Best Local Real Estate Idea (That Went Nowhere): Inauguration Rentals

by Mark Wellborn

Best Local Real Estate Idea (That Went Nowhere): Inauguration Rentals: Figure 1

This week UrbanTurf is taking a look back at the best that DC’s residential real estate market had to offer in 2009. From the best deals to the best trends to, of course, the best listings, we believe we have sussed out the cream of the crop.

It seemed like such a good idea and such easy money at the time. Just vacate your apartment for a week during Barack Obama’s historic inauguration, and collect enough money to pay your rent for two months and maybe have a little left over to take a quick vacation.

However, if there was ever an idea that was too good to be true, it would be this one. While the comment section for our post announcing this trend turned into a virtual classifieds section for DC residents wanting to cash in, the scheme failed miserably. While there were certainly people out there who were able to cash in on the phenomenon, most of these spontaneous entrepreneurs learned that supply significantly outstripped demand when it came to out-of-towners willing to pay big bucks for lodging. From our post in December:

A 26-year-old professional and his two roommates told UrbanTurf that their three-bedroom in the U Street Corridor has been listed for about a month at $1,500 a night and they have gotten no responses. Carol Simms listed her Capitol Hill one-bedroom on November 10th for $1,200 a night and has not gotten any bites. Local real estate agent Jen Angotti offered to help one of her clients rent out his place in Columbia Heights, but he balked at her proposed rental price of $2,000 a night, saying he could get much more, and decided to rent it on his own. So far, there have not been any takers.

In fact, in all the research that UrbanTurf did, we were only able to find one person who was successful in renting his place. The man, a lobbyist who wished to remain anonymous, rented his one-bedroom on Massachusetts Avenue and 10th Street to a business associate for three nights at $1,000 a night. He is taking the money and heading to Colorado for the week of the inauguration.

In addition, to these factors, it didn’t help that 4,500 additional hotel rooms were opened up in the DC area soon after this trend gained some momentum. The bottom line: Don’t bank on this trend returning in 2012.

Next Up: Best Record Set This Year: Mortgage Rates Hit All-Time Low

Previous Best Of 2009 entries:

See other articles related to: renting in dc, inauguration, best of 2009

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/best_local_real_estate_idea_that_went_nowhere_inauguration_rentals/1599


  1. Ron said at 5:29 pm on Monday December 14, 2009:
    Awesome piece! Yes, this idea was one of the most over-hyped of the year, for sure. I knew about a dozen people that thought they would get rich off Craigs List this way.
  1. Aaron P. said at 5:44 pm on Monday December 14, 2009:
    Agreed. My roommate and I listed our 3 level 3bed/2bath rowhome in the U Street Corridor for about $1,200 per night on Craigslist. I thought it was reasonable considering some of the other crazy expensive postings I saw, especially considering the central location. We didn't get one single response! So much for having two months of "free" rent...
  1. Crabhands said at 6:32 pm on Monday December 14, 2009:
    I don't know, my brother listed his 3 level 3 bed/3 bath townhouse in Arlington (down by the Pentagon) and got a taker for 6 nights... made out at about 8K i believe....
  1. RebeccaG said at 6:51 pm on Monday December 14, 2009:
    Crabhands, your brother is part of a tiny minority that actually profited on this.
  1. DiscoDill said at 5:13 pm on Sunday December 27, 2009:
    Overall, I completely agree with the supply/demand perspective. It is, however, externally validating that I was lucky enough to rent my Capitol Hill Tower 2bd/2ba for 3 nights for $3200. What's more is I posted my ad on c-list about 10 days before the inaug. when everyone was throwing their hands up. I'm obviously biased because I lucked out, but there were some successes.

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