Homeowners cash in on Coachella

LA QUINTA, Calif. - Homeowners in the Valley want to cash in during the huge Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, by renting out their homes for big bucks.  Some will make thousands of dollars just for heading out of town three weekends a year.

For communities that allow homeowners to rent, it can be very lucrative. However, keep in mind you still have to pay taxes on rental income, but bigger homes can get more than $1,000 a night during the festivals.

Coachella and Stagecoach attract nearly 300,000 people.  The majority of them need a place to stay and many are willing to pay.  

"Coachella weekends are becoming so popular we are completely sold out for all three weekends," said Luxury Leasing Vacation Rentals general manager Jean Brandolini.

A home we visited at PGA West is one of them. Owner Dawn McLean has been renting it out during Coachella for 10 years. 

"My husband is not retired yet and we are from Toronto, Canada.  We don't get here as much as we like so why not share this beautiful view and home with other people and it helps us to pay some of our bills," said McLean.

McLean says April is her biggest month and she's expecting to make about $14,000 before taxes and fees.

"I used to come down here and stay here during Coachella, but I don't now because it's a fabulous rental," said McLean. 

This year the demand is higher than ever.  Rental group HomeAway says the nightly rate for music festival weekends is up 260% compared to other parts of the year. 

"A home like this, a three bedroom home with a pool and spa, $1250 to $1500 a night with a four night minimum," said Brandolini.

Renting homes doesn't just help the homeowner, it also helps the economy. Just last year alone, a release by Short Term rental Advocacy Center says about $272 million was pumped into the economy. 

The study reports for every $100 spent on a place to stay, $200 is spent on food, transportation, entertainment and shopping.  That's money that supports local jobs. 

"It's brings a lot of dollars to the desert," said Brandolini.

However, many homeowners worry about letting festival goers into their homes. 

"I'm not so sure about the destruction that can be done.  We've seen some of our neighbors have their house destroyed," said homeowner Mary Lu Turpin.

"Of course it's a concern, over the ten years I've been doing this, I've only had, I think a couple of mishaps and they were minor and the leasing company takes care of me," said McLean.

Luxury Leasing Vacation Rentals says they've experienced very few problems.

"People are respectful of other people's homes when they are paying this kind of money," said Brandolini.

As good as this can be for homeowners, we do want to warn you that if an offer is too good to be true, it probably is. 

Here are some tips to avoid being scammed.

How to Book a Better Vacation Home by HomeAway:

      1. Go with a reputable site that has a substantial inventory to find the right match for your preferences and budget.

     2. Read the reviews to get a better idea of what the property is really like. The more reviews and photos a vacation home has, the better.

     3. Talk to the homeowner and ask a lot of questions so you know what to expect upon arrival. 

     4.  Call first before paying to confirm the details of your reservation and payment before making the purchase. 

     5.  If possible, pay online by credit card or via secure services like PayPal. If an owner asks you to mail cash or use a wire transfer service, consider it a red flag and move on to another rental. 


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