Renting a Pool Home on Airbnb/VRBO

19 Replies

Hey everyone! I'm new to the community and looking for some advice. I own a SFR in Jacksonville, FL that is rented out to a full time tenant and managed by a local PM. I'm considering switching to short term renting via Airbnb, VRBO, etc but am concerned about the extra liability of the pool with short-term guests.

I already have good liability coverage along with an umbrella policy, but curious if anyone has had any major headaches or major success in the draw of a pool home. 

After checking the rental apps it seems I would have one of only a handful of pool homes in the area which makes it tempting to switch strategies since I don’t currently have much cash flow. 

Thanks in advance!

Cody

@Cody Kinser

Pools will definitely be a differentiator in an Airbnb rental. In the past, when I have rented with larger groups, the pool was the deciding factor on where we inevitably rented.

@Cody Kinser . Are you asking specifically about insurance? Just call your insurance company and ask them. Be honest. I’m guessing you’ll find you’ll have to switch from a residential to commercial policy but they won’t care much about the pool.

I think you would make much more fash flow renting your house with pool. Since not many people in your area have this feature it would surely set you apart.  

Make sure you have STR insurance that covers the pool.

I would also have the pool maintained by a company that is licensed and insured to minimize your liability.

@Cody Kinser you will need STR insurance so you should call and find out about their policies for houses with pools. Travelers and Proper offer STR insurance.

Hey @Cody Kinser welcome. To echo everyone above you should just reach out to your insurance provider and see their recommendations. We (Joseph Ellen Properties) professionally manage STR's in Jacksonville Florida. There are a few factors to consider before making transition from a long term rental to a short term rental. Location, are you going to be tailored to corporate travelers or people on vacation? Are you factoring in STR management? (which is a different ball game than LTR management). What are your goals with the property? Do you have the time to run the property properly? Are you factoring furnishing and utilities into your net cash flow projections? Just a few things to account for. However, I may be biased but we have both long term rentals and short term rentals in our personal portfolio and our STR rentals are well out preforming anything we have long term. Feel free to PM me, I am more than happy to answer any questions you have or give you a free projection of how your property will preform.

Cheers,  

Thank you for all of the replies! Until this post I had seen nothing but negative things online warning to not get involved with STR if you have a pool. I'll reach out to some insurance companies and see what they say.

All of my STR's have pools. I have built 3 for homes that didn't already have them. Pretty sure I'm paying for the pools with the added income within a couple years.

Have you considered a hot tub instead?  I built this myself with things I had sitting around plus about 50 bucks worth of pipe.  I light a fire in the hot water tank shell, water is circulated by a pump through 2 garden hoses through the heat exchanger coils and back into the tank.

My tenants work on things like the heat exchanger coil, but it's upright and about the size 40-50 upright school busses side by side and stacked on top of each other.

Being in a location where you have a pool and your competitors do not will be incredibly lucrative for you. I'd also suggest getting a pool heater for the colder season. 

We allow guests to opt to have the pool set to 90 degrees during their stay in the winter and charge them $50 a day to cover the energy expense. This is in California so the winter is pretty mild, but still the water would be very cold otherwise. We have a pool cover though which keeps the pool from losing too much of its heat overnight.

@Paul Sandhu that's an innovative idea! We already have an in ground pool at the house, just wondering about potential issues in switching from LTR to STR. Mainly accidents, tenant complaints, extra cleaning, etc. We have a professional pool cleaning company come out once a week right now for our LTR.

@Rohin Dhar that’s a great idea. It’s definitely a little cool in the winter in Jacksonville for a swim. I don’t have a pool heater, but I have a heater for the attached hot tub for the winter. Hoping that would suffice for attraction in winter. 

@Andrew Pokrzywinski @Cody Kinser

Now that we all have experience living through a pandemic and watching American politics unfold, Florida is not a bad place start your first STR. I manage a portfolio in Breckenridge & Vail Colorado and seen how quickly business can be forced to halt. The business can be lucrative for both owner and manager. As Andrew points out, be prepared to cover costs that your long term residents were covering i.e electricity, cable tv, furnishing etc.

Andrew, my wife and I have considered purchasing an STR on the Atlantic coast of Florida. Would be interested to see projections on 1-2 bed condos in a destination that performs. Do you see the 1-2 beds gross 25k+ annually? (Vague question, I know) would love to get into more detailed convo.

Hey @Clay Massey go ahead and PM me and I would be more than happy to give you an example proforma. 

To answer your question in short, gross 25k yes. However, it depends on the property, location, and furnishing. 25/26k a year gross is only $90 a night at 75% occupancy. Also, keep in mind if your managing your property correctly it will not stay at $90 all year. Slow season may be $85 a night holidays may be $110+ a night. This is a crappy answer but it depends lol However, more than happy to run the numbers for you vs a traditionally long term rental! 

Great thread. @Cody Kinser As others have said, changing over to LTR that you didn't manage is quite different than managing a STR, or even running with a PM. To your question, I agree with Luke. A policy that covers STR will be more expensive than a policy for LTR and a pool won't make much of a difference. That has been my experience now.

We have a SFH STR in St. Augustine that has done quite well. We're currently living in it until our pool is built, starting in a week. We'll relist it as a pool home on VRBO and Airbnb. Currently unsure how the gross income will change, other than up.

We’re also doing a 1031 exchange next week on a 1BR ocean front condo just north of Jacksonville Beach on Amelia Island. It’s in a very friendly STR community and the seller’s grossed incredible numbers. (We actually booked it and stayed there in January, got friendly with the owners, and they decided to sell to us as they 1031 exchange into another unit upstairs.)

@Andrew Pokrzywinski If you're familiar with these areas, I'd love to chat with you. Managing a STR from a distance has worked but I'm wondering how that will change when it's a pool home.

Hey @Nancy Bachety we love those areas. St. Augustine is an incredible place for a STR. We are hunting for property there for our personal portfolio just so we can get away on the weekends. Also very familiar with Amelia Island, I was up there playing golf last weekend. Such a pretty area.

Feel free to PM me, more than happy to talk STR's with you. If I cannot bring you value 9/10 I can refer you to someone who can!

Cheers, 

Originally posted by @Rohin Dhar :

Being in a location where you have a pool and your competitors do not will be incredibly lucrative for you. I'd also suggest getting a pool heater for the colder season. 

We allow guests to opt to have the pool set to 90 degrees during their stay in the winter and charge them $50 a day to cover the energy expense. This is in California so the winter is pretty mild, but still the water would be very cold otherwise. We have a pool cover though which keeps the pool from losing too much of its heat overnight.

 You can't possibly be heating your pool for $50 can you? We charge anywhere from $100- $150/ day to heat our pools to 84 degrees.  That is about our cost.

Originally posted by @Cody Kinser :

@Kevin Boyd have you had any major issues with renters and any of your pools. My nightmare is a drowning or drunken incident and getting sued. 

 No Issues. We have water slides in all of them. Many hundreds of rentals without an accident. We take precautions and have insurance.