Natascha O'Flaherty and her husband lived in a beautiful Denver home located in an upscale community called Hilltop. They also owned a second home in the mountains. After nine years of living in Denver, the couple decided they were "mountain people at heart" and decided it was time to take up full-time residence in the Rocky Mountains.
This decision came during a housing market slump, so the couple decided that rather than sell their Denver home, they would keep it as an investment property and rent it out.
"Our preference was to sell, but obviously we didn't want to sell in a down market," says Natascha. "It was more lucrative for us to use our home as a corporate rental and enable the home to appreciate over time. If we would have sold it and put the money in an investment account, especially in the last six months, we would have lost so much more."
The couple decided to market the home as a fully furnished executive rental and discovered a website called "CorporateHousingbyOwner.com", which would put their luxury home directly in front of potential corporate housing tenants.
Within days of listing their home on "CorporateHousingbyOwner.com", the couple landed their first renter: A couple in the process of building a home with a builder running two months behind schedule! After that, Natascha lined up an executive, along with his wife, who was being relocated to Denver. Since then Natascha has scored a string of renters with little down time in between.
The true benefit of CorporateHousingbyOwner.com, she says, is that it's a "refreshing alternative" to traditional corporate housing rentals, which are dominated by hotel-like apartments.
"I would have been thrilled to find the equivalent of our home as turnkey rental when we spent a year living in Chicago," she says. "It's a unique opportunity to be able to rent a fully-furnished high-end home, especially for families who are new to a city because they wouldn't have to immediately commit to buying a home or signing a long-term lease."
Natascha offers future corporate housing landlords this advice:
Keep Renters' Needs Front and Center: She says that landlords should always keep in mind what renters need and want they want when they come to town. "We understand that pets are part of the family and are willing to accommodate most pets. We furnished the home well beyond the essentials. We leave a welcome note and welcome gift to welcome our guests - all these things add up to impart a quality experience for our tenants."
Do Your Homework: Natascha says that it's important to do your homework. "A landlord should think about all the details, from setting the lease terms to conducting background checks, managing walk-throughs and handling routine maintenance," she says. "One of the best pieces of advice given to me was to have the renter sign off on the condition of the unit - this way the renter is taking responsibility for anything broken or missing from the home when they leave."
Pay Attention to Finances: Natascha further advises that someone should sit down with accountant to address issues like depreciation, income, tracking expenses related to the property, etc. You must run this like a business if you want to be successful and it's important to have qualified advisors helping you along the way."
Foster Open Communications: And most of all, Natascha says she would advise that a corporate housing landlord fosters at good and open relationship with his or her tenant. "Give your tenant your cell phone and be available to them. I've found that I have a better relationship with a tenant when he or she has complete access to me."
Natascha says that she truly enjoys being a corporate housing landlord. "Now that we've gotten our feet wet, I suspect we'll be corporate housing landlords for many years. It has been a good business decision for us and we've been lucky to have a string of sound tenants."
"In the meantime," she adds, " we're looking for ways to market our property even more broadly and are in the process of building our own website that will provide even more details about our Denver home to potential renters."