Where is your Vacation Rental Property?

212 Replies

@Lorraine Gomez I think there are some great opportunities in the Poconos because the homes are lower priced to start out. Make sure you understand septic systems and wells, because that is about all you are going to find up there. These items can be gigantic expenses when something goes wrong. I say when because it is inevitable that something will eventually go wrong. People who rent will flush things that the system can not handle. It does not matter how many times you explain or provide info or lists of what not to do. They will simply not understand unless they have these systems. The rental season is all 4 seasons, but you typically will really only get weekend rentals most of the winter months and weekly rentals during the summer. There are a lot of STR's in the Poconos, so you have to be strategic in where you invest.

Originally posted by @Lorraine Gomez :

@bethwheeler how is it going in PA, I'm new to STR and at the Poconos is where my focus is, glad I found you!!!

I've spoken to a few STR investors in the Poconos & here's some things they've warned me about:

1) Super low occupancy rates: you can rent for full weeks in summer but that's your only real guarantee. If you're super close to one of the ski resorts you can also rent for winter weekends (though the ski season has been getting shorter recently). Fall & spring are apparently super tough - very low demand - both weekends & weekdays. 75 annual rental days is considered good in the Poconos and 100 is considered excellent (so 20-25% annual occupancy). Compare that with Gatlinburg, TN & Florida spots that get 80+% occupancy year-round

2) Apparently there's a shortage of good cleaners in the Poconos. I've had numerous Poconos Airbnb owners tell me this shortage of quality labor is causing real problems.

3) Expenses can run high, which is a real problem with only 20-25% annual occupancy rates to produce income. Very high power bills, increasing property taxes, costly HOA fees, snow removal costs, hotel tax, septic & well maintenance costs, etc, etc

4) Perhaps most damning is this: I've talked to quite a few Poconos investors who are looking to sell after only 1 or 2 years of operating. To me this is a huge red flag. When I talk to STR investors in Pigeon Forge or across Florida, they're looking to BUY more STRs not to sell what they own! It worries me that so many Poconos STR owners sell so quickly after buying.

Exactly. Although there are Resorts and skiing and waterparks and the likes, they have their own units to sleep or Village is right next door.


Camelback, Kalahari, great wolf, Jack frost, blue mountain, Mt. Airy, etc. 

People staying and doing everything there, are not coming to your VRs. 

Originally posted by @Eric P. :
Originally posted by @Lorraine Gomez:

@bethwheeler how is it going in PA, I'm new to STR and at the Poconos is where my focus is, glad I found you!!!

I've spoken to a few STR investors in the Poconos & here's some things they've warned me about:

1) Super low occupancy rates: you can rent for full weeks in summer but that's your only real guarantee. If you're super close to one of the ski resorts you can also rent for winter weekends (though the ski season has been getting shorter recently). Fall & spring are apparently super tough - very low demand - both weekends & weekdays. 75 annual rental days is considered good in the Poconos and 100 is considered excellent (so 20-25% annual occupancy). Compare that with Gatlinburg, TN & Florida spots that get 80+% occupancy year-round

2) Apparently there's a shortage of good cleaners in the Poconos. I've had numerous Poconos Airbnb owners tell me this shortage of quality labor is causing real problems.

3) Expenses can run high, which is a real problem with only 20-25% annual occupancy rates to produce income. Very high power bills, increasing property taxes, costly HOA fees, snow removal costs, hotel tax, septic & well maintenance costs, etc, etc

4) Perhaps most damning is this: I've talked to quite a few Poconos investors who are looking to sell after only 1 or 2 years of operating. To me this is a huge red flag. When I talk to STR investors in Pigeon Forge or across Florida, they're looking to BUY more STRs not to sell what they own! It worries me that so many Poconos STR owners sell so quickly after buying.

@Levon - I'm happy to invest where the return is right! lol I'm currently flipping a house in Crestview and have a STR in Destin, where the cash flow is strong. My goal is to buy two now houses this year in Destin. To which underutilized market are you referring??

I have STRs in Chandler, Arizona which is a close suburb of Phoenix.  Golf community.  Obviously winter is our high season.   Lots of older guests fleeing the cold winters back east and up north.  Business is very good.  Lived here all my life so know the area very well.  Wish I could buy more STRs faster.    

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