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Rentals are going fast in county

KENT — Ira Goldspiel is renting houses to people without even having to walk them through the property.

“They’re taking things sight unseen,”said Goldspiel, a Sharon resident whose Goldspiel Group is part of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty with its office in Kent. Although none of his agents are working from the office now, of course. 

“We’re all working remotely and by phone,” Goldspiel said. And his phone is busy all the time lately, primarily with people calling from New York City looking for rentals. 

“They’re in a state of panic,” he said. “If you’re in New York, you’re freaked out.”

The surge in demand for rentals began on Wednesday, March 11, “and by that weekend almost everything was gone.”

People with houses that were for sale are now renting their properties temporarily. Needless to say, prices are high.

“I’m renting an ordinary house, not fancy, for $6,500 a month, with a minimum until the end of May. 

“Normally it would be $2,000 or $2,500 for a nicer house. We’re getting about $10,000 or $11,000 a month now — and this is for winter. Usually we’re dead at this time of year and pretty soon there won’t be anything left.”

There’s no lag time for renters.

“They want it that day or tomorrow. It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen.”

So far, everyone Goldspiel has rented to has a car and seems somewhat prepared for life in a rural area.

“But I always have to explain to them that sometimes there isn’t cell service here. I had one house that didn’t have internet so the renters had to get it set up.

“I have to explain that this is a house and it’s safe, and if it doesn’t have window shades that you like then you might need to bring your own shades. This is what we have.

“People always ask about doctors, and I have to explain that we have a small hospital and not a lot of doctors. This is the country, not the city.”

For the most part, he has found that full-time local residents are being friendly and welcoming. 

“And the people who are renting out their houses are thankful for the income, businesses here are happy to have customers. The world economy is in crisis. We’re lucky to be up here, and to have food at our grocery stores.”

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