Airbnb Property Management Dc
Airbnb Property Management Dc – On a quiet block in Chevy Chase, DC, a quaint brick Colonial with a bright red front door sits back from the leafy, tree-lined street. The homeowners, Lara Hawketts and Alejandro (Alex) Fuentes Gonzalez live here with their two young daughters and their senior beagle, George. At a glance, the couple, both immigrants—Lara from the United Kingdom and Alex from Mexico—seem to have built their own version of the American Dream here in the nation’s capital.
Like so many others, Lara, a business development executive, and Alex, a chef, found themselves out of work when the Great Recession hit. With mortgage payments looming on their then-newly purchased Brookland home, the entrepreneurial couple tried their hand at home sharing, listing their basement apartment on Airbnb. Although they were both able to secure new jobs in their respective fields, the travel demands of Lara’s new role and the late nights of Alex’s job made balancing a growing family untenable.
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With natural business acumen and a flair for hospitality, the couple decided to expand their home-sharing repertoire. In May of 2009, they founded Home Sweet City, a property management company that provides turnkey services for homeowners in and around the District. From linen and laundry to cleaning and communication, Lara and Alex cover it all so that homeowners looking to earn extra income through home sharing can maximize their rental income without being on site.
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Their clients are of a distinctly D.C. stripe. “Our typical clients are DC homeowners who are out of town for long periods of time but don’t want to sell their homes—military, foreign service, public service, professors,” Lara explained. With inconsistent and unpredictable schedules, many of their clients simply cannot consider long-term tenants.
Over time, her new business grew. Lara and Alex moved out of their starter home in Brookland and now operate their business out of their Chevy Chase home. With five employees on payroll and an entire ecosystem of other DC small businesses that rely on Home Sweet City’s fully operational machine to keep them financially afloat, the couple is hedging their bets that the District of Columbia continues to thrive on the shared economy.
“We create a lot of jobs for people. We have two sets of cleaning companies that work exclusively with us and each company has about nine people working for them. We have a local guy who cuts the grass for all the properties, a locksmith, a company that does all the heating and cooling. We support local small businesses trying to make a living in DC. ” Alejandro Fuentes Gonzalez
The couple have aspirations for their business that go far beyond the bottom line. “We want to have a charity part of Home Sweet City where we donate food left by guests,” Lara explained. “And we want to offer free nights to disabled veterans who can’t afford to come here any other way,” Alex added.
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Still, all the blood, sweat and tears that went into building Home Sweet City could be for naught if the DC Council passes a bill that would limit DC homeowners from selling their vacant homes for more than 90 days to share the year. If the bill goes through, many of the homeowners whose properties they manage, the couple reports, would likely end up selling their homes, threatening the future of Home Sweet City and the entrepreneurial ecosystem it’s built over the years .
“We’re the people, not the hotels. We’re a small business. We’re concerned that we can make enough to survive, to pay to stay in D.C. and to pay to pay the people we have in have service. Regulation is not wrong, just make it fair.” Alejandro Fuentes Gonzalez
Ten years ago, two immigrants met in DC, fell in love, adopted a cute dog, bought a house in the city, started a family and started a business that has continued to create jobs for other Washingtonians. However, the big hotels could sell their proverbial house as quickly as the DC Council says “yes.” News and politics | Real Estate Meet the DC couple who manage 60 Airbnb ads Lara Hawketts and Alejandro Fuentes Gonzalez employ five people and a constellation of contractors. A bill before the DC Council, they say, would put their business at risk
There is a listing on Airbnb that offers a lot to people looking for temporary DC digs. The home, which promises “Country Elegance in DC,” is “open concept” and “lively,” filled with red brick walls, hardwood floors, and a “beloved outdoor space” suitable for wholesome activities like “relaxing in the warmer evenings.” and “reminder.” The list contains not one, not two, not three, but
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Several photos of a chic, modern kitchen flooded with light. The photos show a trio of dish towels
The Airbnb sits minutes away from the Capitol, and sets guests back $149 a night. A photo shows the hosts Lara and Alex smiling side by side, perhaps in satisfied belief of their many five-star reviews: “Lara and Alex have a beautiful house in the nicest part of town,” writes a happy customer. “Lara and Alex’s place is perfect!” writes another.
But this house does not belong to Lara and Alex. Or from Lara, or from Alex. Also, the 59 other Airbnb listings they manage are not the largest active portfolio of homes in DC.
“It’s interesting how guests assume it’s our property,” says Lara Hawketts, the founder and CEO of Home Sweet City, a local Airbnb property management company. “It’s very funny,” she adds with a laugh.
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What Hawketts finds even funnier, however, is the trajectory that culminated in her presiding over the District’s largest Airbnb empire in the first place. Hawketts, 43, moved to DC from London in January 2009 to help open a DC office for a British consulting firm. She soon found herself in the process of buying a house, and back in the company of her now-husband Alejandro Fuentes Gonzalez, 49, whom she had met just months earlier.
By February 2009, just one month after Hawkett’s arrival, the reversals of the Great Recession had claimed her job. Fuentes Gonzalez, a trained cook from Mexico, also became unemployed during that period. To make her mortgage payments — and keep her recently purchased Brookland home — Hawket decided to list her vacant basement unit on Airbnb, with the help of Fuentes Gonzalez.
“We had no idea what to expect, and it was great because we were just booked in,” says Hawketts. “Not many people were doing it back then, and we were charging huge amounts of money.”
The Airbnb cash infusion helped keep the couple’s heads afloat while they secured new jobs, but they never left the home-sharing platform for good. By May 2009, they had founded Home Sweet City. By 2015, both Hawketts and Fuentes Gonzalez were able to quit their jobs and work full-time for themselves.
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Today, Home Sweet City employs five additional staff members and supports a constellation of contractors—from AC repairmen and locksmiths to landscapers and cleaners. By far the company’s most popular service is its “hands-free,” full-service property management package, where owners hand over their keys and Home Sweet City takes care of the rest. That means staging the home (Hawketts and Fuentes Gonzalez only work with fully furnished homes), facilitating professional photography of the space, posting the unit online, managing guest inquiries and bookings, providing cleaning and linen services, and more.
“There’s a lot to it,” says Hawketts. “It feels like we sometimes have 60 small hotels all over the city. There are so many more.”
On any given day, Hawketts and her team can be found wading through the hundreds of messages they receive from potential guests around the world (the average on busy days is around 500 messages). Fuentes Gonzalez’s team is more peripatetic. They spend the day driving around town, checking on properties, performing routine maintenance tasks, picking up and dropping off linens, etc… Although they are on call 24 hours a day when a guest needs them , Hawketts and Fuentes Gonzalez make time to pick up their two young children from school in the afternoon. What they like about the work they have created for themselves is the flexibility.
In early 2017, the DC Council held an exciting hearing on a draft bill that would regulate home-sharing services. Although the bill went nowhere, it set the stage for the home-sharing debate that took center stage last month.
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In late September, it was announced that a revised home-sharing bill authored by Speaker Phil Mendelson would be considered by the Council. The proposed legislation would prohibit property owners from renting out second homes on a short-term basis, and it would limit the number of primary residence rental days to 90 per year if the owner is not physically present inside the house. Although the Council gave unanimous preliminary approval to the bill on October 2, a final vote was unexpectedly delayed two weeks later due to last-minute budget issues.
Few people have followed the council’s constituents more closely than Hawketts, who has been a frequent presence at the council building since the debate on
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