Homeowners start to cash in on booked Final Four weekend

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Mar. 24, 2015) -- With Final Four weekend less than a week away, Hoosiers are posting their own homes online for big bucks.

Posting on websites like Airbnb have increased, with new listings each day. Homes, condos or rooms were going for everything from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars a night.

One of those postings is from Colin Dugdale, who experienced a short-term rental with his home during the Super Bowl. He heard the Final Four may bring in money as well, so thought he'd try it again.

"A friend of mine actually was able to rent his place out already, I think for $1500 a night, so at that rate it definitely seemed like it was worth it," Dugdale said.

He found one drawback pretty quickly, though. Most fans aren't committing since there are still sixteen teams in the running.

"So far it’s all been Kentucky fans, so I’m actually really hoping that they make it into the Final Four, figuring at that point there will be a lot of people traveling in from nearby," Dugdale said.

If it sounds intriguing, there are still reasons to take a step back before you list.

Claire Belby, with the Metropolitan Board of Realtors, said there are things you should do ahead of time since you'll be renting out to total strangers.

"You just want to take as much of the risk out of it as you can," Belby said.

She suggested that you be sure that you are allowed to sublet short-term, if you rent or own a condo. Also, talk to your insurance company to be sure you'll be covered.

"You can add a rider onto your insurance policy. It’s very inexpensive (and a) very smart move," Belby said.

Other suggestions include doing your homework and requesting background information, like a driver's license number, on potential renters. You should also take steps to protect yourself from scams.

In Dugdale's case, he speaks to each possible renter by phone, looks them up on social media like LinkedIn and requires a hefty down payment up front.

"You can tell so much just by talking to somebody over the phone and if they give you money and their check clears then you’re kind of good to go," Dugdale said.

State Police have also put together tips on potential renting scams. You can find more information at the website here.

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