Homeowners cash in on eclipse tourists - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Homeowners cash in on eclipse tourists

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MARION -- Some of the most rural spots here in southern Illinois are the most wanted for characteristics important to eclipse watchers. 

Down a rural dead end road in Marion, up a hill, past some tiger lilies, sits an empty house with 70 acres of land.

Becky Abbott and her family hasn't moved in yet.

"We recently bought the property in March. We're building our future home here," Abbott said. 

She and her husband decided to make use of the vacant property with a 360 degree view of the sky and take advantage of the tens of thousands coming to southern Illinois for the solar eclipse. 

"I took some pictures on Sunday afternoon, on Sunday night I put it on Airbnb and today, two, three days later, we have somebody interested in renting it I think they actually confirmed their booking," she said. 

Their old home in the rural parts of Marion sold for $1,800 for a two nights stay. 

"I mean it's just unbelievable," she said. 

Meantime, residents in town have the same idea. Pete Gordon is looking at having his family stay with a relative to let out of town eclipse viewers use his home. 

"I think a lot of that inventory is shrinking as time is getting a little closer that there could be, like I said a chance maybe to do a last minute home rental and make that extra money," he said. 

But not everyone feels the same. Myra Stefan said while she's amazed by what it will do for the local economy, she's not opening up her home anytime soon.  

"I would be a little bit leery of having strange people in my home or even out in my back yard or the neighbors backyard. There might be a little fear in that for me," Stefan said. 

Visitors shouldn't worry though. There are plenty of spots, in the country or in town, to rent in southern Illinois and see the eclipse at its longest duration in the world. 

Marion city leaders just voted this week to regulate rentals of homes and rooms over the internet. Homeowners must first get a license and inspection from the city.

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