Housing Complex

The Inauguration Rental Chronicles, Part 4: Exuberant Exchanges After a Response

The Inauguration Rental Chronicles follows the epic story of four roommates as they seek to rent out their Northwest townhouse for a glorious sum while battling the tides of waning consumer interest, pie-in-the-sky expectations, and an untested and entirely unknown market.

The last chapter of our story ended on a positive note. After three days on Craigslist, the group's advertisement got a hit from a woman that wanted to bring 15 college students and two chaperons from St. Johns College in Patchogue New York to stay in the group's four-bedroom home. (Yes, this number was somewhat worrisome. But perhaps it could be negotiated down.) After an initial e-mail, the respondent made several requests: "Can you send me photos? Another question, how far are you from the metro, restaurants and sites?"

This letter prompted one roommate, with gleaming dollar signs in her eyes, to draft an exuberant e-mail about nearly every business within a two mile radius. Here's a snippet:

On Kenyon and 14th Street there is The Heights (a more upscale restaurant) and then you have Julia's Empanadas, El Pollo Campero (peruvian chicken is AMAZING there), and Rita's Italian Ice. Giant grocery store is a block up on 14th and Lamont, its across from Sticky Fingerz Bakery one of the best vegan bakeries on the East coast. A block down on 14th and Irving is the metro (green and yellow lines, Columbia Heights station), Pete's Apizza (best pizza in DC!), Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Panda Express, and Commonwealth Gastropub. There is also a Target, Marshall's, Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond, a gym, Kinkos and Starbucks.

There were similar paragraphs covering the U Street area (home to "music venues such as the 9:30 club, Black Cat, Bohemian Caverns, DC9 and Velvet Lounge"), and what to do by Dupont Circle ("Sit in the park by the fountain or hit up even more dining options") and Eastern Market ("Definitely check it out on Sunday the local produce and chotchkies for sale there at awesome and unique").

In total the letter took roughly fifteen minutes to draft. And in response, the inquirer sent...nothing. The St. Johns College woman never wrote back. She simply dropped off the face of the earth. At least one relationship was not terminated in this exchange: the connection existing between craigslist and the home's somewhat deflated residents.

Image by Tsevis

  • http://avocadoinparadise.blogspot.com Avocado

    Well the money gleaming tenant gave the inquirer all she wanted in the 15 minute email! Gotta leave something to give after the money exchange. "Yes, there is a lot to see and do here. We will tell you all about it -- after you rent the house."

    Fascinating saga.

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  • http://www.InaugurationRent.com Andrew Pearson

    These intrepid roommates should try my website, InaugurationRent.com - It doesn't have the volume of rental listings as craigslist, but I advertise it nationally to people visiting DC for the Inauguration to get a lot of traffic per listing. Be persistent, and make sure you are advertising in all the best venues.

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  • http://www.savingtoinvest.com/2008/12/big-money-and-tips-on-renting-place-for.html Andy

    Great post and I just wrote a piece on ways to get your place rented for Obama's inauguration. Good luck.

  • http://www.concordretreat.com Gini

    I was hoping that you might be able to put me in touch with a band that might need housing….. I have 150 beds in dorm-style houses 90 miles from downtown Washington DC. For a group of students the cost per night is $30 for a group of adults the cost per night is $50. Pretty darn reasonable !! and the dining room serves 3 meals a day, and they’re hearty home-style meals for only $8.50 per person….

    Weve plenty of room for practicing, and for turning those big buses around…. Can you tell me what else a band might need? If so, we’ll find it !! If the group is flying in, then our local school system is willing to talk about transporting the group….

    So, can you help me get the word out ? or tell me HOW to get the word out ?? We could serve a small marching band, or choral group, etc….. Whatever !!

    Thanks for whatever help you can give me…


    Gini LaMaster
    Concord Retreat

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