Renting in Sedona, AZ

6 Replies

My husband and I purchased a townhouse in Prescott, AZ over a year ago and it is renting well with little to no headaches. Moving forward with a lot of courage we then purchased a beautiful house in Sedona, AZ with the intent to rent it for 5-6 years until we are at an age where we can retire then move into it. Currently we live on the east coast. Well the universe never cooperated with us on this business adventure and it hasn't rented for 7 months. So we did some expensive cosmetic upgrades including a new roof, new air conditioning system, granite counters, etc. This is now a financial drain so we plan to relist the house for a few months then back to trying to rent it if it doesn't sell. My question is, how can we manage this property from such a long distance without getting a management company involved? We were less than enchanted with the prior company who we felt did little to market our property for rent.

I live in CO and I have a townhome in Scottsdale that I manage from afar.  It has worked very well for me.  

I've been fortunate to have long-term tenants, but when I do have a turnover, I fly down there.  I arrange to meet with the out-going tenants, and ahead of time I schedule the cleaning and the carpet cleaning for those to happen immediately after my walk-thru with the out-going tenants.  I also advertise via Craigslist and set up a lot of appointments for the day after all the cleaning.  I gather all the applications, and then I fly home.  From home I do all the due diligence and decide on a tenant.  All lease signing and deposits/payments can be done on-line, and I leave most of the keys at the house (e.g. garage door openers, pool keys, mailbox keys).  Then once the tenant and I have the lease signed and monies exchanged, I either mail the key to them, or I arrange for a friend in the area to meet them to deliver the key.  

Most  of the maintenance work is done by professionals.  But my husband has driven down a time or two if the professional charges are unreasonable.  That happened once with a leak in a water line outside (from the meter to the house).  The plumbing company wanted to charge $7000 to dig about 10 feet of line and fix the leak.  

Please feel free to PM me if you have any further questions.

Hi Anne, I agree with what Tanya had to say about flying down once you have turnover. Having a friends in the area wouldn't hurt either. I've been in the Sedona area 25+ years and know everything there is about the local politics and what management company to use if you decide to go that route. Send me a message and I will send you my cell. I'm sure I'll be able to offer some great advice on how Sedona homes get rented and stay rented.

@William H. Sedona being a great high end vacation community, has a large vacation home rental industry. Reading your thoughts on the local regulations (homes can not be rented for less than a month is one) and what makes a good rental management company would be very interesting.

You could create your free Biggerpockets Blog and share your knowledge of the area for others. My goal is to retire to the area in the coming years and I may buy a vacation rental route if I ever find a great deal on a home there before I'm ready to retire.

@Anne Gibson I would like to hear more details on your Sedona rental and how you found the deal and details on the home.

Hi Anne,

Sedona is a pretty impossible market to make positive (or break even) cash flow on standard long term single family rentals. The only way it makes sense from my analysis is through short term vacation style renting. This is a challenge because more management is required but there is potential to make great cash flow here on the right properties with this kind of strategy. Also the city has stringent rules about EVERYTHING. But there are people here making good money with this kind of strategy with the right properties. Sedona has up to 4 million visitors a year in a town of 10000, tapping into the visiting market is the way for a single property. Lodging is not cheap here by any means so the demand is there.

What property mgt co have you used here? They are either mis-pricing your place or just not as good as other options here (sounds like a big part of your problem is vacancies, in addition to the poor market for cash flowing standard long term rentals) What kind of house and at what location is your property here?

I have lived in Northern AZ for several years of my life and after a few years abroad, I now live in sedona full time and have been watching the market here closely throughouttheb year. My wife and I are completing a full remodel on a condo here that we plan to use as a vacation rental after living in for a year or so. I also own a single family home in Falstaff that I have had a great experience with managing from very far away (literally from the other side of the planet on a different continent, the key is finding an excellent manager or partner).

Feel free to msg me, I am on the ground here and might be able to help. Sounds like William has been here forever and would be a great local resource for you also.

I am happy to help manage the rental or sell it. I am in Sedona and have been for 25+ years. Just let me know and I will do my best to connect you with the right people.