Vacation AirBnb in Tampa

56 Replies | Tampa, Florida

Hey BP!

One approach thats attractive to me right now is investing in a "vacation" AirBnb in Tampa Florida. The idea being I'd AirBnb it out during the high season, and live in it during the low season. With my location-independent job, this should be very doable.

Then, maybe I can own another AirBnb in another city and do the same thing for the opposite season.

How healthy is the AirBnb market in Tampa? Any tips from anyone who has done anything similar? Also, does it make sense to do a rehab for this or just buy an existing SFH in a vacationy area?

Cheers

Hey Andre the AirBnb market from what I can tell is doing great here in Tampa.  Lots of home owners are turning their mother in law suites into short term rentals.  Lots of great stuff going on in the short term rental market.  My tip is to get one. 

I like your idea. I would do the same if I had a location-independent job. We have a vacation airbnb in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. From my experience, I would recommend getting something that doesn't require significant rehab. You should be able to get a very good return simply by converting a sfh into an airbnb, renting it out during the high-season, and living in it during the off-season. In order to do this you will already have a lot of extra expenses related to furnishing the sfh. A rehab will take longer and require more upfront cash. Right now is likely the high-season in Tampa, Florida. If you were planning to do something soon, than you would likely be better off purchasing something doesn't require rehab, so that you can list quickly and begin generating income sooner during the high-season. My experience is that guests care a lot more about their experience than the value of the home they stay in. So, dollars invested in high quality furnishing that your guests use will give you a much higher return than dollars invested in the property. I'd be happy to share our list of what we bought for our place with you if you are interested. Also, the number of guests that you can comfortably accommodate is highly correlated with the nightly rate you can charge. Think about a hotel. If you can comfortably put 2 queens in 1 bedroom you double the potential occupancy of that room. Thus, a 3 bedroom home with 6 queen beds (accommodates up to 12 guests) will likely generate a lot more income than a 3 bedroom with 3 king beds (accommodates up to 6 guests). One renovation that might add value would be to convert a 2nd living room, or other unused space into an additional bedroom. If you really want to do a rehab, you could probably find a great deal in the off-season and rehab the property during the off-season when your missed income will also be lower. 

Hey guys, I appreciate the advice :) 

@Michael Gonzalez Glad to hear the market is doing well! Could you expand on what you mean by "lots of great stuff"? And do you have any idea if Tampa might limit short-term rentals like Miami? Also Michael if you're local, I'm going to visit Tampa in a couple weeks if you're down to meet up and chat?

@Daniel Kauffman   Yes I'm definitely interested in the list of what you bought to furnish your rental. Interesting point about having more beds to up the rents...didn't think of that.

What are you guys' thoughts on AirBnbing an actual SFH versus a condo?

@Andre Crabb I don't know much about this space (searched it on BP because I was interested after listening to podcast #229) but SFH may be a lot easier. Condos more often than not have HOAs, which may limit the amount of subletting you or the condominium can do total, or may deny Airbnb entirely. If you do go with condos, just make sure you vet the HOA prior for this reason and many others.

Originally posted by @Andre Crabb :

Hey BP!

One approach thats attractive to me right now is investing in a "vacation" AirBnb in Tampa Florida. The idea being I'd AirBnb it out during the high season, and live in it during the low season. With my location-independent job, this should be very doable.

Then, maybe I can own another AirBnb in another city and do the same thing for the opposite season.

How healthy is the AirBnb market in Tampa? Any tips from anyone who has done anything similar? Also, does it make sense to do a rehab for this or just buy an existing SFH in a vacationy area?

Cheers

 Hi Andre, the Airbnb marketplace in Florida is very strong. Tampa has strength and is continuing to grow, I am also very intrigued by South Eastern Florida, Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas. 

 @Andre Crabb I'm on the same page as you. I have a location independent job and want to get into vacation rentals. For my first investment, I'm looking at the Tampa area and planning a trip down there in late summer/early fall to check it out. From my research, it seems to be a hot market. I'm in the same boat trying to figure out whether to go for a SFH vs. condo. Maybe we can compare notes.

I also need to find an agent in that area, wondering if anyone on this thread has any good leads for that market. 

Best of luck!

Can anyone on here comment on the legality of STR's in Tampa/St. Pete? I see alot of SFH's that have 6-month or 90 day minimum leases, but then I get on Air BnB or VRBO and people in these same areas are obviously doing STR and there's ALOT of them going on. Are these people just skirting the rules right now? Are rules not being enforced?

Hi guys,

Stephen Dispensa here, Real Estate Agent in Tampa. I think I can help give you some clarity on this issue. The good news is there are no short-term rental laws for The City of Tampa. The only law that would affect AIRBNB's is Tampa is a Hillsborough County Law requiring all AIRBNBs to pay a "Transient Room Tax". You have to register the rental with the county and pay a tax based on your income for the month. Other than that, within the City limits of Tampa you're good to go unless there are HOA restrictions.

The bulk of the communities in South Tampa don't have HOA. Condos are another story and whether they allow STR will vary from building to building. Most of the smaller buildings with 20 to 50 units don't have any regulations. Larger developments with active boards may have rules, you'll have to ask to see the condo agreements during your search.

However, there are many communities outside of the city of Tampa in the Tampa Metro Area that are great for AIRBNBs. Unfortunately, most of these communities (typically places in Pinellas County close to the beaches: St. Pete Beach, Indian Rocks, Clearwater, Dunedin, etc. etc.) have all passed local ordinances against STRs. Typically they want all rentals to be for a minimum of 90 days. There are, however, many people flouting the law and renting anyway. It's a much bigger issue in Pinellas County than it is in Tampa. 

My thoughts on short term rentals within Tampa would be to look around the Hyde Park area. Hyde Park features great shopping and restaurants, is adjacent to the nightlife in Soho, and extremely close to downtown. Downtown Tampa is really coming alive with the Riverwalk and new parks. There's constantly events going on down there.

Also, there was some discussion earlier in this thread regarding the "high season". I can tell you that summer in Tampa is definitely NOT the high season here. Typically, the high season lasts from the end of January until May. This is when we have the most snowbirds coming down from up North, Yankees Spring Training, lots of events, weather is perfect, etc. 

If you have any questions on Tampa, feel free to reach out. I'd be happy to help you in your search and I hope you find a great property here in Tampa.

- Stephen Dispensa

@Andre Crabb Pinellas County aka the beach area mentioned above ^^^ is the HOT spot but they restrict short-term rentals. Many people rent regardless of the restrictions but eventually, they'll get shut down. I can't speak for the other areas in or around Tampa.

@Andre Crabb , I've done exactly what you described. I'm fortunate to have a remote job that allows me to work from any location. I have a vacation rental in Pinellas County (Palm Harbor area which is not incorporated) and it's done extremely well. In fact, I'm doing the concept now in South Florida. If you have any specific questions re: vacation rentals please let me know. One caution I can give is to ensure that the area you decide to buy in allows short term rentals. The tax payment to both the county and state are rather simple to set up. Typically most consider the winter months high season for Florida, but I have been pleasantly surprised to be booked almost the entire summer. You may be surprised on what you consider high season. Best of luck, it can be fun!

Thanks all! I'm going to focus first on a duplex or something to live in (I'll be moving to Tampa at the end of this year). After I'm settled in, I'll look around for another property which will focus more for short-term rentals. Sounds like there's potential though :)

Hi everyone,

Olga Shahan is here, I am a realtor and investor myself. I thought I would give my input.

I moved to the beach a few years ago and I see how this area has been changing. St Pete beach used to be a place mostly for retirees and a very few places for tourist entertainment. Now there are a lot of new restaurants popping up, hotels have been doing renovations, adding more lounge space and opening beach cafes. There are a lot more tourists visiting our local beaches, the government spends millions of dollars on “Visit Florida campaigns” which is paid from 6% tourist development taxes. Pinellas County has an agreement with Airbnb and other online booking websites, Airbnb now collects and remits Tourist and Sales Taxes (under the title “Occupancy Tax”) so there is no confusion now with “additional charges”. In a community where I live association policy permits short term rentals. Min lease 7 days, rental prices went twice higher since the owners of the condos started to do Airbnb. During the high season from January till March 2 Bedroom condos rent from $3,200 to $3,700. Slightly less during April and May, and approximately $2,200 to $2,500 "off season". Vacation rental market is extremely busy and the condo prices are below the market peak.

Real estate on the beach is still recovering after the market crash, the prices are going up slower because the sales depend a lot on the season. There are some communities by the beach where the prices are very promising, considering that Tampa bay is growing and the economy is developing, we are talking about hundreds of thousands in price appreciation.

If you have any questions on vacation rentals on the beach I would be happy to help.

@Andre Crabb You should check out AirDNA.com.  I've used that for research purposes before and it is extremely helpful to identify good markets for AirBNB as well as give insight into the pricing, average stays, concentration of homes, etc.

This is a very interesting thread.  My wife and I just got back from a week stay on Siesta Key and realized that Tampa is very accessible to our home in NYC.  I've been trying to figure out where we'd want to invest some of our real estate money and since it's very hard to invest locally, if we were going to go out of state we were interested in doing it somewhere we'd like to vacation.  We're thinking the general Tampa area may be it, and vacation rentals piqued our interest.  @Olga Shahan - would you be willing to speak at some point?

@Chris Albanese thank you for your interest I will be glad to help.

It's nice to hear that you are considering Tampa Bay area for your vacation investment.

I would like to mention the fact that local housing market is one of the hottest in the country and therefore home prices are getting closer to the market peak values. What's is important to understand here is that the prices went up mostly in downtown and suburban communities. Because local population is changing, younger people have been moving to Tampa Bay for jobs and they are buying homes closer to where they work.

So Real estate boom did not spread to the beach, this is one of the areas in Tampa Bay that has the most potential. As I mentioned before in some waterfront communities the prices are still lower than in 2006. Since Real Estate on the beach depends on season, the prices here are moving slow, making it the best market to invest in.

I can provide you Airdna market reports of waterfront communities along with video tours. Please message me your email address.
@Chris Albanese thank you for your interest I will be glad to help.

It's nice to hear that you are considering Tampa Bay area for your vacation investment.

I would like to mention the fact that local housing market is one of the hottest in the country and therefore home prices are getting closer to the market peak values. What's is important to understand here is that the prices went up mostly in downtown and suburban communities. Because local population is changing, younger people have been moving to Tampa Bay for jobs and they are buying homes closer to where they work.

So Real estate boom did not spread to the beach, this is one of the areas in Tampa Bay that has the most potential. As I mentioned before in some waterfront communities the prices are still lower than in 2006. Since Real Estate on the beach depends on season, the prices here are moving slow, making it the best market to invest in.

I can provide you Airdna market reports of waterfront communities along with video tours. Please message me your email address.

Here is update about Short term vacation rentals in Florida. 

The Senate Committee on Innovation, Industry and Technology (IIT) considered Senate Bill 1128 that proposes, in effect, to expand short term rentals in Florida. On January 13th 2020 Senate voted YES to passing the bill.You can check it on

https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2020/1128

Here is its House companion bill, HB 1011T

Thisyear legislation has been changed to ensure that Associations' duly adopted deed restrictions and governing documents will not be "superseded" and thus protected.

SB1128 two important lines.

1. In Lines 87-90, SB 1128 says: "Property owners who choose to use their property as a vacation rental have constitutionally protected property rights and other rights that must be protected, including the right to use their residential property as a vacation rental"; and

2. In Lines 96-98, SB 1128 says: "Vacation rentals are residential in nature, a residential use, and thus permitted in residential neighborhoods."

In other words, short term rentals could be allowed regardless of what your governing documents may say because these rentals are "residential" and "constitutionally protected".

I hope that helped.



Thanks for sharing that @Olga Shahan . Is that a done deal, or does the law need to be voted on a second time (or any other process required) before it is ratified? 

A few thoughts on this:

1. Nightly prices could go down as many more hosts come onto the market - the penalties have been holding many back up till now.

2. SFHs (the right ones) could go up in value.

All in all a good thing I think though. Seemed very un-American to tell people what they can do with their own homes.