PINEHURST: Pinehurst homeowners cash in on US Open - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Pinehurst homeowners cash in on US Open

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Golf fans are flocking to Pinehurst for the U.S. Open. And for those who live there, they'll have to decide to stay and enjoy the tournament, or rent their home out to incoming guests.

Either option has its pros and cons.

"I would rather not have people we don't know in our home, it's just a personal preference," said Cricket Bunting, who chose not to rent out her house for the Open. "We just want to share that with our friends and family, and enjoy that."

Irma Chriscoe, who doesn't seem to mind the guests, rented out her house for the Open in 2005 and described it as a great experience.

"In 2005, I also rented my home for the Open. I was living here and just got out for the week and it was such a great experience. I just wanted to do it again this time," Chriscoe said.

But there are only a select number of houses that fit the bill as far as being desirable rental homes.

"A house that's on the number 2 course, and it has a nice kitchen and a great backyard. That's the best seller that we have. We call that a host house," said Margaret Hinesley of Chanticleer Properties.

The typical host house comes with a large kitchen that can accommodate buffet-style meals for groups and a nice setting for cocktails. But these homes aren't cheap; they can cost around $60,000 and up. And with a price tag like that, a host house is typically rented out by a corporation.

But not all the homes for rent during the U.S. Open will set you back $60,000.

"You can get a home for say $3,000 and it'll be nice, but it'll be probably at least 5 miles," Hinesley explained.

But if a homeowner does plan to rent out their home to guests, there are a few things Hinesley suggests they do.

"There is a list of owner responsibilities that we give to our clients. The first one is to clear out any perishable food that is in your home including the refrigerator," Hinesley said. "It has to be totally emptied. They don't want any kind of food that the family had."

Chriscoe feels spending a little extra money to prepare her home for U.S. Open is worth the investment.

"The biggest bonus of renting is that money," Chriscoe said.

But that's not all. It's the feeling of being part of a major event, "and just meeting the people and having the experience, just doing the experience like I'm part of what's happening in Pinehurst," Chriscoe said.

Many of the properties are not cleared of personal affects, so visitors get to know their host families through family photos and other items.

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