Greed? It isn't always good. The first lesson of great event house renting is act like a pro, not an amateur desperate to take advantage of the out-of-towners.
Renting out homes for the U.S. Open golf tournament didn’t turn out to be quite the windfall some South Puget Sound residents were expecting.
Just ask Larry Golden, who sought $40,000 for the week for his house in University Place, just across the street from the clubhouse at Chambers Bay. He told The News Tribune newspaper of Tacoma he collected zero: The best offer he got was $7,000 from a news organization, and that wasn’t enough to justify the hassle after insurance and legal fees.
“Nobody on my block rented,” said Golden, a Microsoft program manager.
Exact figures for the week’s rental market are hard to come by, between off-the-books rentals and the range of ways to find a rental deal. But Windermere real estate agent Steve Sloboda, whose company tried to play matchmaker between local residents and traveling golf tourists, said only 20 to 25 of the 85 homes listed wound up being rented.
Another rental company, based in Gig Harbor, listed 149 homes online within 6 miles of Chambers Bay, almost all of them seeking more than $10,000 for the week. Heading into the weekend, five were marked “rented.”
Chambers Bay, as a new host of a golf major championship, doesn’t have the name recognition of more famous courses, like Pebble Beach. Many fans came from around Washington and Oregon and might not have needed weekly rentals, given the availability of hotel rooms nearby or the ability to make day trips.
“Some people put up really high prices and kept them there and ended up with empty houses during the tournament,” Sloboda said.
That said, some people did make out pretty well.
One woman said her five-bedroom University Place home was rented by American Express after a Windermere listing for the week for $27,000. Her family relocated to their Mason Lake cabin.
Another woman, Stephanie Boeshar, said she pocketed $8,000 from Fox Sports after putting her home on Airbnb in February.
“It makes me wonder, if we put it up earlier, if the bigger companies were looking earlier,” she said from the Tri-Cities area, where she is staying with family. “But $8,000 is better than no thousand, right?”
John Cole said he’s collecting $4,500 for renting his place to two PGA European Tour golfers, Marcus Fraser and Oliver Farr, and their agent. Cole’s in-laws in Lakewood were vacationing, so he relocated comfortably and close.
His tenants have signed souvenirs for the family and kept up with Cole via text.
“I said, ‘Hey, nice job on shooting a 71 today,’ and he’s responded back,” Cole said. “Having players at my house has been kinda cool, because it makes me feel more connected to the Open.”
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Photo Credit: Jordan Spieth watches his tee shot on the sixth hole during the final round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay on Sunday, June 21, 2015 in University Place, Wash. Charlie Riedel / Associated Press