Renting Your Home for Special Events

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately from friends and clients about how to rent their homes out for special events, namely the Formula 1 races in November.  The motivation is simple – Austin has hotel capacity for 30,000 people, and 100,000 are expected to come for the race.  Most hotels have been booked since this spring at 3 times the normal rate; I even read that Motel 8 rooms were going for $500 a night!  And most full time short term rentals have been booked since this spring as well.  This means the regular homeowner has an opportunity to make some extra money by renting out their home for a few days.  Depending on your home’s size and location, you could make over $1000 a night!

One of the first questions people ask is “where do I find people to rent my house?”  The way home rentals work is actually the reverse of that question, as the renters will be searching to find you.  For Formula 1, I recommend the following two options.

Homeaway is the largest advertiser of vacation rental homes,and also owns other rental sites such as and  A homeowner pays them a fee to get their home listed on their site, and renters search the site to find available homes. Advertising usually requires an annual subscription starting at $329 however they are currently offering a 2 month special for $49.

Airbnb is another great option, particularly for people not renting out their homes on a regular basis.  The big draw is that they don’t charge you to create a listing, but instead charge you a percentage of your rental fee, only after you have guests book.  They’ll send out a photographer for free, and have other guarantees to put your mind at ease when renting your home out to a stranger.

This past year, we rented our home out during SXSW and went on vacation.  The effort to get our home ready was well worth it, since in the end having someone stay in our home while we were gone covered the cost of the cruise.  Going on vacation is always great, especially when someone else pays for it!

I’ll explore other aspects of renting your home out short term in future posts.