The short-term rental (STR) market has exploded since the Covid-19 pandemic. As America’s workforce raced home, people realized that they could work from anywhere. This, coupled with the desire to isolate oneself and family from other people during vacations, created a strong demand for STR properties. As the trend boomed, large and small investors jumped into the stream and bought properties to market as short-term rentals.
Owning an STR can be a great investment. In addition to the incremental income, the home appreciates in value, and the owner may even find time to use the property themselves. But owning this kind of rental isn’t as easy as putting a lockbox on the door and washing the sheets. Before investing in a STR, consider these 5 things.
- Local Zoning and HOA Rules – This may seem obvious, yet every year people buy homes with the intention of using it as a STR only to find that the local authorities prohibit that kind of rental. Often, one must rent the home for 30+ days as part of an HOA or local zoning law.
- Property Management – The wrong property management company can cost the homeowner time and money. Bad reviews, property damage, and mismanaged funds are just a few of the problems caused by the wrong manager.
- Property Condition – While it’s important to buy a home the owner can handle. Simple cosmetic changes are easy to fix for a home in the right location.
- Personal Taste – One of the biggest mistakes investors make is to buy what they like, instead of the right property for a short-term rental. They should consider why someone would come to a STR in that area and find a property that appeals to that.
- Part-Time Manager – Regardless of how handy the owner is, owning a vacation rental is a full-time job and should be managed by a professional management company.
Renters of short-term rentals are choosing the privacy and intimacy that an STR offers, but they expect to have hotel-quality service. This is a high bar and before buying a home to use as a STR, investors need to carefully consider all the aspects of this kind of ownership.