story from dallasnews.com
A man’s home may be his castle, but when the NBA swoops into town, more than 90,000 strong, that castle starts to look like an ATM.
Scores of Dallas-area property owners and renters are offering all the comforts of home to basketball fans who’ll soon descend on Dallas-Fort Worth for the National Basketball Association’s upcoming All-Star weekend.
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With major downtown hotels booked solid, property owners from Uptown to Arlington and even as far north as Frisco are trying to rent out everything from one-bedroom condos with panoramic views of downtown to a “villa” priced at $18,000 – a night.
It’s the biggest opportunity in years for Dallas-area homeowners to participate in the estimated $24.3 billion vacation rental industry. And some see it as a test run for next year’s Super Bowl.
“It’s a chance to make $5,000 in four days,” said Nicole Jones, who is negotiating with a California group interested in renting her five-bedroom Arlington home. “You can’t beat that.”
The All-Star Game, staged in Dallas for the first time since 1986, is typical of the kind of big-ticket event that floods hotel rooms, sweeping fans into residential neighborhoods. That’s according to Timothy Schneider, publisher of Los Angeles-based Sports Travel magazine.
This year, the scramble for beds and blankets gets tougher because the NBA expects more than 90,000 to watch the Valentine’s Day game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. That would be the largest live audience ever for a basketball game, more than double the 44,735 fans who packed the Houston Astrodome in 1989.
That’s not including the countless fans who’ll take part in events outside the stadium or attend a myriad of celebrity parties and NBA-sponsored events at American Airlines Center and the Dallas Convention Center downtown. But the combination clearly will be enough to take more than two-thirds of the roughly 70,000 hotel rooms in North Texas. The NBA alone has requisitioned 5,000 of the 7,000 hotel rooms downtown.
Enter the homeowner (or renter).
Jordan Rooney’s one bedroom, 763-square-foot apartment in Oak Lawn is minutes from the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge at the AAC and the All-Star Celebrity Game at the convention center.
But Rooney, 24, will probably be driving in from his parents’ home in Coppell to catch the action.
When Rooney’s mom learned downtown hotels were packed, she pitched her son on the idea of renting out his apartment.
“We said, ‘Heck, why not give it a shot,’ ” Rooney said.
His ad on Craigslist led to a verbal commitment from someone wanting to rent Rooney’s place for $600 for two nights – a steal compared to other homes being offered.
“I’m just trying to make a few extra bucks,” Rooney said. “I’ll move in with the parents for the weekend. I don’t care.”
Many of the nearly 130 Dallas-area homes and apartments on Craigslist this week were owned by investors looking to fill spots left vacant by the sagging economy.
There also were occupants willing to move out temporarily for a fee.
All-Star prices ran as high as $18,000 a night for the Dallas “villa,” which included four bedrooms, five baths, a commercial spa and three pools. The owner could not be reached for comment.
Most of the properties fell in the range of $3,500 to $6,000 for the weekend.
Brad Friedman, 48, is seeking $1,500 to $2,500 a day for his 3,100-square-foot home south of downtown – a spot he said can easily accommodate late-night parties and overnight guests.
On the horizon, he sees revenue flowing in from the Super Bowl and other smaller events.
“The financial opportunity is great,” said Friedman, a small-business consultant. “If I can help get a few months’ mortgage paid, I’ll be happy to do it, especially in this economy.”
The slack economy has made the Arlington home owned by Nicole Jones harder to sell. So Jones, who lives in Addison, has been renting it to tenants who won’t be around for All-Star weekend.
Jones, 31, is seeking $5,000 for a weekend stay at her 4,000-square-foot home, less than 10 miles from the stadium.
She said she plans to use any extra cash she nets from the game to help bring down the selling price.
One requirement of her potential tenants?
“No loud parties,” she said. “There are neighbors. I’ve asked them to be respectful of that.”
Homeowners also need to avoid running afoul of the tax man.
Property owners who rent out their homes for less than 30 days are required to collect the 6 percent state hotel tax and send that money to the state, said R.J. DeSilva, a spokesman for the Texas comptroller. City taxes vary by location.
For the feds, if you rent out your home for fewer than 15 days during the tax year, you do not include the rent in your income and do not deduct rental expenses.
Instant innkeepers also need to make sure their homes are ready for persnickety guests. That means new (unused) sheets and linens, and no clutter, said Christine Karpinski, Austin-based author of How to Rent Vacation Properties by Owner.
Uptown resident Oliver Broadus, 31, was ready for the neatness test. His 2,000-square-foot penthouse apartment, with sweeping views of downtown and impressionist-inspired artwork, looks like the back drop for a photo shoot.
But after placing an ad on Craigslist seeking $7,500 for the weekend, Broadus backed out. The president of Half Price Geeks, a computer repair business, decided the hassle of moving sensitive documents wasn’t worth it.
“I did it quickly without thinking,” Broadus said of posting the ad. “It’s not really about the money. I’m nervous about letting someone into my personal space.”
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