Wondering about vacancy rates for Air BnB in Tacoma, WA

10 Replies

Hi everyone! We have a 2bed/1 bath craftsman home in Tacoma, Wa that we are considering doing short-term rentals in. It’s well maintained, has a beautiful yard, and is walking distance to bars and restaurants and a mile away from a university. We are weighing the pros and cons of air bnb vs long-term rentals. We don’t mind actively being involved in the process, cleaning, emails, etc. What we are more concerned about is: is Tacoma a popular place for air Bnbs? Does anyone else have short term rentals in smaller cities/towns and how much vacancy is there in a place like that?

You can check several sites for information. airdna.co is a source of info to start. It’s not precise but it will give you some insight into your area.

i use to live in ocean shores so went through tacoma pretty frequently, my opinion is you would have high vacancy rates, but maybe being near the uni you might get parents and students visiting ect ect... i would look on airbnb,vrbo and homeaway and see what listings look like in the area in terms of totals reviews and calendars, also consider buying a couple zipcode analysis from airdna.co

We AirBnbed our place in Tacoma for about 4 months. It’s a big house near UPS, I was expecting it not to rent well, but was pleasantly surprised to rent it just about every weekend, and several times mid week. We were able to sleep about 12 people so would usually get larger groups. Most groups were not there for UPS, which surprised me. 

Much cheaper for them than hotels we were charging around $170/night. 

@Erin Caldwell Why not answer your own question by doing exactly what the question says? Go on AirBnB and look at your neighbors and check out how occupied they are!

We have a few long term rentals in Gig Harbor (right over the narrows bridge from Tacoma) and about to start a STR. We have friends that have both long term and STRs in Tacoma and because of the shortage in long terms in the area, they are finding long terms to be more lucrative. You'll be successful either way. Perfect area for either! Good luck!

Hi @Erin Caldwell , if your property is near UPS in Proctor district or around 6th Ave, you should do pretty well. I have had a couple clients purchase properties and using them for AirB&B and they seem to do pretty well if they are in those areas and pricing correctly. Good luck!

We're also near the UPS area in N. Tacoma between 6th Ave and 21st/I St. We've been in the Airbnb biz for about a year now. Vacancy rate is only a couple nights a month between the two rooms we rent out. We use Beyond Pricing to manage what we charge. It's definitely not passive like our long-term rental, but for 10 hours of work a week we're more than covering our mortgage and car payment. We're about 60% of the way through a BRRR in Hilltop on the medical mile. After hosting so many traveling nurses we decided to give the traveling nurse/STR lodging potential a shot at this place. A bit more active involvement in the near term but the numbers also work if we were to convert it to a long term rental. Again, your location near UPS will drive most of your clientele. Hit us up if you have any more questions. Have fun ;)

@Richard Santi , I think you'll do pretty well with the traveling nurses/STR model at your newly renovated place. It seems there is opportunity in Tacoma and the surrounding areas. We do something similar with one of our triplexes.

That said, you’re correct in stating that this is not a “passive” way to invest unless you have the right people/systems in place. Higher returns, but lower on the “scale of passivity.” 

@Nicole Dudley We use Furnished Finder. They charge a small annual listing fee for access to their customer list and send you possible matches based upon search criteria. It's about a 100 bucks a year and 35 bucks for each additional listing. They send you leads but it's up to you negotiate the deal.