Best cities / states for Airb&b

64 Replies

My husband and I are looking to move to a new city and continue to grow our short-term rental / airb&b business there. We have successfully setup 2 places in the mid-west (Kansas City) but are ready for a change of scenery. Initially we would house hack by living in the same place we airb&b (ideally a small multi-unit)

1. What cities have friendly airb&b regulations?

2. Any suggestions on growing markets / rising cities

3. Any suggestions on cities where margins are good for str?

We are looking at warmer states like Texas, Arizona, Utah, and Tennessee.

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Cross Coffeyville Kansas off your list if you plan on living here and doing STRs.  It's a nice place to invest, but you don't want to live here.  

Prostitutes, petty thieves, breaking and entering, meth, the list goes on.  I've dealt with overdoses, dead tenant, forces of nature, scammers, con artists, and a host of other people that mean to do the property owner wrong.

I rent to refinery contractors.  Big guys that drive 4wd trucks and have neck tats.  Welders, pipefitters, boilermakers the like.

@Sofia Sharkey , there’s a better chance of you going broke than making it.  

Especially if you have no experience.  @Paul Sandhu will tell you how time intensive it is to run.  Think junior high school, but worse.  

That’s after you get passed all the zoning & hoa issues,  ;-)

Best of luck.  

@Sofia Sharkey

You'll find lots of answers if you scroll around these forums.

Smoky Mountains, TN are as you described. @Lucas Carl will agree.

St. Augustine, FL if you were interested in NE FL. Both have great margins, both have friendly laws. Laws can change.

Scroll around airbnb as if you were a potential guest. How much are they charging? Where is the house? How much does the house sell for on MLS? It's not too hard plus you'll get some answers here.

Good luck. Do some leg work while you're waiting for answers. 

My market is Sevierville/Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, TN - fantastic place that's very friendly to STRs with great ROI, but a house hack wouldn't work there. That market depends on individual units (cabins) that guests can rent, small multi-units don't exist and wouldn't be desirable for STRs.

@Paul Sandhu we’ve been living in Kansas City for several years and really like it. We’ve also never had any issues with guests and it’s an excellent market to invest. We will continue to invest in Kansas City since we know the market, the regulations, and have a good network so it’s easier to step out and let it run passively with the systems we have in place.

@Alan Grobmeier I agree that this is not for everyone and I know how demanding the business is as I’ve ran my own and other people’s str for the past year. Kansas City is said to be “very strict” on strs but I found out people just don’t want to do the paperwork. I took me one afternoon to complete it and get approved.

That being said, I firmly believe that I am better prepared and have more knowledge on this topic than most people who jump on the Airbnb wagon hoping to make a killing. Just looking for the next city to live in that offers an active / vibrant life style where I can setup a few more str.

Originally posted by @Sofia Sharkey :

@Julie McCoy this is great information, I’ll look into it. House hacking was just an idea but not a must :)

 :)  The model there is definitely vacation rentals, vs. short-term rentals - there's a lot of overlap but the clientele is different.  The good thing is it makes the regulation very friendly (just pay your taxes), since the vacation rental industry has been thriving there for decades.  

As for living in an area, there's lots of gorgeous countryside, or just go ~30-45 minutes away to Knoxville/Knoxville suburbs.

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Not sure why there's so much negative feedback.  It's not as if the OP is a newbie in STRs and asked some vague questions.  She said she successfully set up and ran 2 STRs as well as managed for others and she had specific questions. 

In any case, I've heard that Columbus, Ohio has friendly regulations...but you mentioned warmer locations. I think a lot of cities are still figuring out what to do when it comes to Airbnb regulations and you are left in limbo. I would choose a location which would work as a STR as well as a LTR or maybe one where you could rent to traveling nurses/corporate travelers as another option.

@Chris Forbush

Is the unusual spring chill bad for Airbnb? I know a few people in the Salt Lake area that are making good profits with Airbnb's, though that is mostly with homes that were purchased several years ago before the bubble got this big.

@Sofia Sharkey lots of $ in college towns. STRs for sporting events, commencements, family visiting students, generally other ongoing events that come with a city with a strong university presence. You'd have to do your research on STR rules city to city. I am in Ann Arbor and hear people do well here on a per night basis. Houses are $$ though so not sure how all the math shakes out.

On a separate but related note I just closed on a duplex in KC that will be a STR. Partners down there have been doing STR for several years now and have had great success.

I’ll send you an invite to connect.

@Paul Sandhu Oh wow. I'll second not living in Coffeyville. While I was OTR driving I got the pleasure of visiting A LOT of ghettos. I have to say, Coffeyville is up there. Don't get me wrong, I've met some nice people there and made friends at CCC. But the amount of drugs and violence in that town is extremely alarming.

I think I'll stay here in Sedan. Lol.

@Zachary Metler thank you for the feedback, I definitely have an eye on college towns. There is a lot of activity around a college.

I regards to your Str that’s awesome! Congrats and good luck, KC is a good place for that ad growing rapidly.

@Andrew C. You make an excellent point! Making sure the numbers work if you have to default to a LTR. That’s part of our calculations as we know Airbnb can change any day, laws can change any day, and we don’t want to be stuck in an ugly position unable to make the payments. Thanks for the feedback, I’ve heard quite a bit about Columbus Ohio as it’s rated as a top city for millennials to live in, just saw that last week.

Originally posted by @Andrew Cornstubble :

@Paul Sandhu Oh wow. I'll second not living in Coffeyville. While I was OTR driving I got the pleasure of visiting A LOT of ghettos. I have to say, Coffeyville is up there. Don't get me wrong, I've met some nice people there and made friends at CCC. But the amount of drugs and violence in that town is extremely alarming.

I think I'll stay here in Sedan. Lol.

Great post.  If I could, I would use the first paragraph of your post as a signature file on this website.

@Paul Sandhu I was going to suggest places in Texas with lots of refineries until she mentioned wanting to also live there. You don't want to live here. I don't want to live here. But there is a steady stream of contract labor trying to spend per diem.

@Sofia Sharkey I’ve had some good luck on Steamboat springs, co with small multiunit properties.

Colorado Springs is also pretty and investor friendly.

Neither of these is on the warmer side. How did you get going in Kansas City? I thought they ended up only allowing primary residence Airbnb’s.

Good luck on the search!

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