Airbnb/short term rental info for Panama city beach, Florida

21 Replies

Hi Folks,

Anyone here owning a  vacationproperty in Panama city beach, Florida and want to share their experiences and advice on good brokers in the area? Im looking to buy a beach side condo/vacation home purely from an airbnb standpoint. I will manage it myself. Budget -up until 300k- can buy two condos or a medium size home. Thanks in advance.

We looked at PCB and Destin. We could not make the numbers work. None of the condos are warrantable so the terms are terrible. The numbers I ran you’re lucky to break even. Come to the Smokys the returns are huge and there are less rules. We own 5 and we’re retired in our 30s :)

Thanks for your note. Well, that's a surprise because from what I have been reading PCB seems like a real winner. The rented.com ceo speaks a lot about this location and how you cannot go wrong with this location. What do you mean that condos are not warrantable and what about houses? I have no real location issue, I will go wherever it has best potential and ROI within my budget. Currently im looking at both palm springs and PCB and latter seemed like a better option with less rules.

I would still like to hear from anyone who has things going on at either PCB or Destin or even clearwater beach.

When I check CL Beach on airbnb, there are so many properties listed. So, that means they are mostly doing it illegally ? What am I missing here? It seems to me that more one researches, more issues one finds.  

Hello Dev Paul!  I am a Panama City Beach local broker that can help or at least field some of your questions that you may have.  I have been working in property management here for 16 years and I know a great deal about the area.  What I don't know, I will gladly find out for you.  

@Austin Works I own vacation rentals in PCB and cash flowing nicely. I am about to buy another one. I couldn’t make the #’s work in Destin because the real estate prices are too high and the rent prices don’t justify the increased price. I get the same rent for my units in Panama City Beach as they get in Destin and the real estate prices are 30-50% less. Non-warrantable just means you can’t get a traditional 30 year fixed FHA back mortgage but it isn’t an issue. Lots of local banks offer condo investor programs.
@Jason Gilliam I own condos gulf front with monthly HOA fees around 500 a month. Although 6K a year seems high, here is what is included: cable, trash, water, amenities (pool, exercise room, parking, etc), as well as hurricane insurance. Looking at houses with ZERO hoa, you will find the net difference is very close. Buying gulf front keeps it rented year round. I am highly cash positive as I self manage and advertise on all the major sites. Ping me with any questions.

@Dev Paul I'm an investor and Realtor in Fort Walton Beach, FL near Destin. I have three vacation rentals here that do very well. Panama City Beach is definitely a good area to consider. I have been looking there as well recently. If you are looking on the Emerald coast you should definitely consider Okaloosa  Island (near Fort Walton Beach as well). I do agree with some of the posts above that properties in Destin proper are somewhat overpriced, but there are good options in both PCB to the east and Okaloosa Island/Ft Walton to the west of Destin. 

Thanks @Marc Jackson that helps alot and the HOA sounds reasonable. Do you need to visit the condo units much to handle issues, or would it be possible to self manage from out of state? (assuming you have established a network of cleaning crew, contractors, etc). Does the HOA handle issues with HVAC, plumbing, etc?

@Jason Gilliam I manage out of state with no major issues. The key is to get a good housecleaning crew and a few good maintenance people. After a few issues (plumbing / HVAC, etc), you will quickly get a good group of folks that can go help. The reviews mostly are based on keeping the place very clean. If you decide to buy in the panhandle area, you can use apps like “thumbtack” and get help quickly and easily.

I live here and invested here last year. Bay County has the most affordable ocean front prices in all of Florida while the TDC, Chamber and city are making great strides for local improvements with some of the most relaxed STR restrictions around - all this sums up to a lucrative investment market. I went to work for the property management company I hired to manage my condo - Vacasa - so I've had a crash course on all things real estate this year. I'd be happy to connect you to some excellent resources as you consider a rental and tell you what NOT to do here!! :) My condo is "unwarrantable" - as many are here. It's not a big deal - there are a lot of lending solutions and it doesn't slow the sales here!

@Dev Paul I would suggest only doing single family homes and steering clear of condos with locations near the water. Too many moving parts and in the end the condo board owns you. If they decide to do a huge assessment because of a power hungry board you HAVE to do it. Second, if a hurricane hits, and it will eventually, the repairs and coordination is not up to you on the exterior. We always go single family for our markets.

Thanks Eric. When you say single family home, does that include townhouses too? I was lookibg at some newly constructed townhouses in pcb selling for little over 200000 and they looked gorgeous. Not sure though how good are they for airbnb model and also not sure if there are any restrictions in that area.

Also, as Im looking at current airbnb booking rates for PCB, there seems to be a sharp decline in the rates. Not sure if its because of the hurricane factor, but when i used to look last summer/early fall,  even 1b1ba nightly rates, they used to be like 125$+ and entire homes were 400-500 sometimes. Numbers now are drastically lower. Does anyone here in this forum who owns in PCB shed some light?

@Dev Paul

I have heard from property managers along Destin/30A that long-term rentals are getting hard to come by, and some of the larger STR homes still standing just west of the major damage are being rented by contractors/workers/adjusters for months at a time without even a request for a lighter rate for their extended booking. I have never been this close to a major natural disaster like Hurricane Michael, so I'm not sure how long those effects will be felt. Our next door neighbor in Destin is only a part-time resident and has rented his home to a family from Panama City.