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The DNC is Coming: To Rent or Not to Rent?

To Rent or Not To Rent

Suzanne Powers w/guest blog writer Katie Knighton

With the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee this year, many Home Owners have decided, or are in the process of deciding, whether to rent their primary residence. Per-night rental rates in the Milwaukee area currently range from $150 per night to as high as $7,000 per night based on a number of factors including proximity to downtown, number of beds, size of home, condition of home and amenities such as air conditioning. This event and others that will follow provide an opportunity for Home Owners to make a considerable amount of money, which can finance a mortgage for a few months (or more!), serve as a source of funding for a remodel or other investment or help reduce debt. 

However, it can be a tough decision for those who have never rented their home (or even for those who have, if it’s been awhile) due to three time-consuming challenges:

  1. Home prep
  2. Marketing your listing
  3. Guest relations

Powers Realty Group is now offering services to help clients rent their homes for short-term rentals by serving as Co-host, so more Home Owners who would like to take advantage of the renting opportunity during the DNC and future SE Wisconsin events (e.g., 2020 Ryder Cup in late September) can minimize their time spent while maximizing their rental revenue. 

Specifically, we’re helping Home Owners understand what specific home prep is required (and recommended) and providing guidance on how to handle it; set a price and understand rental fees; create and market the listing on Airbnb (Powers Realty Group is an official partner of the DNC for this purpose); and by serving as primary guest relations support so our clients can enjoy time away and/or focus on other life priorities while their home is being rented to guests.

For those struggling with the decision to rent or not to rent, here’s some basic information on the major challenges to help decide.

Home Prep

For most Home Owners, preparing a home for strangers to be guests for the first time can be daunting.  There are two stages of prep:  removing personal items and stocking for guests.

Removing Personal Items

Among the requirements, Home Owners must empty all clothes closets, leaving only hangers and organizers; clear kitchen cupboards and the refrigerator of most pantry items (leaving coffee, sugar, condiments, spices, etc.); remove or lock up all personal paperwork (e.g., financial papers and other sensitive documents); etc.  We also recommend removing personal photographs and anything of significant monetary or sentimental value including jewelry, inheritance items like Grandma’s china, valuable collections, personal computers, photography equipment, etc.  These items can be stored in a locked room such as in an attic or basement area.

If children will be allowed to stay in the home, it will be important to ensure your home meets basic child safety requirements and consider providing a crib and/or pack-and-plays.

Stocking Your Home for Guests

Stocking for guests before they arrive is the second stage of prepping your home.  Each room, including the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom(s), living room, etc. must contain the essentials for travel including fresh linens, hair dryers, coffee makers, pots and pans, toiletries, internet, Wi-fi, etc.  And, of course, the home must be thoroughly cleaned prior to the guests’ arrival.  The top rental platforms have complete lists of all these items (as do we).

Marketing Your Listing

You want all the work you are putting into renting your home to pay off so it’s important to be thoughtful about how and where you create your listing.  And if you’re a first-time renter and use a rental platform (e.g., Airbnb), this stage is critically important as you won’t have any ratings or reviews. 

Professional photographs make a significant difference in showing off your home in its best light – and knowing what to photograph is critical, too.  Your home’s overview, the amenities listed, location description, host information, security deposit, cancellation policy, etc. all work together to help prospective renter’s understand what value your home has to offer.  You’ll also set House Rules as part of your listing process.

Airbnb and VRBO are the top platforms for marketing your listing, and they each have their own requirements and contractual obligations.  Understand these and make sure you can meet them before committing to rent your home.

Guest Relations

Once you’ve listed your home, a one-on-one relationship with guests begins.  You’ll start receiving questions from prospective guests which need to be answered very quickly to both help people make a decision but also, importantly, to demonstrate you’re a responsive host. Then, once you rent your home, you have a responsibility to meet your guests’ needs prior to arrival and during their stay.  This will help create a successful stay for both parties and help set the stage for a strong rating and review, which will be critical for marketing your home for your next listing.

We hope this information helps you make your decision, and we’d love to help you make your home short-term renting dreams come true.  Katie Knighton is the one to do just that.  She’s our Milwaukee area real estate agent and rental expert and would be happy to meet with anyone considering renting to discuss requirements and more details about Powers Realty Group’s home rental services.


Powers Realty Group is a distinctive boutique real estate broker focused on the needs of customers delivering exceptional results. We are the trusted local experts. Call us today about buying or selling your home.

Call Suzanne Powers