Ocean City, MD - STR - Market Guidance and Realtor Request!

7 Replies

Hi All,

First post. Long time browser and podcast listener.

Looking to pickup a short term rental in Ocean City, MD. (OCMD). 
Target Area: streets 70s-90s to capture a more family oriented clientele. A block or two off the ocean/bay
Target Property: Condo; 2BR; 2BATH; ≈600-1000sft; Parking

Based on my research and input from another OCMD investor (in his first year of STR), it seems that I can expect 80-100% occupancy 3 months of the year and maybe 50% occupancy for another 3 months of the year. Anything else is a rare cherry on top. Based on my property profile, I am currently estimating $130/night for the 3 months at 50% occupancy and $180/night for the 3 months at 80-100% occupancy.

For those in the market, does this seem like a realistic estimation? Thanks for your input!

Also, looking for a realtor in the area if you know of any

Thanks in advance!

Hi @Paul Lehman , I can't comment on the feasibility of your purchase, but I can say there are some restrictions in place.

https://oceancitymd.gov/oc/dep... that is the site with the R1 Rental Map. It will impact where you buy your place.

Here is another site that has some good info. https://www.beachlifeoceancity...

It looks like a neat place with a ton of people living close to it so it makes for a great staycation's.

I don't own in OC, but I've been researching STRs there for months.  My grandparents had a cottage in OC from the 1950's-1980's, so I grew up going there for the summers.  I still vacation there almost every year.   I would love to have an STR there, but from my research, I'm not sure if it would make much profit, with the high condo fees and property taxes, and low occupancy during the winter.  If you're using it as a vacation home, and want to break even or make a little money, it would be great.  I'm still going to keep track of off-season occupancy and prices.  

The R-1 areas that Michael Baum mentioned are where many of the year-round residents live, and they wanted restrictions on partying STRs in their neighborhoods.  As you said, you aren't looking there anyway.  

70-90th Streets are fine, buy why restrict it to those?   The high-rise condo buildings go from about 94th to 118th Sts.  You may not want to buy in those because of the high prices and condo fees, but they rent well too.  The beaches can get crowded there because of the number of residents in those buildings.  
From there up to the state line is good.   Northside Park at 125th St is OC's most popular park, with fireworks and other activities in the summer. 
My sister's friend has an STR in Dewey Beach, and bought two STRs in North OC this past winter.  She is happy with the income from them this summer.  She bought 3 bed/2 baths condos that were very dated, in older buildings.  Each was under 250K, which isn't easy to find for 3 beds.  She remodeled both, and decorated them with beautiful, beachy decor.  

Make sure you check out the condo fees, and if there have been any special assessments.  Condo fees are very high there, mainly because of the upkeep on materials exposed to salt air and winter storms.  AC units corrode and need to be replaced more often than inland, and paint doesn't last long on surfaces.  Masonry buildings require less maintenance than wood buildings.  A lot of the older buildings don't have central air, they have room air conditioners. 

A lot of the 2 and 3 story condo buildings don't have elevators.  So keep in mind how many flights of stairs your renters will need to go up and down (and haul their luggage).  Since the buildings are usually raised, they may need to go up one flight  just to get to the 1st floor.  
If you buy on the bayside, check out how long the walk will be to the ocean.  And use Google Maps to see whether there is a convenient crosswalk across Coastal Highway.  

One thing that's different about OC is that it's traditional to require renters to bring their own sheets, towels, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.  The weekly rentals through real estate agencies are still like that.  A lot of Airbnb rentals are like that, although I'm seeing more and more that supply sheets, etc.  

Here is a page with different maps that will be useful.  https://tocgis.maps.arcgis.com...
There is one called Low Lying Areas that shows flood prone areas (Zones A and B).  The bayside has more than you would think, more than the ocean side.

I had looked around for a realtor that concentrated on investors, and found Michael Nolan.  http://www.myrealestatespot.co...
He has some blogs on vacation rental properties.  http://www.myrealestatespot.co...
I have been signed up for his daily email with new properties, pending, and sold properties.  I have not bought a property through him, so can't say anything about him otherwise.  

@Lauren Kormylo Wow, thanks for the wealth of knowledge! Lots of good info and considerations. Especially with the links to the maps. I was not aware of the resource.

You mentioned that you were tracking occupancy rates through the winter months. Would it be crazy to ask where you are able to source that information? 

Will certainly drop your name as a referral if we end up work with the realtor you mentioned. 

And if we end up purchasing, I would be more than happy to share the details with you if you are still looking in the area

@Paul Lehman   For tracking occupancy and prices, I go to Airbnb and VRBO every so often, and  look at the calendars of different condos.  In summer, a lot of people plan their long beach vacations in advance, because they have to put in for time off at work.  But I think during the off season, the stays will be shorter and more spur-of-the-moment, and more just weekends.  So pick some 2 bed/2bath condos in the same general area you're looking, put in different dates, and see what prices comes up, and how booked they are.  Compare ocean block and bayside prices and occupancy.  Weekdays will probably be less expensive than weekends.  VRBO has the nightly rates for individual condos on their calendars - scroll down to it, and you'll see the rates in little type underneath each calendar date.  And I would check the calendars every Saturday, to see if that current weekend is booked, because it may be booked at the last minute, and if you check during the week, you won't see that.  Also look to see if rates go up in your area during the different events, such as Cruisin', Winterfest, Springfest, the White Marlin Open, etc.  https://ococean.com/events

There is also AirDNA, which people say is a good indicator, but may not be totally accurate for every area.  https://www.airdna.co/

Just my opinion, I am looking at oceanfront or ocean block.  Families often do not want to cross Coastal Highway with young children and all their beach gear in tow.  And it's a hike to go back when the kids have to use the bathroom. 

I would certainly love to know the details if you purchase a place, thank you!