I've got one house listed with Airbnb, which I manage myself. I'm trying to finish a second, and am seeing that I might not want to take the time to keep adding units to manage myself.
In my search I ran across vacasa as a full service management company, which "guarantees" I'll make as much with them as I do managing myself. Sounds great. Too good to be true actually.
I'm just wondering if anyone has used them and has any feedback on their experience.
Where is your second rental?
It's just a 1/2 mile up the road from my current one, in Weaverville, NC, just outside Asheville.
Hi, @Chris Baber –
Vacasa is one of many great professional managers available. I would suggest asking them for some references of current owners working with them in your market and compare that against some other managers in the market. Some companies are also willing to provide some actual data performance from similar homes that they currently manage which is useful to vet the quality of the guarantee.
Hope that helps! Let me know if I can be of any further assistance. :)
I don't put much credence in references provided by a company, as any company worth anything will vet those referrals before giving them to me, so there should be no chance of really negative information. That's why I've asked here, to see if anyone has personal experience with them directly. i.e. I'm trying to find a non-vetted customer of theirs to ask about the company.
They have provided me lots of information about what they can do, and it all looks great, but the proof is in the pudding, so I'm doing my own research into them.
If you know anyone that has worked with them directly, I'd love to learn about that experience.
Hey @Chris Baber , I'm a manager myself so take this with a grain of salt, but in my mind there are 2 types of management companies. National providers and local providers. Vacasa, along with Evolve, Turnkey, etc are national providers that will manage pretty much any listing anywhere. They have centralized offices and sometimes don't have anyone from their company actually working or living in your area. Local providers are smaller shops like mine where your manager meets you in person and you know the name and number for the person taking care of your home and listings. Hope this helps!
Originally posted by @Tyler Work :
Hey @Chris Baber, I'm a manager myself so take this with a grain of salt, but in my mind there are 2 types of management companies. National providers and local providers. Vacasa, along with Evolve, Turnkey, etc are national providers that will manage pretty much any listing anywhere. They have centralized offices and sometimes don't have anyone from their company actually working or living in your area. Local providers are smaller shops like mine where your manager meets you in person and you know the name and number for the person taking care of your home and listings. Hope this helps!
Yeah, that's one of the things about vacasa, they are not national, they are regional.
From their site...
We hire the best local talent and work with area organizations to promote tourism and economic growth in your community.
Because we offer our staff a year-round living wage and plenty of advancement opportunities, they build strong relationships with our homeowners that last for years.
I really do appreciate everyone's input about property managers in general, but I'm really looking for feedback from anyone that has personally used vacasa. They guarantee they will handle everything, from advertising to guest interaction, cleaning, repairs and even maintenance, and that I will net the same amount as I do now.
Of course I don't believe this, but if it cost me an actual 10% to be completely hands off, that's still a good investment in my opinion. I am paying 10-15% doing it myself, with Airbnb costs, cleaning costs, supplies, etc.
That's why I'm asking for personal stories. I want to hear what real people have to say about them, if anyone has used them.
@Chris Baber Totally understand! I'm sure we can connect you with someone. Let me look into it.
How does one go about finding local Airbnb mangers... Whatever I'm searching obviously isn't right or there's no one in KC...
Hi Chris - I have used Vacasa for close to two years here in the New Braunfels, TX area. If being completely hands off is appealing to you then it is probably worth the extra cost. It has been almost completely hands off for me since signing up with them. My initial experience was subpar but that had a lot to do with the particular manager they were using in my area. It has been smooth sailing since a new manager took over. He handles all repairs, turnovers, guest issues, etc. Their owner portal works pretty well and their pricing algorithms do seem to maximize bookings and revenue. I am not sure if they do this in all markets but here they give a break on management fees if you have multiple units under management. If you are trying to scale multiple properties and reclaim some free time then I would recommend them.
@Michael Smith Thank you for sharing!
Currently I don't mind managing myself, but even with a second unit just up the road, I will still have turnovers at the same time of day, so I'll still need help from time to time, so it's just a matter of time before I have to get some help. If vacasa can put the same $ in my pocket (or close), and I can find more deals with the extra time, that's a super big win for me.
I'm glad you've had a mostly good experience, and it sounds like you do recommend them, which is great.
I've had someone from vacasa reach out to me electronically, but I have yet to get someone on the phone that can talk about their ability to service my area.
Hopefully that changes soon :)
PS I lived in Austin for about 10 years about 5 years ago, and always thought New Braunfels was an up and coming place. If it wasn't so darn hot, I'd probably still live there. Stay cool my friend!!
I agree with both of you too. National companies are normally not the better choice, local is almost always better.
However, as I've said, it seems vacasa might be different.
I don't really need convincing that local is better, I generally agree. The specific reason I posted is because I'm trying to evaluate one specific company claiming to offer local quality service, on a regional basis.
I appreciate all feedback on vacasa that anyone who has used them can offer.
@Chris Baber you could also try posting your question on the Vacation Rental & Airbnb Investors Facebook group or some of the other Airbnb focused groups online. I guarantee there are a few that use Vacasa and can speak to their experience personally if you're having trouble finding someone on BP.
Good idea. I don't have/use/want Facebook, but I will look for other venues to ask.
the regional manager for vacasa has also reached out to me, and I'll be talking with him on Monday.
@Chris Baber I understand this is 6 months old post, but i am curious if you talk to people at vacasa. If so, how was your experience. I don't own vacation rental yet but I am looking for them and I would like complete hands off so that I can use the time to be with my family/working/finding other deals.
They sound competent, and I would try them, but they are not doing business in North Carolina, so I can't work with them yet.
I did try TurnKey Vacation Rental, and that was a horrible experience, and I'll never use them again.
Thank you for your input. I will make sure not to use Turnkey Vacation Rental. :)
I used Vacasa and was super impressed with their marketing. You hit the nail on the head - it sounded too good to be true and it was. I went to work for them for a year after listing my condo with them - getting a crash course on the industry. They have the potential to be an amazing company yet after allowing rampant nepotism among owners & managers in conflicting job roles, the co-founder leaving the company abruptly in 2018, and selling programs they can't back up, they are experiencing MASSIVE employee & customer attrition. Now their latest idea is to back up and sell real estate trying to compete with zillow-like platforms. They are basically throwing spaghetti on the ceiling to see what sticks - only their hands are so sticky with so many hands in the pot, the entire ceiling is crashing down. You can only buy business for so long before the cash runs out. As they gear up for an IPO launch, this would be the WORST investment you could make. Real estate is local and so is vacation rental management. It's all contingent on the communication and abilities of THE person(s) responsible for YOUR investment. Wyndham is #1. Vacasa, Turnkey & iTrip are all of about equal size, only Vacasa & Turnkey operate like big companies while iTrip is a franchise model. IMHO the franchise model works better because it keeps everything local while still providing the needed online marketing in today's SEO race. If you can't self manage (which everyone thinks is easy - but it's a LOT of work so depends on your available time to devote to answering basic questions over and over, calling 3 cleaners to replace the one that called out for the 5th time in season, calling an A/C company because your guest turned the thermostat down to 65 in 100 degree weather, etc.) then either go with iTrip if they have a strong franchise in your market or a mid-size local company with a good reputation. I would also strongly advise do not use a start up PM company who has only been around for a minute. There have been people go to jail right here in PCB for embezzling money this way! Hope things are going well for you and keep us posted on the progress! :)
@Crystal Chaillou VERY good info. Although I will say self management IS easy. I self manage 5 of them with a day job, 8 LTRs that I also self manage, and a family. That being said the money in my market is big enough that a couple of messages per day don’t bother me. I wouldn’t do it for a couple hundred a month.
When I get the AC problem I open my Honeywell app and fix it. I don’t call my HVAC guy unless the unit is actually broken.
My cleaners never miss a day of work and if they do go on vacation they notify me of the back up before they go.
If I get the same question more than twice I make sure to tweet my check in info to answer this question and I never get it again.
Find a better cleaner, get a WiFi thermostat and change your check in instructions and you’ll fix your only problems in an hours time.
I’m currently writing a book on self managing short term rentals because my phone never stops ringing with people wanting me to teach them.
You heard it here first folks! Don’t use Vacasa.
This was typed on an iPhone.
I want to warn people away from using Vacasa. My parents have a rental in Stowe, VT and have used them for a year now. They are a nightmare to deal with and continually up-charge you for little things all the time. ($50 to change the lightbulb in the oven) The list goes on and on. They couldn't be more difficult to deal with and good luck trying to get out of their contract. Their local professional turnover is extremely high, had to deal with 4 managers over 1 year, and whatever the local managers tell you is worthless as they constantly defer to the corporate office. This company is not focused on customer service and only looking to lock clients into contracts you can't get out of. Look them up, their business is focused on raising money to turn to the company public, not what you want as an individual homeowner. Stay far away! Use local professionals whenever possible.
Thanks for posting your feedback. They sound similar to Turnkey VR who also were frustratingly difficult to deal with. I remain on the lookout for a quality company that doesn't take all the profit from the property.