I am planning on buying my first vacation rental property this Spring and I am really hoping to work as a STR property manager to gain experience and make an income while my business is growing. Does anyone have any advice on how to break into this without much previous experience?
Thanks in advance!
Where are you going to be managing? The first thing I'd do would be to jump on Airbnb or VRBO and do an analysis of total properties in the service area you plan to work in.
If there are less than 20 in the area you're looking to do it, it's probably not a good idea.
If it's 20-300, could be interesting.
If it's 300+, BINGO
That would be my first step. Gotta have inventory to rent in order to have inventory to manage!
@David Zall feel free to reach out to me and we can hop on a call. I will share with you tips and resources to help you get started.
@William Beck thanks for your reply! I live in Maine where we get 37 million visitors every year with a population of only 1.3 million so summer tourism is the life blood of the state. STR properties are everywhere here (although obviously the pandemic has changed things dramatically) I just don't know how to establish myself without a background in property management.
@David Zall I'm not a property manager because it's hard work, but the #1 thing people need is someone they can rely on. If that's you, you can figure everything else out with some time and research. Figure out what it's going to cost you to run your business (electronics, licenses, cleaning supplies), get to know how SEO works on Airbnb/VRBO, figure out best practices for cleaning & turnover, figure out how you're going to do linens, ... There are a decent number of things to look into. Just letting someone know you're reliable and charge a decent rate and there should be interest.
@David Zall read a lot. Become the most knowledgeable person in this topic and get a great understanding of your market, the areas, the price points, what properties will and will not cash flow, and get your own criteria established for what will work. As you manage your own str and get knowledge, things will start coming your way. Tell your network about what your doing and join real estate meet ups to network.
There are too many STR managers who have no clue how to analyze a deal or how to process a claim if damages occur. They destroy the reputation of STRs as a whole and cause issues down the road (such as very upset neighbors who will not tolerate airbnbs any more). That's why it's so important that you know what you're doing so you can provide a good service.
I wrote this a while back to help investors vet their STR managers https://www.biggerpockets.com/member-blogs/13688/92930-part-1-investors-expectations
Not clear - You want to self-manage or work for a PM?
Based on personal experience, I would NOT self-manage unless
1) You know how to post and bill on sites like VRBO and AirBnB
2) You know how to handle the schedule since you'll get mult requests for some dates (4th July and Labor Day).
3) You can do quick turns on clean ups if you get booked tight
4) You have a good relationship with local govt, STRs are on most of their lists.
5) You can do emergency repairs NOW
@Steve Morris I would like to do either or both. I apply to multiple property management positions every week but I haven't had any luck so far due to my lack of experience. As to your criteria, it's a bit of a chicken and egg type of deal. No one learns all those skills in a vacuum and I need an opportunity to learn. I will say that I am smart and hard-working so I'm sure I can figure out all of the items you mentioned.
@Sofia Sharkey thanks for your response! I have been reading everything I can get my hands on but there doesn't seem to be a lot specifically about STR. Do you have any books or resources you recommend?
@David Zall There are actually franchises out there for property management. Just Google property management franchise. If you have no background they will set you up and support you plus help you market the business. If you are super savvy you can have the initial conversations with them and then learn how this business is run and built and then go do it on your own.
@David Zall yes, your city's website so you can read everything about their regulations and policies for STRs, Airbnb so you can read their policies and procedures, listen to the STR success stories and VR machine podcasts. Read about developments and trends in your city, Google reports for STRs in the country and their performance so you can get an idea about how other markets do, lots of videos on YouTube as well. There is not one book that will layout all the info you need, but if you seek the information you will find it.
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