Super Bowl Landlords: From Nuns to Homeowners

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HomeAwayThis four-bedroom home, listed for $2,500 a night, included a limo and driver and unlimited tequila from the home's bar.
When the Super Bowl is in town, hotel rates spike and rooms still sell out fast, giving homeowners a chance to rent out a room or a whole house to people willing to shell out some big bucks to get close to the NFL action.

"Homeowners are under the impression that they can attract a $20,000-$30,000 Super Bowl reservation. Some homeowners even go to the extent of charging $5,000 for the usage of a single bedroom," said Mark Macias, owner of Arizona Vacation Rentals. Those hopes are a little high. "The majority of customers are only willing to pay an average of $2,000 per night for four or five nights," Macias said. (Some owners and agents try gimmicks, including the offer of a limo and driver with the home pictured above.)

After learning what some Arizona homeowners were doing to make extra money that last time the Super Bowl was in town, some nuns at a Phoenix monastery decided to get in on the action. Sister Linda Campbell from the Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery in West Phoenix told AZCentral she turned to her other sisters and asked whether since "these people are renting their homes, do you think we could pull this off?"

The nuns tried it for the 2008 Super Bowl and made more than $12,000 for their charity. This year, the cost for two people in one room is $300 per night. Add a third person for an extra $100. The stay comes with free Wi-Fi, a continental breakfast and access to the monastery's seven-acre grounds. You just have to agree not to smoke, drink, or curse.

Think you can't do football without beer? Prefer the comforts of home over the silence of a not-so-downtown abbey? That is what many Super Bowl renters prefer, says Denise Tarney, an associate broker from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Sonoran Desert Lifestyles. She tells AOL Real Estate that she rents out her own home in nearby Scottsdale all year long and is renting it out for the Super Bowl. "People would much rather stay in a home than a hotel. They get to enjoy the luxury of a furnished home -- having linens, towels and furniture for their use any time they need it."

For a real estate agent to rent out their personal home at a time like this is very good for business, because a renter just might become a buyer or a snowbird renter. "Renting during the Super Bowl or high season in Arizona helps to introduce the desert lifestyle to people who may have never visited our state," says Tarney. "It's a destination location, it's beautiful and it's surrounded by golf courses."

Reveille Schaeffer is the property manager for Arizona Focus Realty, which owns and operates 25 corporate apartments in Glendale, extremely close to University of Phoenix Stadium, where the game will be played. As a result, she received a lot of interest from fans.

"The majority of our booking inquiries [started to flow] once the teams were determined," she said. "We also [had] strong demand on homes in Tempe, a bit farther from the stadium in Glendale, but close to the light rail and downtown Phoenix."

The Super Bowl rental season has wrapped up for this year, but next year's game is in pricey San Francisco, where private rentals are both sought after and controversial. As in Phoenix, looking farther from the stadium should help.

Patrick Jones, broker/owner of Better Homes and Gardens Sonoran Desert Lifestyles, says renters who looked in such surrounding areas as Scottsdale and Mesa often found "a nicer, more affordable home."

Jones adds that homeowners who rent out their spaces should run a background check, and renters need to be prepared to hand over copies of bank statements showing proof of funds, as well as show a driver's license and possibly a Social Security card as well.

Renters who want the peace of mind that a homeowner has been screened too can go through a real estate agent or a service such as HomeAway, which operates as a marketplace connecting owners and property managers with travelers.

"The typical property for rent [for the Super Bowl] on HomeAway is a 2-3 bedroom home, sleeping 8-10 people -- ideal for splitting the cost for a family or group of friends," says HomeAway spokesman Adam Annen. However, a lot of property owners have luxury homes with grand foyers and swimming pools. Among the most lavish that were available this year? The former home of Kurt Warner, the now-retired quarterback who led the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals to Super Bowls, is an 11,300 square-foot mansion that sleeps 16 and was offered for $150,000 a week. (The home rented, but agents did not confirm the final rate.)

So what are the homeowners doing if they're handing over their keys to football fans for a weekend or even a whole week? "Most homeowners are taking the opportunity to go on vacation themselves, find cheap hotels closer to the game, or stay with friends or relatives while their home is being rented," says Jones.

Sheree R. Curry is an award-winning, 20-year veteran journalist who has been writing for AOL Real Estate since 2009. Send her your tips & ideas. Follow her on Twitter at shereecurry.
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