Thursday, December 18, 2008

Long and Foster starts inauguration rental business

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Long and Foster starts inauguration rental business

Washington Business Journal - by Mara Lee Staff Reporter

Long and Foster has entered the inauguration rental business, offering renters and owners a professional intermediary to avoid fraud or payment conflicts.

Its Website ( has gotten more than 1,500 hits, according to Juli Verrier, a spokeswoman for the company. No leases have been signed yet.

The agents will be paid 25 percent of the owners’ draw, Verrier said.

Selina James, vice president of property management and leasing services, said she doesn’t know how much money the project will bring in.

Because there are more than 1,000 hotel rooms still available in the region, it’s possible the demand for residential rentals has been overhyped, she acknowledged.

“It’s so hard for us to gauge right now,” she said. “When we’re going to see whether this has a lot of meat is right after Christmas.”

No leases have been signed yet on any of the 70 properties listed. Of those, 25 are in the District. A few are as far away as Frederick, Md., and West Virginia.

Using informal rentals is not a way to save money, for sure. Prices are high on the site -- $1,000 a night for one-bedroom condos in some cases -- and most owners are looking for at least a four-day rental.

James said the value to the firm and its agents is making contacts in the community. “It gets their name out,” she said.

And she said her own goal for the project is to protect visitors and owners from bad actors. She said she’s heard some advertisers on other websites have taken pictures of homes that aren’t theirs.

She wants the visitors to this inauguration to have a good experience -- and hopes Long and Foster, the region’s largest realty company, can be part of that.

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