Poconos (Shawnee Mountain) airbnb

11 Replies

Hello BP community- I just took a trip to Shawnee mountain with my family and we stayed in a 2/3 condo across from the slopes.  Paid $425 for 2 nights through airbnb.  The place was clean and had great reviews so no complaints.  Just it was really outdated and poorly furnished so the investor in me realized possible opportunity as I know my wife and I could provide a better product.  Looked up values in the area and saw the exact unit we are in is selling for <100k.  Spoke to the owner and he is selling his 4 short term pocono rentals because he is moving out west.  We are interested in buying this place to utilize several times a year and rent out through airbnb or vrbo when we are not there.  After some brief research I have found out there are issues with some municipalities restricting short term rentals.  Besides the $500 license fee anyone know of any other possible issues?  Any advice for maximizing cash flow on short term rentals?  We would be interested in either simply holding 1 unit or quickly scaling to 5-10 units if it makes sense to economize by scaling.  Have also visited Lake Harmony and love it there- plus it is closer to Philly.  Would love some feedback and to connect with others.  Thanks for any and all feedback!

@Kevin Mathisen I own an AIRBNB in Pocono Lake about 35 minutes away from Shawnee. There is plenty of draw to the Pocono’s all year round, feel free to reach out with any questions.

We've been renting out one of our houses through Airbnb for over a year. It's going quite well. We do all of our own housekeeping and maintenance. If you live a distance from the unit, take into consideration who will be your "boots on the ground" to keep an eye on things and who will do the housekeeping between guests. Prepare to wear the "host" hat and to learn about the hospitality industry.

The price the guest pays and the amount the host receives is quite a bit different. Airbnb charges hosts a 3% fee. Over the years, Airbnb has been slowing raising the fee they charge guests. Airbnb says it's between zero - 20%, but it may be even higher.  The guest also pays for the lodging tax and other taxes too. It's good you're checking out the licensing requirements. That can vary depending on the locale.

Good luck!

Make sure you understand all the lodging tax implications.  Some municipalities have security items that need to be followed, from simple carbon monoxide detectors, to annual inspections by the State.  Both homeowners associations and municipalities can also regulate "if" you can even rent the property for less than 30 days and this could change in the future.  It is good to understand all the possibilities before making an investment.  I have been working with a lot of property owners in Las Vegas who were doing Airbnb until the laws changed and now they have changed and are renting their properties monthly as corporate housing.

you have to receive certification from Monroe county and pay 3% lodging county tax quarterly (thats in addition to 6% PA lodging/use tax). I just spoke to the county's treasury department yesterday and got a feel that Poconos are going to stay more STR friendly than other localities because, well, Poconos is a resort area.

some townships do implement additional fees, like the yearly $500 you've mentioned. 

biggest obstacle is high property and school taxes, especially in Shawnee >$5k. next year the county going to present tax reassessment; im not seeing it going down. 

if you can make the numbers work, Pocono STR is a great idea.

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@Kevin Mathisen I currently own 1 shorty term vacation rental in the poconos (Albrightsville) as well as 40 more units in the suburbs of Philadelphia (Bucks County) where I currently live. Short term rentals either down the shore or up in the poconos are money makers. The reason why I started with the poconos is because you have 52 weeks of rental interest, compared to say wildwood nj you only have 16 weeks max. Where I’m at the tenant pays the fees/taxes the county and state charge. Which was stated above 3% Carbon county 6% state use tax. The Cap rate is fantastic, this year 2019 I’m shooting for 20%. But also remember the higher the Cap rate, the higher the attention/time needed. If I could recommend a few things for you, it would be as followed. 1. Hire a great cleaning company, and make sheets mandatory with your vacation stay. Don’t let tenants bring their own( because sometimes they don’t). 2. Repair and address any need or concern the tenant mentions ASAP. 3. Be flexible with early and late check in/out. 4. Remember it’s a business, and run it that way. Well I hope this helps. PM if I can help out more. Good luck!

I'm 100% clueless about real estate and especially str, but I also want to get a rental in the Poconos. How do you go about registering to pay the above mentioned taxes like who do you have to talk to to find out all the rules and where to go to make sure you're following them?

The first thing you need to do if you feel you are clueless about STR is to not just jump in or worry about taxes or rules.

And ignore those on this forum who make it seem so easy to do remotely or Arbitrage. Or sales people offering to "help you." 

This is COMPLEX. You should start by knowing your own Financials, immersing yourself into the world of short term and all the issues. Get books. Read this forum going back years. Ask questions. 

@Samantha Smith It's like running a small, all inclusive resort. People are going to bring their clothes and buy some groceries. You need to provide everything else for them to enjoy their stay in your property. Look at your own house. Provide everything that is in your own house in your STR. There is a 2 spigot kegorator in my garage. I have a kegorator in a 3 story STR with 8 beds. There are a few shotguns in my den I use for recreation. There is a scoped pellet gun and starling bait in another STR. I live out in the country, and have a brush pile that I burn from time to time. Several STRs have firepits and firewood in the back yard. My living room tv has Netflix, so do all the living rooms of my STRs. My wife has chickens, and we get 8-10 eggs a day. On rent collection day we give out dozens of home grown eggs to our better tenants.

 @Ken Latchers

Thanks for your feedback. I am asking questions and I don't plan on just jumping, because someone else is doing it. I do appreciate your cautionary advise though.

I do still think understanding the taxes and rules are important for making and educated investment choice and if anyone has the answer on who they go to for these types of things in this area I'd appreciate it. I'm not looking for a referral or anything, just a simple " the county tax accessors office" or the "magistrate of whatever" or "my account" "my real estate lawyer" would suffice. I'm not asking for anyone to tell me the rules just to point me in the right direction to get the rules myself.

Thanks again!

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