Buying property for vacation rental

10 Replies

Hello BP Family.

I want to discuss some ideas we all could us to expand to areas that are not right in the middle of the tourist hot spots, because most properties are over priced or just priced to high for thousandaires, who haven’t reached the millionaire goal quite yet. Such as myself.

What are your must haves when looking for short-term rental property?

What resources do you use to find if the property is in a tourist area or close to one?

I am looking into ways to find statistics on how many visitors the town/area get per month or year. Is there a way to pull such numbers?

What are some strategies we could use to find out such info?

Here are some of my thoughts-

•Reach out to local real estate agents in the tourist area.

•Find attractions/businesses in the area and contact them.

•visit the area, drive around and determine how far out of the tourist area you can go and still get a fair rent price.

•Research on google. “Google is your friend”

Those are some of the ideas I could think of. Let’s see what else we can add to the list. Throw out a couple ideas you have or have used in the past.

Thank you in advance for any and all input you provide to help our fellow investors on the BiggerPockets Forum.

I beleive a simpler way is to use Vrbo and Airbnb to research existing areas and look at similar properties to what you would want to own. Then check their occupancy and pricing. Also see how much competition their is by area. 

I be6doing this will give you a pretty good picture. 

I would capture this data in a spreadsheet so that you can easily analyze the data.

@Ernes Sahic I think you answered your own question. Just start googling! And keep saving.

I’m in agruably the best vacation rental market in the world. I think if you were to call area attractions and ask about rent you’d get some pretty bad answers. The person that answers the phone at Dollywood doesn’t know anything about real estate. But I do! Happy to help. 

@Ernes Sahic I'm in arguably the worst market in the country.  This town has the lowest average mortgage payment in the United States.  $9500 will get you a 3BR with CH/A.  There's no tourism, just lots of drugs, crime and unemployment.

But there is a big petrochemical refinery here.  They sell about $13,000 worth of product a minute 24/7/365.  I rent my STRs to refinery contractors.  That 3BR house rents for $600/week.  How do I determine the rent price?  I look at the cheap motels that the contractors stay.  A motel room with 2 beds and a bathroom is $400/week.  I charge the same for a house with 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, laundry, living room, etc.  

You don't need a real estate agent.  You need cash, or a line of credit.  It also helps if you have a truck and a trailer.  3M talent doesn't hurt either.  Mechanic, Magician, Mindreader.

Coffeyville Kansas, a great place to invest in real estate but you wouldn't want to live there.

Careful @Paul Sandhu , do you really want competition?  Though, in all honesty, if any of us tried you'd probably put us out of business like that trailer park, LOL

(I *constantly* think about your model, btw, and wish I could do it, but I don't believe I have the personality/intangible talents to handle your particular clientele)

@Ernes Sahic I found my first property with a combination of happenstance and @John Underwood 's method.  I was taking a long weekend just to get away from the city, drove through an adorable town by a national park and thought, "Wow, this is nice!  I wonder what property costs here?"  I already knew there were a lot of STRs because I'd considered/rejected it as a place to stay because the AirBNB prices were so high!  But when I looked at the cost of local property, it seemed reasonably priced.  I started crunching numbers, got a local agent who also owned STRs in the area, talked to a few local business owners about the tourism, and within a month I bought my first property.  It does awesome and I absolutely love spending time there.  

@Julie McCoy When I just had 3 or 4 STRs, there were half a dozen other people in this town doing the same thing as me.  Or should I say, I was starting to do the same thing as them. 

I tried to work a little harder than they did, and make my places better than theirs.  I'd put a $75 notebook computer from ebay in each house.  This is before smart phones were common.  I'd leave a candy bar and small bottle of wine on each pillow.  My biggest house had 8-10 people in it.  On rent day I would go to WalMart and a liquor store.  I'd buy some bags of fruit, beef jerky, cigars, 40 oz beers, half pints of liquor, toilet paper, hustler magazines, microwave popcorn, chocolate candy, etc. and put them in a box.  I'd take the box with me when I collected rent from that house.  The first person that paid their rent was the first person to choose something from the box.  Alcohol, sex and tobacco went first.  Junk food went next. Healthy food after that.  Toilet paper was usually the last item chosen.

Another guy put ads up on Craigslist for his STR. I would copy the headline for his ad and use it on mine. I'd keep my ad above his. So anyone looking down the list of CL ads would see and read mine first, and ignore his.

All those people don't do STRs any more.  A 150 room motel that was my main competition, it closed its doors in 2017.

I've gotten lazy the last few years without any competition.  Maybe I need to try and compete against the high end hotels?  The ones with an indoor pool that serve a breakfast buffet.

I don't think we need lists, as in original post. This is a real estate investor forum. 

There are so many online resources to a savvy investor, we don't need help. 

I focused on reasonable tourism markets and found good value properties that needed minor work. Keeping cost down helps. 

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