AIrbnb model in Richmond Va

9 Replies

Hey BP,

I am curious if anyone is using the airbnb model in my local area, Richmond, Va (Lakeside, West End)? What obstacles did or do you face with the county doing business as a short term rental? Have you been able to create systems to scale? 

What is it like managing a portfolio of short term rentals? 

I have no info on the Richmond VA area. Things you will have to look into first is what the city/county will allow. Is there any restrictions on STRs? Are there any in the works? That would be number one IMHO.

I only have one rental now and it is fairly easy to manage. I live about 360 miles from the lake house and so far so good. 

Once you get a good cleaner and handyman ready to cover it should be pretty much the same. Dealing with each guest takes time if you want the best customer service. I speak personally to each guest before they travel to the house. Send them emails with all the interesting stuff to do etc. We also provide a little welcome basket for each guest with snacks and some homemade jam. 

I am not sure how well that sort of service can scale. Companies like Evolve can handle all the inquiry's, bookings and communication, but it costs and I don't know how personal it is. One comment all our reviews get is how attentive and communicative we are. We have all 5 stars so we must be doing something right.

I am sure there is a balance to be had. We are planning for a 2nd place sometime after this season is done, so I guess we will find out! I plan to keep on self managing.

@Ryan Wydler not sure what you mean by portfolio. I have 5 STRs that I self manage. Along with 8 LTRs that I self manage. Nothing to it. As for Richmond I have no idea. See if you can find an agent that owns properties and sells 50+ properties per year and you’ll be rockin!

If you have no experience with "AirBNB model" then scaling and systems are not a correct focus. Learning all the intricacies of the model is. 


Originally posted by @Ryan Wydler :

Hey BP,

I am curious if anyone is using the airbnb model in my local area, Richmond, Va (Lakeside, West End)? What obstacles did or do you face with the county doing business as a short term rental? Have you been able to create systems to scale? 

What is it like managing a portfolio of short term rentals? 

@Ryan Wydler  Some of the investors I know that are doing it in RVA by way of master-leasing and can scale quickly.  Example:  They are renting out an owners apartment in a great area with an agreement that they can use it as an AirBNB.  Benefit to the owner is that it's a long term lease that always pays rent with no turnover.  Benefit to the AirBNB operator is that they make the profits above and beyond the rent cost.  It seems to be very lucrative.

A big Con:  Owners get upset when they realize the AirBNB model doesn't mesh very well beside long term residents in an apartment below, above, or across the hall... so the relationships seem to sour quickly.

Richmond city, and many of the residents, are pushing to essentially make AirBnb illegal.

I know folks who are having a lot of success with it in other areas. It's a strategy that works, but you REALLY need to keep an eye on local regs and where the wind is blowing. 

The wind in Richmond is against AirBnb, unfortunately. I'm not a host, I am exclusively a consumer and I love AirBnb. I want to see it thrive.

@Taylor L.

It is currently illegal within the City limits, but the City has put together a commission creating guidelines on legalizing it.

At the moment some of the guidelines they are considering:

1. Must apply for $300 short term rental license at City Hall each year. Must post STR license number in all advertisements. The license fees will cover the cost of hiring enforcement officers for STRs.

2. Only occupants can operate short term rentals (no 100% STRs, permit holder must live there).

3. STRs licenses won't be issued to more than 25% of the units in a multi-family development.

Like, I said, nothing is set in stone, but it looks as though it will be legalized in some capacity.

@John Pierce #2 completely kills @Ryan Wydler 's model, and the model @Stephen Glover mentioned. That's exactly the AirBnb killing piece of legislation I was referencing.

Legalized in some capacity, perhaps - but killing any full-time business opportunity for entrepreneurs.

@Taylor L.

We will have to wait and see what passes. If 100% STRs are legalized, I think that the cost of houses in the Fan goes up significantly...

I wonder if STRs that are in a less central area (like the Northside) have any upside over a long term rental.

Originally posted by @Taylor L. :

@John Pierce #2 completely kills @Ryan Wydler 's model, and the model @Stephen Glover mentioned. That's exactly the AirBnb killing piece of legislation I was referencing.

Legalized in some capacity, perhaps - but killing any full-time business opportunity for entrepreneurs.

 Agreed, #2 would kill any serious business aspect of it.  I've considered AirBNBing my own home so while I'd legally be able to do it under these guidelines, the main point would be to scale into airbnbing on a greater scale with more properties which would be illegal.  Of course still could offer management services for other owner occupants that are AirBnbing, but I'd be in this for acquiring class A properties and making them cash flow, not to run a property management company.

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