SEEKING ADVICE!! Multi-family - Airbnb or TRUE Bed & Breakfast

6 Replies

Hoping I can get different perspectives from the BP community. Just closed on a C5 zoned property in Colorado Springs on a major street less than a mile from downtown (currently going through growth explosion) and 1 mi to Old Colorado City hub (very popular tourist destination), and a 1200 sq ft commercial workshop(detached) that I can build out a second (interior floor). Excellent location and visibility for commercial (it is surrounded by commercial, or residential, or STR. Its become a hip-urban nook with 3 very popular breweries, restaurants, cafe's and a bike shop within 1-2 blocks, 1/2 mile easy access to I25 (interstate) and right on the main tourist route. The city has restricted Airbnbs, but due to C5 zoning, I can get a Bed & Breakfast license for less than $200 a year and it comes with a limited use liquor license. Retail tenant numbers not strong enough to consider.

Purchase price was $350k.

Here are the options I'm considering:

OPTION 1. Turn the "house" into a true Bed & Breakfast, and have an innkeeper I'd like to hire. "Inn" would have 5 bedrooms w/5 ensuite baths. Build out a 2bd / 2ba apartment in the workshop.

Gross revenue at 50% occupation is around 230k a year. AirDNA has this area at 80% occupancy. There could also be more revenue streams with the B & B. 

Cost to operate - I'm still working on those numbers

The big CONs are:

this is a BUSINESS, not just an STR.

Need to hire an innkeeper

I have to provide breakfast, even if it's just  continental style. 

Will require a marketing budget. Not passive income for the first 2-3 years while I build the business

Longer time for cash flow

The big PROs are:

Not susceptible to eviction moratoriums, rent loss, evictions, etc. 

The area is saturated with Airbnb's, so nightly rents have come down

More vulnerable to potential pandemic shut downs. 

Combination of Real Estate overlaid with a BUSINESS can be a very powerful tax vehicle

Business budget and business model on top of rehab budget

B & B allows us to market as an experience vs just an STR so we're not competing with the over saturated Airbnb market

OPTION 2. Airbnb House and Cottage unit, as complete units. Gross revenue project at 170k (both unit) at 50% occupancy. 


Lower revenue potential vs B & B

Still need to get the B & B license (and still need to provide "breakfast" even coffee & donuts)

STR biz model would mean much hight taxes vs B & B business (from what I understand)

HUGE Airbnb competition - area is highly desirable but oversaturated


Great revenue for an under $500k total investment

Quicker ramp up to produce revenue

Can become passive much sooner than a B & B 

OPTION 3. Keep the 3 units in the building; rent out 1/2 the workshop to a tenant who wants it NOW for $2k a month. The original units where very shabby and the area not too long ago was pretty sketchy, so either way my rehab budget is the same. I am rehabbing this property to a very high level. 

Gross revenue estimated at 75k a year


susceptible to moratoriums, rent loss, tenant damage, etc. 

need to build out separate areas and separate meters - adding about 30% to rehab budget

tenants can be a huge liability


Much more hands off than a B & B business

Immediate cash flow right at rehab completion

Tried and tested biz model, high demand area - units will rent the first day

If you've made it this far in the reading, I greatly appreciate any input, ideas, perspectives are so appreciated! 

my 2 cents - even though its a saturated zone for Airbnbs , you can certainly spruce up your property to cater to both BNB & Airbnb. Essentially it need not be one or another . If the numbers are good and there is constant flow of tourists- I would totally stick to STR( BNB + listing on major STR sites ) . The biggest risk in STR is already mitigated in your case with zoning exclusion.

@Joey Wharton congrats on the property! Regarding Airbnb there are some rules/things to follow. I don't know them very well at the moment because I don't have any Airbnb properties currently (and sadly). I know for me personally I lean more towards long term rentals as they are more hands off, but after a recent meetup I went to where some airbnb properties were analyzed it really got me thinking. All of this to say you've got some great choices and for me it would come down to what I feel is the best use of the property long term.

STR all the way. Make yours more special than anything else in the area, lower prices initially, then raise them.

And you do not have to provide anything other than coffee, just get a Keurig and pods......

Thank you guys for the feedback! I already have a plan to do themed rooms, ensuite baths for all bedrooms, and since its commercial zone and is in a commercial area, weddings and parties are ok per zoning.

Gururaj - a hybrid model is what seems to make the most sense. 

@Joey Wharton

Congrats on the purchase. I bet I know the property you're talking about. I tried to get a few different clients to buy that. It's got some possibilities. Like @Jeremy Gaal said, short-term rentals are more work, but the numbers start to make that work look appetizing. I just found a property near downtown Colorado Springs and Old Colorado City that has three units and actually meets the new stricter Airbnb laws. They're going to crush it.

A few thoughts, some that relate to your questions, some that don't.

  • Sounds like you already know this, but be sure to check with the city about the STR eligibility. I'm guessing this is within 500' of another non-owner occupied Airbnb rental, which makes this property ineligible.
  • I'd also check on the tax issue. I think B&Bs are classified as commercial properties for property tax purposes under state law, which has a rate of like 29%. Residential properties are taxed at 7% or so. (Yes, you then have to pay the lodger's tax, but that's only 10%.) Anyway, check on that.
  • Also, check on the requirements for a B&B. Because it might be a commercial use, you might be required to have a sprinkler system and exit signage. 
  • I'd reach out to Hoste or StayCOS, both short-term rental management companies in Colorado Springs. They might be able to help walk you through the setup, costs, and potential revenues.
  • I'd also throw out the option of medium-term rentals. Maybe you do a mix of STRs, medium-term rentals and long-term rentals. We do that remote-worker type rental at properties in Denver and Colorado Springs and see some nice numbers but without the work of STRs.

Whatever you choose, I wish you luck. Cheers!

@James Carlson excellent points. I spoke with the city and the state for the B & B license the property qualifies. I just have to provide at minimum coffee & donuts (ie. minimal). It does provide me the option of commercial signage and I believe that's where the property becomes classified as commercial. The B & B license is a hybrid sort of license. The lodging taxes apply. But I will get informed on the potential for commercial property taxes. 

A good friend of mine rents his home out via StayCOS. He's happy with them, but they after all is said and done, they cost him on average 40% + of revenue. He lives out of state, so it makes sense for him. 

The remote worker market interests me the most, but I have don't have enough market data to assess the demand. I'll reach out to you and see if maybe that's the way to go.