Are you a property owner or an investor focusing on furnished rentals for corporate clients?
If yes, you might have already stumbled upon the Corporate Housing by Owner platform, where you can promote these types of properties.
In this review article, I pack essential Corporate Housing by Owner reviews into one and give you my opinion about this platform.
So keep reading to learn what I found out about it.
What is Corporate Housing by Owner?
Corporate Housing by Owner connects individual property managers, property owners, and corporate housing companies with mostly business travelers on a domestic and international level.
It is also a marketing and educational website and offers individuals furnished private residences that can be rented every month.
Corporate Housing by Owner also features the so-called “CHBO complete” property standards program that helps owners to rent their properties.
It was launched in March 2006 and published in USA Today, New York Times, the Denver Post, Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle, and its site has reached several million visitors since then.
Besides the website potential, tenants are also reached by different marketing efforts, such as trade expos, direct sales, and direct mail.
All properties on Corporate Housing by Owner are individually owned by owners or property managers.
How to Use Corporate Housing by Owner
Using It As a Potential Tenant
When you visit the site as a potential tenant, you can use the site search by clicking on “Need Housing.”
You can enter your search criteria, such as the city where you want to rent and your arrival and departure dates.
As additional information, you can indicate if you have pets and would like to search within a certain radius of the respective city.
Further, the required information you would need to enter is:
- The length of your stay
- The number of bedrooms needed.
- The anticipated move-in date
- Your price range
- The purpose of needing a property and all further requirements
- Your complete contact information (First Name, Last Name, Country, State, City, Phone, Email, and preferred method of contact)
Additionally, it is a requirement for you to create a new account with Corporate Housing by Owner.
So, this section is basically for potential tenants needing more assistance finding the right property.
You can also use the browsing section on the website when you click on the “Browse Top Cities” drop-down field.
The different cities are ordered alphabetically, and once you click on a city, you will see different properties you could rent.
Afterward, you will get to another page with a broad overview of the available properties.
If you scroll down, you can choose between corporate apartments in the city and short-term rentals.
On this overview site, you will also get some basic information about the respective city, such as population size and major economic drivers.
When you click on a property to see further details, you will get the typical property detail listing page with pictures, an overview of the features, the description, amenities, rates, a map, availability, and reviews.
Using the different tabs, you can jump to the different sections of the page.
You won’t have to enter that many details to contact the specific listing owner, like when you go the route with more assistance.
You just enter your first name and last name, phone, email, and a message.
The arrival and departure dates are optional to enter.
You can also save properties you like by clicking the start/heart link associated with the listing. This is only possible if you are registered and logged in.
Once you have a list of saved properties, you can return to it by clicking “saved listings.”
Using It As an Owner
If you are an owner and want to advertise your property with Corporate Housing by Owner, you will need to select one of the pricing plans.
You can promote unfurnished and furnished properties.
The company has four yearly plans, one fixed monthly plan, and three monthly bulk plans.
Except for the bulk plans, all prices for the plans are disclosed on their website, but you can find the bulk plan prices hidden within the FAQ section.
CHBO gives all owners the guarantee that their property will be rented within 30 days once the listing is activated.
If this won’t happen, they will extend your subscription for six more months without further costs.
The guarantee is not entirely without limitations; it can only be applied to new annual packages and excludes the bronze package.
You can find below an overview of the different pricing plans:
|Bronze ($339 per year)||Silver ($399 per year)||Gold ($499 per year)||Platinum/Certified ($975 per year)|
|Basic Search Ranking||X||X||X||-|
|Priority Search Ranking||-||-||-||X|
|Listings Allowed Live||1||1||1||1|
|Photo Slots Available||18||33||33||60|
|Listing Duration||12 Months||12 Months||12 Months||12 Months|
|Sponsored Listing||-||1 Month||3 Months||6 Months|
|Featured Listing||-||1 Month||3 Months||6 Months|
|CHBO Certified Property||-||-||-||X|
|Professional Photo Shoot||-||-||-||X|
|Linked to Partner Site’s||X||X||X||X|
|Assigned CHBO Agent||-||-||-||X|
|Bulk 5 (5 Listings $199)||Bulk 10 (10 Listings $249)||Bulk 25 (25 Listings $379)||Monthly $229 (for 1 Month)|
|Basic Search Ranking||X||X||X||X|
|Listings Allowed Live||5||10||25||1|
|Photo Slots Per Listing||33||33||33||18|
|Listing Duration||6 Months||6 Months||6 Months||1 Month|
|Linked to Partner Site’s||X||X||X||X|
You will first need to register to buy one of the listing plans.
You can do this using your Facebook or Twitter account or email.
Corporate Housing by Owner also offers different discounts should you need to list multiple properties.
For secondary listing(s), prices start at $229 per year for the basic annual listing.
The Sponsored Listing Option
As you might have noticed in the pricing overview table, there is the “sponsored listing” feature.
Only the Silver, Gold, and Platinum/Certified plans include this feature.
What does it do?
It will get your listing a higher exposure, and your ad will be displayed in a special area on the search results page and displayed in the regular list and map view.
We will have to remember this feature because I will get back to it later in my section about which pricing plan I would choose.
Should you have one of the Bulk plans or the Bronze plan, you can upgrade by clicking on the tab “my listings” within the dashboard.
You can click the “Sponsored Listing” option and the “Add” button there. After that, you select how long you would like the duration to be and make the payment.
Is there a way to monitor the listing’s activity or any analytics feature?
The analytics functionality is limited, and you can only see each time your property listing is viewed.
To find this section, you must visit your dashboard once logged in and click the “My Listings” tab.
Under the “Stats” column, you will see an icon that looks like an eye, and you just need to click it to see the stats of your property.
What About Virtual Tours?
You might have already read my article about virtual tours about the benefits of offering them.
On Corporate Housing by Owner, you can also include a virtual tour of your property.
You just need to be logged in again, then click on the “my listings” tab and click edit.
Next, you click the edit button below your property’s details and select the ” links ” tab on top.”
Now, you can insert whatever link you have for your virtual tour in the link field.
Once you insert it, a virtual tour icon will automatically be displayed in your listing detail section.
Does Corporate Housing by Owner Work with Exclusivity?
Since the website is not a real estate broker that makes owners enter into an exclusive listing agreement, it doesn’t limit you from promoting or advertising your property on other channels.
The only thing you might want to ensure is to update the availability calendar so other channels where you promote your property don’t interfere with the availability displayed on the Corporate Housing by Owner website.
Is there some tenant onboarding assistance that Corporate Housing by Owner can offer?
There is some assistance that the company makes available. They offer some sample rental agreements that you can access in the dashboard.
But I wouldn’t use it 1:1 since, depending on your situation, you might need to fine-tune it with your lawyer, so you can follow your local laws.
Although not directly but through their partner
SmartMove, via Transunion, also offers a tenant screening service.
Which Pricing Plan Would I Choose and Why?
Although it is tempting to start at once with the most economical plans, such as the silver or the different bulk plans, I wouldn’t start with them.
Firstly, because they don’t provide the CHBO renting guarantee and you don’t get the listing exposure, you will need to test your rental offer from the get-go.
In my opinion, the Gold plan is the plan you want to choose from the start because you will get the “renting guarantee”, and you will be able to get at least for one month the maximum exposure possible with sponsored and featured listings.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t analyze the overall website traffic of Corporate Housing by Owner via tools such as similarweb.com.
These tools never give an exact number, but at least can estimate the traffic within a certain ballpark.
This may be due to insufficient website traffic (the tools start to work at higher traffic volumes), which would be strange.
Or it could be due to having some blocking function active in the website’s backend, making it impossible to analyze via third-party tools.
By knowing the monthly website traffic, even based on an estimation, I could have calculated the cost per acquisition based on the pricing and a certain average traffic conversion rate.
This would have made the comparison of the different plans a bit easier.
By the way, this was also when my first good impression changed slightly.
But you will see what I am talking about once you get to the pros and cons and customer reviews I found further below.
The Pros and Cons of Corporate Housing by Owner
- Helpful customer service
- A rent guarantee for specific pricing plans
- Some tenant onboarding assistance (e.g., sample agreements, tenant screening by partner)
- Rather expensive plans and no free trial periods
- The tenant inquiry forms could be asking for a bit less information and thus might increase the website traffic conversion rates.
- The pricing of the bulk plans is hard to find and not disclosed on the main pricing page. After a long search effort, you can find them only on the FAQ page.
- When you browse for rental listings in a particular city, the first page shows only a few rental properties, which can give the false impression to tenants that there is not much inventory. But once you click on one of the rental property categories, you often get a much more extensive selection. This could lead to website visitor bounces and lower conversions.
Corporate Housing by Owner Reviews – The Good & Bad
I also checked most of the available customer reviews about Corporate Housing by Owner and filtered the ones that didn’t seem too biased to one side or another.
And this is what I found:
2 Good Reviews
“I have used, and benefited, from the services of CHBO for approximately three years.
Through CHBO I found two excellent tenants in succession, and I earned the rental income for which I was aiming. CHBO provided me, in many cases personally over the phone, with all the assistance and advice that I needed.
I heartily recommend CHBO.” (source)
“I’ve had the pleasure of using CHBO to advertise my furnished rental since early 2014.
Their website is very easy to use, and if you need to talk to someone, I highly recommend Eric *****, because he’s given me a lot of good advice.
I used their photographer to get professional shots of both the interior and exterior.
I followed their directions to certify my rental CHBO, meaning fully furnished, including dishes, towels, everything they listed as essential for renters comfort.” (source)
2 Bad Reviews
“CHBO was a complete waste of money.
I live in a highly desirable area near Century City and Beverly Hills and got very little interest through this site.
I spoke to an employee who sold their website and service to me as a complete “package”, and convinced me to buy it.
But of course, when I wasn’t happy with the outcome, they argued that I had purchased an “ad”, and that ads don’t always work out (funny how they were no longer positioning their website/service as a “package”).
Anyway, they knew I was very unhappy and their customer service never bothered to reach out to me to try to make it right. “ (source)
“I tried CHBO and also found that it wasn’t worth the money.
I saw the not very positive experiences in this thread, but I figured it would be worth it if we at least got one booking through it.
But after two months there hasn’t been a single inquiry. CHBO reps say it’s a slow time of year and say we should post more photos of the outside, etc.
But during that same period of time, we easily booked 3 stays totaling 6 months of medium-term corporate renters (a traveling nurse and two business travelers) using Airbnb for the same property as soon as we opened up the availability on Airbnb.
The biggest red flag is that CHBO offers no free trial period, they charge a large up-front full-year fee, and it’s completely NON-refundable.” (source)
My Impression About the Reviews I Found
Again, the reviews I mentioned above are just a selection of good and bad reviews that I thought were not too biased.
But my overall impression reading many different reviews across several websites was that good reviews often seemed overly polished, and somehow I could never buy them as entirely authentic.
Unfortunately, the longer and more detailed reviews that seemed more authentic were the bad ones.
This leads me to the last section of this review article – the alternatives.
What Are the Alternatives from an Owner’s Perspective?
After what I found, you may still want to try it with Corporate Housing by Owner, but unfortunately, I can’t give the platform complete green lights for a go.
So, that’s why I will also provide you with three alternatives you might want to consider.
With 2ndAddress, you can create a free listing with no listing costs or commitment.
The platform caters to business travelers and provides in-depth screening and credit checks.
Their Host Assured Program includes property protection, accident, and liability insurance policy for damages.
2ndAddress also features a property management service.
You can find out more about the company here.
There is not much to say about Craigslist since it is a well-known classified ads platform worldwide.
It includes classified sections for jobs, housing, for sale, items wanted, community service, services, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums.
You could promote your furnished rental property for free in the housing section.
You can check it out here.
Another rental platform that is now very popular is Airbnb.
It connects property owners or people who have access to properties and want to rent them out with people looking for furnished accommodations worldwide.
It isn’t directly focused on the niche of corporate housing, but you can present your property in a way that will attract corporate tenants.
The platform charges a small fee per transaction for its “connection services,” and no recurring monthly or annual flat fees have to be paid.
You can learn more about Airbnb here.
This was a bit of a bumpy review, and I would have loved to be able to fully recommend Corporate Housing by Owner to you.
But the more I dug deeper into the platform, compared it with alternatives, and especially read the different user reviews, I realized that my first overly positive impression couldn’t hold up until the end.
You may still want to try it as a marketing experiment with some cash to spare, but remember the downsides mentioned.
This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.