As a Next Move Network member, I’m often called on to assist professional athletes with their housing needs in the Tampa/Clearwater area. I’ve had the opportunity to assist multiple NFL and MLB players, coaches, and executives throughout the years ranging from high-end luxury purchases, to investment properties, to short-term furnished rentals for Spring Training.
This past October, I was called to assist with housing for a high-profile NFL player. The Next Move Network has previously handled the housing needs for this particular player throughout the U.S. In working with athletes over the years, I’ve learned that you often work with their agents, personal assistants, or another representative initially until further transactions are needed down the line.
So, I wasn’t surprised when the player’s personal assistant reached out to me. His representative provided me with a list of the player’s needs and wants and a move-in date in two weeks! The list included: a three-month lease, fully furnished, five-plus bedroom home on the waterfront with privacy and security, plus less than 20 minutes to the stadium.
As you might imagine, there isn’t a ton of available inventory fitting this list, especially with immediate availability. I knew I had to think outside the box! I was also faced with the challenge of finding specialized housing during the lease term that would cover Super Bowl weekend, which happened to be in Tampa.
Since luxury rentals have been booked solid for this particular weekend for months, I knew I would have to get creative! I called other high-end luxury agents to see if they had anything off-market that would fit my client’s needs. I spent hours poring over VRBO/Airbnb listings and contacting private owners. These trails were all dead ends. Following one more bit of inspiration, I reached out to the personal assistant of the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Tampa Bay Rays. Knowing that this assistant often helps with housing needs for players, I asked if any of their players would consider renting out their homes since it was offseason.
I finally found one property that I believed could work for the NFL player. Because I go the extra mile for all of my clients, I first toured the home myself to make sure it was a good fit. Afterward, the NFL player’s fiancé joined me via FaceTime to tour the property. Once she approved it, this was followed by a FaceTime call with the player himself while he was getting a haircut. While he really liked the property, it was not in a gated community so, the house was put on the “maybe” list. Back to the drawing board, I went!
A little while later, I received a call from the player’s representative saying the player would consider a different home purchase with a few stipulations. The house had to be furnished and ready to move in the following week. Knowing the enormity of this request, I quickly got back to work! I found two properties that fit his wish list! I negotiated early tenancy for both listings and worked with Jordan Stuart, the Next Move Network CEO, putting together a plan to furnish both homes on short notice.
As soon as I could, I presented these options to the player and his rep. After review, they ultimately decided it didn’t make financial sense to purchase at this time until the player signed an extended contract. Undeterred, I went back to the rental market. I continued to scour unconventional channels to find this needle in a haystack and send the player more options. In the end, he decided that the first property he toured was going to be the best fit.
I asked the listing agent to draft the contract with an “out clause.” This underused and not well-known clause terminates the lease if the player is released or traded. I also requested all new sheets, comforters, and towels, plus some additional pool furniture, which they agreed to supply.
Once I had the contract in hand, there were still many hoops to jump through and several signatures to be gotten. This is not out of the ordinary with professional athletes. There were many hands in the agreement and extensive reviews in the process. Cutting it close, I received the executed contract back the night before move-in day!
The NFL player requested to meet me on move-in day to receive the keys and be shown the property first hand. He was unable to provide a time frame for this meeting due to practice and previously scheduled engagements. As it turns out, at 6:00 pm that very evening, just as I was sitting down to dinner with my family, I received a call asking me to meet him at the house in 30 minutes. 30 minutes! The property is about 30 minutes away, so I raced out the door and met him just in time. Some would argue that 30 minutes isn’t giving proper notice, and agents aren’t “on call.” However, Next Move prides itself on providing outstanding concierge services to all clients!
In case you’re wondering, the personalized service to our star athlete client didn’t stop on move-in day. I followed up with recommendations for a personal chef and house cleaner. I even offered my personal babysitter for game days! At one point, there was an issue with the stove. Being on top of customer relations, I arranged to have it replaced within 24 hours. While the player is currently in the middle of his lease, I’m sure additional requests or assistance will be needed in the next couple of months. But that’s what we are here for! The Next Move Network always goes above and beyond for our clients!