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People race to rent out homes ahead of RNC

6:23 PM, Aug 15, 2012   |    comments
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TAMPA, Florida -- From single bedrooms to mansions with housekeepers, people across Tampa Bay have been trying to rent out their homes to Republican National Convention visitors to make some extra money. 

Many of them have waited until now, less than two weeks before the start of the convention. Just search "RNC" on Craigslist, and you'll find 150 new properties posted in the last week.

"In the last week or so, we've had a flood of houses to rent," says Teresa Williams, CEO and broker with Prospera Realty.

One of her clients owns a 4,800-square foot, four-bedroom house that's minutes from the Tampa Convention Center and just feet from Tampa Bay. The waterfront view comes at a cost: $20,000 for the week.

Pricing, even at the last minute, comes down to the size, quality, and location of a house. 

"Income [homeowners] would get from renting the house would cover not only their expenses for someplace to go, but would make sense for them to rent their homes," Williams says.

Brieanna Hilliker says her friends decided to post an ad to rent out their condo just this morning. They live at Grand Central at Kennedy, also convenient to the convention center. And since they'll be on their honeymoon during the convention, they figured, why not?

"They've already gotten a few inquiries on it, so we'll kind of see where that takes them," Hilliker says.

The couple based their asking price - $2,200 dollars for the week - on other ads, and kept the price lower, but competitive.

But people looking to rent homes across the Bay area haven't been as plentiful.

"We've noticed that some of the hotel rooms have freed up since the convention has gotten closer," Williams says. "We haven't seen the amount of calls that we expected. None of us know what to expect, but we're excited to see the convention coming here."

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