Any advices on STR of Poconos area

9 Replies

I am a newbie and just about to put down an offer. I read some post that was a couple years ago and didn't suggest Poconos area. I don't know if things changes because of the pandemic. Anyone runs STR during last year?

The house that I want to purchase is on Airbnb right now and I run the numbers on Airdna and it turns out pretty good. It's not lake-front but it is lake accessible. Cute 3br chalet. I saw many people saying OCC is only 25% while it listes 60% on Airdna. How accurate is Airdna?

Thanks
 

Hi Kano, welcome to the community!  I've been running STRs in the Poconos for a couple years now and had a great experience so far. I can't speak to the accuracy of AirDNA's data, although I think it has gotten quite a bit better over the past few years.  I do think their overall occupancy rating can be skewed a bit because they can't distinguish between days that went are rented or days that the owner took the house off the market for personal use.  Lots of owners in the Poconos rent part-time and use their homes, so it can be hard to get an accurate read.  

Overall, Covid has REALLY skewed the numbers in the region.  Our places have been over 90% occupied in the past year, but we were closer to 65% prior to that.  I expect the numbers to climb back to earth a little in the fall, but the region has definitely experienced a lot of positive growth and publicity in the past year, so I believe demand will remain robust.

That said, underwrite conservatively to make sure your numbers work at a low occupancy rate/nightly rate and be pleasantly surprised when you do better!

Where in the region did you put in your offer?  I'm always happy to meet fellow investors!

Good luck!

Scott

I agree with @Scott Rankin , you rather plan a base case, worst case and best case scenarios. 

I got similar occupancy rates - average 60-65% occupancy, +80-90% in the summer (peak in Aug) slows down a bit in the Fall and picks up again in the Winter. The slowest months for me are April-May. 

Thanks! @Scott Rankin

I am putting down an offer in Alpine lake, 18332.

200k for a 3br chalet.

I put down an offer of 229k a couple weeks ago in the same community, similar chalet but better shape, but the seller didn’t pick my offer.

Both of them are in Airbnb right now and shows 60-70% occ.

I’m from Jersey and definitely need a property management. Do you have any recommendations? My main concern might be if I can find reliable people to manage my property. I own a business and I have to do all the work when my employees give me no show which is my biggest headache.

Thanks again!

Property Management is definitely the hardest part of running STR in this area. There aren't many options that provide the full suite of services (cleaning, guest communication, etc) you need to operate successfully. I'd recommend looking on Facebook and in your community for recommendations and just ask everyone you meet who they use. You'll start to hear some of the same names crop up for handymen/cleaners/etc.

One note of caution, I know you said that the houses you're looking to buy are operating as Airbnbs, but definitely double check that they're operating legally. Alpine Lake is in Pocono Township, which only permits STR in commercial zoning districts. Alpine Lake's website says they're not allowed in that community, so it's worth doing some due diligence before you commit to the purchase.

https://www.alpinelake.org/inf...

I hope that helps!

Scott

@Kano Wu , building on Scott's comment previously, you need to run a very precise due diligence regarding the SRT regulations, both at Township and HOA level. Couple if years ago is very different from now as they the STR ordinances are just getting started and HOA bylaws can change at any time. Make sure you have this on the top of your checklist prior to doing the deal.

Regarding property management: I confess that I don't know anyone who successfully hired a reliable and affordable property management company. Depending on the level of complexity, you can mange it yourself - there are a lot of tools that can help to automate the guest communication. You need to focus on hiring a decent local team of cleaners and one general handyman for maintenance. Ask for at least 3 referrals to minimize the risks of bad hires...