All-in-one Resource Helps Investment Properties Become a Real Investment

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Phoenix is the first market in a state-by-state launch. Service is designed to help investment property owners raise standards while making money.

Property owners may want to hold off trying to sell investment properties that perhaps haven’t looked enough like investments.

A new company, Corporate Housing by Owner (, is helping owners get the most out of their properties by converting them to high-quality housing for business travelers and other professionals who need temporary homes month by month. As Americans are faced with signs that some housing markets may be cooling, owners of investment properties can learn to adapt their properties into corporate housing units in order to realize the profits they had intended. Condos, townhouses and even full homes can be turned into corporate housing.

According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), investment home purchases across the United States rose nearly 16 percent in 2005, representing a record number 2.32 million sales of investment properties. By comparison, sales in 2004 were 2 million. The NAR report also shows that, of all residential properties purchased in 2005, nearly 28 percent were for investment purposes.

Now that there are a record number of investment properties, owners need to know how to competitively market their properties and maintain a high level of occupancy. According to Marty Levine, president of Phoenix-based Convenient Housewares, “[Corporate Housing by Owner] is a good solution to helping owners rent their properties at a premium rate.” Levine’s company supplies household accessories to corporate housing providers.

Defining Corporate Housing. Corporate housing has catered to business travelers, but now includes an expanding market of professionals, who are relocating or on extended assignment. In the Phoenix area this includes traveling nurses, professional athletes and performers, visiting professors, members of the armed forces, and executives relocating with Honeywell. Corporate housing gives these professionals living space that is furnished and ready to occupy. Good linens are on the beds and in the baths, the kitchen is stocked with good-quality cookware and utensils, art is on the walls, an entertainment system is in place, and utilities, including cable and high-speed internet, are up and running. The tenant receives the key and he or his employer pays one monthly price for rent and utilities.

Corporate housing, according to its trade group, the Corporate Housing Providers Association, is a billion-dollar industry that has taken shape only within the last 20 years. The association points out that a corporate housing option gives individuals and families at least two times the square footage of hotel accommodations and costs one-half the money.

Helping Owners Do It Themselves Makes CHBO the First of Its Kind. Corporate Housing by Owner (CHBO) is the first online housing service of its kind in the United States because the company gives property owners the do-it-yourself instruction for furnishing and marketing properties that are of the highest quality in the corporate housing industry. Based on years of industry experience and research by its founders, Kimberly Smith and Eric Smith, CHBO hands owners the information and tools that allow them to eliminate the third-party property management company. Management fees and other, additional leasing fees an owner otherwise pays are 30 to 50 percent of a property’s rental price. The month-to-month result for some is a loss, rather than an investment gain. According to Kimberly Smith, “For the property owner, the key is to know how to adapt a property to the standards expected of corporate housing and maintain high annual occupancy.” She continues, “High annual occupancy is the key to producing the financial returns investors are looking for.”

The central resource Smith and her team have created for owners to increase their chance for success is Within the CHBO website, each property owner has his or her own mini site that, independent of the larger CHBO site, is picked up by Internet search engines, such as Yahoo and Google. Each owner site comes with standard features for marketing a property, including an availability calendar, mapping and satellite imaging. The yearly cost for the basic package to list one property is $395. “Over a year’s time, we’re a fraction of the price of monthly print advertising,” says Jeremy Blackburn, the company’s chief operating officer. For an additional cost, property owners can select other features to make their sites more competitive.

Blackburn says property owners, not to mention business travelers, who try CHBO will never use classified ads again. He emphasizes that the technology behind the website makes it so that anyone—including people with Internet anxiety—“can do corporate housing.”

Specific to CHBO and new to the corporate housing industry is the Smiths’ creation of a program for certifying the quality of owner-managed properties. The point, says Smith, is to assure prospective tenants that a property consistently meets the highest industry standards. The program, CHBO Complete©, adds value to a property by verifying that, among a list of standards, it is well furnished, well equipped, and comfortable. Property owners who opt to have their properties certified and promoted under the program will be required to adopt a detailed inventory and adhere to a preparation process that emphasizes quality. Of course, tenants will be able to post their own ratings of a property online.

Phoenix Is the First Market. Blackburn says of launching in the Phoenix market, “There is a lot of need for corporate housing on the tenant side. The first market always gauges the future, and Phoenix has a lot going for it.” In terms of population, Phoenix is ranked the nation’s sixth largest city.

“People are moving here in droves. A tremendous number of people are buying investment houses in Maricopa County , and CHBO serves the need of investors and people transferring here,” says Levine, who resides in Phoenix and has worked with the temporary and corporate housing industries for nearly 20 years.

For new clients who need help beyond the site’s resources, CHBO provides a toll-free number (877-333-2426) that is staffed weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Time. For immediate information, property owners, organizations needing temporary housing for their employees and travelers who need a home away from home may visit the CHBO website.

Heidi Olinger Hart


Indie West

Strategic Communications for Companies with a Mission

303.823.0100 office; 720.203.1749 cell

mail: P.O. Box 1483 , Lyons , CO 80540

location: 349 Main St., Suite 7 , Lyons , CO 80540

"What to Say Starts with Knowing Who You Are."

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