If you could live in a large, beautiful home without a mortgagefor only $500 a month, would you? Vacant Home Caretakers is a private company that matches vacant homes that are currently for sale with carefully screened “Home Managers” who pay a greatly reduced rental fee to live in the vacant home until it sells or is taken off the market.  With the excess inventory for sale these days, this innovative business is booming. But, before you get too excited, there are a few requirements. Home Managers must be non-smokers, not have pets, and must stage the home with furniture that would look good in the home. Still, for dirt-cheap rent, it’s a pretty sweet concept.

A Home Manager is currently occupying the residence at 5027 Scenic Drive in Yakima, Washington. Check out the great amenities and sweeping views this for sale home has to offer:

The View

The Home’s Exterior

This rental agreement boasts advantages for sellers and Home Managers:


  1. Homeowners’ insurance rates can climb heavily on a home that is vacant because of the high risk of vandalism, home repairs that need immediate attention, or squatters — folks that break in to a vacant home and “make it theirs.”
  2. A home that is staged and welcoming is always better in the eyes of the potential buyer than a house that is cold and empty. Staging a house also provides a “clean canvas” for a potential homeowner to envision themselves living in the home.
  3. The utilities are paid for by the Home Manager, relieving the homeowner of having to pay excessive heat and light bills for a home they do not currently live in.

Home Managers:

  1. A luxury home can be rented for half the price it would normally cost to rent in any given market. So, if a home in a market normally rents for $1,000, a Home Manager would pay half that price, or $500.
  2. There is no lease period. This is ideal for folks that need a place for just a few months or for people who are waiting to find their perfect home to buy.
  3. It forces you to stay neat and tidy! The company asks you to keep the home in tip-top shape since real estate agents can pop in at any time to show the home.

Vacant Home Caretakers, a company that launched in 1979, has offices located in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and southern California. According to owner Susanne Carnevali, business has increased dramatically lately and with more homes sitting on the market for extended periods of time, her business is poised to benefit from this economic downturn.

About the Author

Alison writes about rental and mortgage market trends for Zillow Blog.

  • David Taylor

    I am a Google Adwords Professional in Australia focusing on the Real Estate industry and just wanted to say what a great real estate blog you have.

  • Mr Mogul

    Years ago a house sitter was paid a couple of hundred dollars to “watch” a home. He wished he could afford to live in such a well appointed property.

    Today, a home manager lives in the home, as his very own, until it actually sells. Then, when the property closes, he moves on to the next executive spec home with cabana and pool, until that home sells, as well.

    Times are a-changin’.

    Great ideas all….

  • Ron Boyd

    So, you have to furnish the house AND pay them $500 a month. Where’s the value to the “manager” in that?

  • Joe

    The value is that you don’t have to pay $1000 a month to be in the home and furnish it. The rent is half because the home is on the market.

  • Ron Boyd

    So the Seller is getting a live-in caretaker who brings their own (presumably appropriate) furniture, cleans the house, shows the house, and packs up and moves out when the house is sold (assumable a big expensive hassle) — and they also get $500/month or so in INCOME from this person.

    Sweet deal… for the Seller. The “manager” on the other hand…

  • bob smythe

    Why aren’t there any offices in suffolk county loong island ny? There sholud be!! Also, when people comment they should be able to pick from different colors fonts and sizes.

  • SB

    My husband and I actually are the House Managers of this beautiful home. I am up at 2:30 am looking on line for available rentals at this time, as we received notice that this home is being purchased 9 hours ago. We have been living at this residence only 2 months and we updated the home with furnishings to make this home look 100% better than the outdated furnishings that were here when we moved in. Even the owner of the home and several realtors stated this. The house was always kept impeccably clean (& this is a big home to clean!), and we cooperated with all realotors leaving the home in a moments notice for any showings. The notice of moving out was all part of “the deal”, but the home owner called just 9 hours ago, requesting that we be moved out of this home in 12 days so he can come and stay at this house to have a yard sale, etc……yes only 12 days! Very sad as we both will be working full time and caring for our toddler. Where is the time to find a place to rent, pack, work and Move in 12 days??

    Anyway, it was a good idea when this opportunity came up. Not so good now.

  • SB

    Oh, and this Scenic residence is $600 a month plus all utilities.

  • kitchen cabinets in suffolk county new york

    Are the units furnished, or perhaps, semi-furnished?

  • Stock Trader

    Is there a web site that lists these kinds of rental deals, or are they too few to list? For example, if I want to find something like this in bay area, where can i find them? Thanks.

  • cs

    WOW is what I think. We have been Home Managers for Vacant Home Caretakers for over a year in the same beautiful home and love it. We pay only $700. a month and this place is so nice it would rent for close to $1500. a month. VHC people are great, the Realtors are nice and we are living like Kings. If this house ever does sell we will continue on with VHC. Love this service it has been needed for a long time

  • sb

    I’m with you SC. I also have been a home manager for a long time in Seattle and love it. Plan to buy my own home soon with all time money I saved. Not sure I can afford a home as nice as this one so will stay here for awhile. Did you know they have offices in Seattle, Tri-Cities, Yakima, California and now in Las Vegas.

  • Suzanne

    We have several beautiful homes available now in all of our offices for $600. to $700. per month. Call or email me if you are interested.

    Suzanne Carnevali

  • TransCanada Rentals

    Home rentals for so cheap. Home rentals are never usually that cheap in such a nice rental neighbourhood.

  • shemira figueroa

    i need a home tired of living with my parents its time for me to grow up but i need it at a good price because i am a college student so i pay monthly to the school as well. if you have anything please call me 813 406 3410

  • Yvonne Fuller Agnew

    I just became a widow. My sister and I are
    in need of a home because apartment living
    in town is too stress ful. We are used to
    living in a home. We would like to become
    Home Managers. Any vancancies?
    We can put our income together and move on
    with our lives in a nice setting
    Please call at 206-329-1092

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