlene fully furnished and beautifully decorated the Phoenix condo, which includes travertine floors, stainless steel appliances and gleaming granite countertops. The location was perfect too - just a few miles from downtown with easy access to the freeways.
However, the couple needed their Phoenix condo to be rented out part of the year in order for them to make their mortgage payments. The couple was feeling the financial heat as they had recently bought a larger home in Woodland Hills, California.
As luck would have it, Marlene was able to rent her Phoenix home to friend of a friend for several years - but when that tenant no longer needed their home, they decided to list it on Craigslist and with a local Realtor - sadly they got no bites.
Landlords Get Creative When Times are Tough
Not one to sit idle, Marlene decided to get creative and began doing a little research online. There she found CorporateHousingbyOwner.com (CHBO), an online portal that enables homeowners to list and market their fully furnished properties to corporate housing executives and others seeking fully furnished, temporary rentals. After speaking with the company's co-founder and with several of CHBO's customers, she was convinced to give CHBO a try.
Within hours of listing her property (ID #3092) on CHBO, she had her first inquiry - a Fortune 500 company that wanted to rent her condo to an intern for the entire summer. Not only that, but she was able to get a great rate for the property too!
"CHBO has been a wonderful resource for getting exposure in the Phoenix market, even when the heat is on!" she says, ecstatic that her property was rented during a season when there are less visitors to the area.
She said after her summer tenant moved out, she elected for a CHBO "sponsored ad," which spotlighted her property on the CHBO homepage; again, within hours, she got a call from a new tenant who stayed in her property for another month!
Managing a Long-Distance Property
Marlene says managing a long distance property is challenging, but not impossible. She makes arrangements for the property to be cleaned when her tenant moves out and she often uses the time between tenants to enjoy the property herself and visit her daughter. Plus, she says it doesn't hurt to have her daughter in town to keep an eye on the place, as well as a helpful neighbor too.
Overall, Marlene is pleased with being a corporate housing landlord and says that corporate rentals have been the best solution for her and her husband.
"With the economy the way it is, we would take a huge loss in selling the Phoenix condo. Plus, we really can't afford the luxury of having it at our 'beck and call.' It's nice to have someone live there and pay our mortgage while we continue to earn equity," she says. "We just keep our fingers crossed that our success continues!"