Super Bowl VRBO?
Football season is here and especially exciting for Minnesotans this year with an energetic new Gophers coach and winning home opener for the Vikings. But the really, really big football event will be Super Bowl LII (52) at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018. The Minnesota Host Committee plans to show the fans a good time and has 10 days of “Bold North” hoopla, fun and activities in the making.
Estimates for the number of visitors coming to Minnesota for the game are around a million—fans and droves of people who work for the NFL, media and corporate sponsors. They'll all need someplace to stay and increasingly, the comfort of staying in someone's home is a desirable alternative to a cookie-cutter hotel room, particularly for longer stays. Plus, the entire Twin Cities only has about 40,000 hotel rooms, so you do the math. According to Adam Annen from HomeAway/VRBO, which focuses on whole house/condo/townhouse rentals, last years Super Bowl game in Houston saw a 500% increase in listings and rents were going for around $1700 a night and closer to $2000 for properties near the stadium. Airbnb, another home sharing site that also includes spare room rentals (which kind of turns your home into a B & B), also saw a big jump in listings in Houston.
The possibility of making a little or a lot of extra cash for the inconvenience of being out of your home or hosting some guests for a long weekend makes this a tempting proposition for many homeowners. And don't worry if you're not located right downtown. Super Bowl concerts and parties will be held across the metro area, so you may still have a desirable location. Interested? Here are some things to consider.
Obviously the closer you are to the stadium, the better. But if you live near other attractions that visitors might enjoy in February, i.e., MOA, Xcel Energy Center, nightlife, good restaurants, ice fishing, theaters and public transportation—especially light-rail, you have something to offer.
City Licensing Rules
Each city makes its own rules with respect to short-term rentals, so check with your local housing inspector. Currently in Minneapolis there are no short-term rental licensing requirements or restrictions, so you're free to list your home. This could change as we get closer to the event as city council members are continuing to discuss the issue. Keep in mind that certain condominium buildings prohibit owners from renting out their homes, so check with your association. Unfortunately, at the present time St. Paul does not allow any short-term rentals. The city council is currently reviewing this policy and changes could come as soon as the end of September.
The good news is that owners can rent out their homes for up to 14 days a year without having to include the rent as taxable income. The bad news is homeowners do have to pay state and local sales tax. In Minneapolis that tax would be 11.025% of rental income payable to the Minnesota Department of Revenue.
Check with your insurance provider. In most cases, if you're only planning to rent your home out for a single special occasion, many insurance companies will extend your coverage to the renter as long as you notify them ahead of time. This would include liability, i.e., if someone gets injured on your property, and disaster coverage, i.e., fire, lightning. Damage to your belongings or the home caused by renters is probably not.
Is My House Going To Get Trashed?
According to Adam it's a misconception that Super Bowl visitors are rowdy and trash the homes they rent. Many will be here to work the event, and those who attend for pleasure are spending a lot to do it and probably aren't the “trash a hotel room” kind of people. Having said that you can require renters to sign strict house rules and require a damage/security deposit. It's also wise to reserve the right to refuse to rent to anyone, i.e, young men from Faber College Delta Tau Chi fraternity.
How To List
Photos are essential. Stage your home like you would if you were putting it on the market (which you are), and take high quality digital pictures. Potential renters will want to see the kitchen, family/great room, bedrooms and baths and any additional space that you think might be of interest to visitors (i.e, fitness area, hot tub). Then go online to one of the short-term rental sites such as VRBO, HomeAway or Airbnb, register and the site will walk you through the process.
Get creative with special add-ons or services you can offer renters. Maybe you got a pair of tickets because the company you work for is a sponsor? Throw them in with your rental. Offer to drive renters to and from events. Take them ice fishing. Say that you'll stock the fridge. Add a gift certificate to a great local restaurant, a pair of tickets to a Gopher game or theater performance, and/or promote your proximity, i.e., “Our home is 2 blocks away from Pizzeria Lola which was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
When To List And For How Much?
The sooner the better. There are already hundreds of properties posted and many have already been booked for the event. Look at current listings that are similar to your property to get a feel for how much you should ask for and don't be afraid to aim high. You can always lower your price as the date approaches.
by Laurie Junker
Photo courtesy of Meet Minneapolis