Think your home isn’t Masters-rental worthy? Think again.
Though well-heeled tournament patrons and corporate hospitality firms are famously known for snapping up high-end estate homes in the metro Augusta area, many visitors arriving for the biggest week in golf are simply content to have a roof over their head and a place to lay their head at night.
When it comes to Masters Week, there is no “cookie-cutter type of home” that people want, says Jonathan Rios, director of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Masters Housing Bureau, which acts as a matchmaker between area homeowners and tournament guests seeking rental housing.
“There’s not a home that we say no to,” he said. “We deal with people from all over the world, so we have people who want everything from an apartment or a backyard cottage to people wanting an eight-bedroom, eight-bathroom resort-style home. And we fill everything in between.”
Several other local and national entities provide similar services, but the four-decade-old Masters Housing Bureau is the only service officially sanctioned by the Augusta National Golf Club. Area hotels, which almost always hit full occupancy during the week, handle their reservations separately.
Rios, who joined the bureau in November after more than seven years with Georgia Bank & Trust, declined to disclose the number of homeowners in the bureau’s network.
However, he said properties in the bureau’s inventory can accommodate everyone from a college student working for a catering firm to a large corporation entertaining dozens of clients throughout the week.
Although the bureau takes phone calls and email requests, the majority of bookings are processed through the bureau’s website, which allows renters to filter their search by home size, location and amenities.
The bureau doesn’t collect demographic information, but prospective renters are free to include information about themselves to give homeowners a general idea of who will be in their home, such as a family of four attending its first tournament or an executive who’s hosting multiple clients throughout the week.
Homeowners retain the right to accept an offer, reject it or make a counteroffer. Rios said most homes tend to go for their listed price, though some can get bid up or down.
“I think it all equals out at the end,” he said.
Rios advises homeowners to market their home as if they were selling it: When providing photos, have it as clean as possible; remove clutter and family photos; and swap out children’s bedding for neutral colors.
In general, the bureau advises homeowners set rates based on $1,000 per bedroom and $1,000 per bathroom for the week. Homes within walking distance to the course tend to command premium rates.
“Everyone wants to be able to walk to the course,” Rios said.
Though the deadline to list a home with the bureau for this year’s tournament has passed, Rios advises homeowners to register as early as the Monday after the tournament ends to ensure their home is rented and goes for the best possible rate.
Tournament guests, on the other hand, can – and sometime do – use the service up to the last minute.
“We will rent homes all the way up to that Saturday before the tournament,” Chamber Vice President Blaire Marvin said.
Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3352 or firstname.lastname@example.org