Is a VRBO Style Rental a good or bad idea

17 Replies

@Ben Israel - I rent out 8 furnished units in and near San Francisco including four 3-bedroom places/homes. It can be profitable but you need to know the furnished rental market in your selected area. 

The most profitable places in my experience are “2-in-1’s” where you have a home with an in-law/guest house. Studios/1BR’s are also very popular with business travelers. Other Important considerations:

- What are the short term rental regulations in your area? Are there restrictions on doing rentals <30 days?

- What are the most popular types/sizes/locations of furnished units in the area?

- How will seasonality affect occupancy and pricing?

- As a rule of thumb, I will use a home as a furnished rental vs. unfurnished rental only if I am confident that I can recoup the furnishing costs in under a year. So if I spend $12K to furnish the home (including all kitchen items, bedding, towels, etc.), I need to know the furnished rental can clear an extra $1K/Mo after expenses vs. unfurnished.

- Also, in my market (for 30+ day stays) it’s important that each unit has laundry, parking space, small kitchen and approx. 1 bathroom per bedroom. If I compromise on these things, bookings suffer. 

Good luck!

As everyone else is saying it depends. It depends on if you buy the right property in the right area and are mindful of any regulations that may affect you.

I have a VRBO on a lake close to a university. I am booked year round. Families take vacations here in the summer. People come to fish in the spring and for tournaments. The college draws in at top dollar for events like football games and graduations etc.

@Ben Israel YUP! Depends on the market. John always gives great advice. I too am in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg market and had the pleasure of helping @Rhonda Blue get in to it. Our area is very vacation rental friendly. If, however, you want to do over night rentals in an apartment you’re leasing in NYC you wont have much luck.

It's extremely dependent on the location, distance to popular places, and climate. I've rented houses using VRBO (Mount Snow, VT) and would do it again. 

Hi, we own a property management company and manage 15 properties that we list on VRBO.com.  These are weekly beachfront rentals ranging from $200 per week up to $8000 per week for the larger properties.  

Pros:  Steady influx of renters, I am able to keep most of my properties full during the summer/spring seasons.  In fact, on the larger properties I'm booked a year in advance.

Most of the transactions are done  via email and rarely do I meet/speak to the tenants unless there's a maintenance issue.

Cons:  SCAMS!  It seems like once a month I get a phone call from someone wanting to verify if I'm posting my properties somewhere (even on VRBO), I have had a few prospective tenants that lost their money due to being scammed.  I've had renters show up at my properties to rent and have to be told they got scammed.  VRBO will remove fake posts if alerted to them, but they're not the most pro-active at policing them.

VRBO can be a good source of tenants, make sure you have very good photos, as your photos can be the difference between someone renting from you and from the next property on the list.

@Ben Israel , depending on your towns/cities ordinances, attractions and amenities. If you do it, prepare a master list of FFE, Amenities inside the unit, and other items you have to stock or purchase for the property. This will make your operation run much more smoothly from a logistics standpoint, also take pictures of how you want the presentation to be for when guests check in and out. You’ll make your housekeeper and maintenance crew more efficient and happy.