Re: Is there a market in corporate rentals? - Posted by Gary
Posted by Gary on October 16, 2003 at 17:40:00:
My wife and I have done corporate, furnished rentals for about the last 7 years. We live in CT (Fairfield County, within the NYC radius). My wife worked in the corporate world for quite a few years and feels very comfortable dealing with executives at all levels in a corporation–and we have had all levels. I am glad we have worked in this niche–it was always very profitable and occasionally interesting, especially when the execs were European or Asian–though right now I think the market for corporate rentals is softening very much.
We started by furnishing one upscale rental we owned, then advertising it in the paper as a “luxury executive rental, short/long term.” We furnished it with tagsale purchases on the cheap–but you would be very surprised to see what we find at tagsales here (we have partly furnished our own home with tagsale bargains). My wife has excellent taste and a real talent for decorating (I emphatically do not!). We got a lot of calls and decided to do several other rentals like this one (again, only our upscale properties qualified). Usually we did not have to advertise, since word-of-mouth within the corporation led to more tenants. We also advertised (once) on the internet and got a corporate tenant that way. We had very little luck in going directly to the HR departments; why, I don’t know. Our only competition then was a large rental place in town (Avalon) that charged higher rents and had a harsh, unrealistic lease. They were also (according to executive tenants) very poorly sound-proofed. Usually people who rented at Avalon were unhappy, and they have a bad reputation here.
After this many years of doing this, I’m not sure I would recommend it to others or not. It is extremely lucrative, and you don’t have to worry about the tenant wrecking the place or not paying the rent. But … renting this way is labor-intensive: the execs expect the services of a hotel (cleaning, telephone, cable, internet, every possible furnishing, etc.), so it makes for a lot of bookwork and labor. (My wife and I are inclined to do things ourselves.) Also, if you don’t enjoy tagsaling, or if you cannot get fancy furniture and stuff at tagsales, it could be expensive furnishing the place, either by renting furnishings or outright purchasing the furniture from stores. Do you feel comfortable decorating a place? Would you be comfortable trying to show your place to a corporate v.p.? (Not to be nasty: I didn’t care for some of them, though.) Sometimes corporations have their own timetable for paying rents, and getting them to change is harder than moving a graveyard.
Finally, we have noticed a real slump in executive rentals with the recession: corporations here are just not hiring as many consultants. Unless the economy picks up, I suspect that we will eventually get out of this niche entirely. (Ironically, a past corporate tenant, a consultant from Europe, just called us today, asking for a place. Luckily, we are buying a house within a few weeks–he pleaded with us to let him have it, sight unseen!) So, there is a market if you live in a corporate center, but it is by no means “easy street!” Good luck to you! Gary