Estimating STR vacancy rate

9 Replies

Hello,

I am just starting out with real estate investing and am looking to get into short term vacation rentals.  I am still very much in the education phase and am having a hard time analyzing potential properties as I don't have a good way of estimating how often it will rent.  My only strategy right now is to look at the calendars of similar properties in the area on vrbo/airbnb.  This doesnt seem very effective to me however as I can't see past months and I also don't know if the property is just not available on certain dates, maybe due to the owner using it or anything else.

Does anyone have any good ideas on how to go about this?


Thanks!

Hey @Jeff Ferron ! Very good question. This can be quite difficult so you are going to have to do your best.

Before we bought our lake house, I looked at each and every listing on AirBNB and Verbo. That gave me a pretty good idea as to what to expect. I factored in things like distance to town, was it lake front, did it have a dock, size and on and on. That helped us come up with a proper nightly rate.

I looked at each and every calendar to get a general idea of how often I could expect our house to rent. I tried to look at places that were similar to mine. Now I will say we are in a single season spot. We really only get renters in the summer and some into fall, maybe some late spring, but people are coming here for the lake. We are too far from skiing to be viable. People don't come to a lake house in the winter to watch the ice floe travel back and forth.

The other thing that will determine occupancy is quality of stay. We concentrated on making our house family friendly and making sure any guests wouldn't want for anything. It is decorated fully, plenty of art on the walls, quality furniture and a super stocked kitchen. If you do all that and communicate a lot, directly, not just through the app you can win.

It will also depend on the area. What area are we talking about? 

@Michael Baum
Thanks Michael.  I am still kind of open as to what area but I live in north eastern CT so I am hoping to find something relatively close by.  I have considered NH which is a few hours drive and could look for a lake house near some ski mountains or snow mobile trails.  I have also thought about looking in CT at a beach front property that is near the Casinos to hopefully get more year round potential.

Sounds like fun @Jeff Ferron ! Beach front would probably do well. I know it does here on the West Coast.

I love New Hampshire. Years ago my wife and I went there thinking about buying a B&B. It never worked out but I love the area. Lake Winnipesaukee is a pretty neat area.

First thing I would do is make the list broad and start to narrow it down based on cleaning crew availability, STR laws/restrictions and possible visitors. Then go from there.

I think you're doing it the right way. You can also use tools like Airdna.co but I personally analyze the property off of what nearby neighbors' calendars look like. 

Check similar properties on VRBO to see how full they are.

VRBO also has awesome free analytic tools if you have an account already, not sure if you can use them if you don't have an account.

We use airdna to set up a base price of comps and input into pricelabs (dynamic pricing software).  We try to hit the premiums on weekends and then weekdays we do lower prices to keep us booked 87% of the time.  We are pretty new (6 months in) but this has been a great way to build up our reviews and credibility.