Vi Nguyen is the CEO and co-founder of Homads.com, a real estate tech company that helps people find a place they love for periods of a month or more.
Quarantine. The unknown. Panic. This all feels like a strange movie. A weird episode of Black Mirror or a dream that you’re not totally sure if you have woken up from? The news is never-ending. Everything is canceled or postponed. Travel is massively banned and the hospitality industry is taking a huge hit. So, what does all of this mean for rental property owners? More specifically, short-to-mid term rentals?
As a homeowner in this space, it’s hard not to completely freak out. Try really hard not to. This is an opportunity to get creative and market your property the best way possible. Yes, this is bad. But this can also offer an opportunity to help others in our communities that need it most.
Social and physical Distancing
Everyone is being told to practice social and physical distancing. As the days tick on, some cities are being put under even more strict orders of “shelter in place”. Staying at home doesn’t sound too difficult, but the thought of being quarantined in a 400sqft city apartment for weeks on end sounds unenjoyable, to say the least.
Some people are taking these orders to stay home to a new level by renting places outside of the city for a few months. This idea has created a surge in the midterm rental market in places like the Hamptons and other rural areas near urban centres, but far enough to reduce the number of other humans one crosses. Renters are snatching up and getting into bidding wars over properties just outside of large cities. People are looking for a separate safe space away from their day to day home. Staycations and nearby rental homes are an easy way for people to take a small break while keeping their families and loved ones safe.
Most people at this point are transitioning to a work from home scenario, which has its challenges. Juggling to keep kids entertained, a Zoom call that continues to freeze and the inevitable isolation that comes with it your new office set up is taxing. People love being home, but spending all day, every day in their bubbles can get to be a little…much. Targeting newly remote workers to provide them with a safe workspace outside of their home is a great way to fill your vacancies.
Child care and senior care are in need now more than ever. With schools being closed, parents are forced to figure out the best solution for their entire families. People are scrambling to grab nannies and child care providers wherever they can, whether that be near or far. Considering the nature of COVID-19, many families are concerned about older family members and feel the need to be closer in proximity to oversee their care. A solution may be to rent a property close by their loved ones to visit and provide care of as needed. Jump onto Nanny message boards or contact local retirement homes to see what the current rental needs are.
We all know that our nurses are national heroes. Currently, they are going through the wringer to keep us and our communities safe. Traveling nurses transition from one assignment to the next every 8-14 weeks. They are dispatched to hospitals that are in the most need, i.e. COVID-19 hot spots. These men and women move to brand new cities all in a matter of weeks. Now, more than ever, the nursing community needs any break we can give them.
Consider connecting with nurses via Facebook groups and messaging boards. Reach out to hospitals or the American Travel Health Nurse Association. Offer incentives specific to traveling nurses. Providing a discounted rate, no matter how large or small, will help your property stand out above others.
On that note, roll out a general COVID-19 sale. Slash your prices and fill up your calendar! A booking at a reduced rate can relieve stress on consumers and homeowners alike. Cutting prices by 10-20% may not be ideal, but considering the state of the economy, everyone could use a little breather. Consider reducing booking prices for the next few months, April-June, and adding price incentives for any stays booked now for July-December.
Small business owners, servers, and your favorite gym owners are on hold for a while. If it were up to them, they would still be working and earning their steady income. Unfortunately, some of these innocent bystanders of the coronavirus may not have the most understandable landlords. Some may even be in the process of moving and quarantine has completely disrupted their plans. Contact some of your local restaurants and businesses to see if any of their staff are in need of a safe place to land. Working out a deal that is comfortable for both you and the renter will bring great reviews and recommendations to friends and family for the future.
Get in touch with some of your local leaders and city board members. Members of the community are going to need safe places to be quarantined. Some may even need to be temporarily separated from their families. Offering your home as a quarantine station provided by the city may not bring you a large profit, but it could make a massive impact on the community. By making a connection and building a relationship with city leaders, who knows the types of leads it could bring you. And, what a help you would be in a time of need.
At Homads we specialize in monthly rentals. Our goal is to help people settle into new cities in the best, most organic way possible. But for now, we want to help people find a place for the next 30-90 days to ride this thing out safely, staying socially distant and mentally stable. We want to do our part for all involved. That includes our community members and our property owners.
The truth is none of us know when this is all going to end. It’s time to be proactive and market your properties as safe havens for the next few months. Target audiences that are in need during this odd time or looking for a little self-care.
Get creative, check out Homads.com, and wash your hands.