Airbnb property abroad

9 Replies

We were wondering if any BP members have an airbnb property abroad? We recently visited my native country Colombia and are seriously thinking about purchasing a condo in Medellin and renting it short term. We are trying to learn about the country's regulations about short term rentals but wanted to see if anyone has experience with this, we would love to get your insight. Thank you!

In my experience, I think that finding properties in Medellin for short term rental is either not 100% legal or too expensive as many are trying to do the same as you so the sellers will bump the prices considerably. I sell real estate in Medellin with Grupo Brik and we get this request every day but ultimately most people struggle to find an apartment well located that is legally able to rent in a short term basis and decide to do it under the table like many others are doing. Happy to chat with you and answer any questions you may have. 

@Account Closed

I buy (and am planning to build) Airbnb properties abroad in various countries with investors. It has to be profitable and legal. I especially like the places where the authorities actually encourage Airbnbs rather than discouraging them like in most places in North America.

Medellin is a great place to invest but there are restrictions on Airbnbs. If you want to operate an Airbnb in an apartment, at least 70% of the owners have to approve Airbnbs in the building. They are serious about enforcing the rules and shut the illegal ones down. So you can do it profitably but you need a good deal and you need to follow the rules. Mind you, I'm looking at other strategies there that could be more profitable than Airbnbs.

I can't think of a better way to get screwed over. Who is managing? Cleaning services, website booking, repairs? Airbnb is hot in certain places, but unless you are there to keep an eye on the day to day operations, I wouldn't do it in Columbia or anywhere else. I guess I've been screwed over too many times to trust that someone else will care for my property the way that I would.

@Account Closed Do you have any family or close friends in Medellin that could help with logistical issues? A good PM would do the trick too but you'd have to have significant trust in them.

@Anthony Dooley

You can rarely be successful in real estate just on your own, like in any business or investment endeavour. So whatever you do, even at home, you risk being screwed over when working with people if they're the wrong people. You are right in that that risk increases if you're not around.You just need to work with the right people. My Rolodex is filled with trustworthy people in many countries who I know on a personal basis and with whom I or close connections of mine have worked with successfully (and oftentimes repeatedly). On top of a high return, this is actually one of the main things investors who invest with appreciate: they have piece of mind. Knowing that you deal with people you can trust considerably reduces the risk of an investment. You are right again when you say that you have to exert control on a daily basis and this is what I do, even with the people I trust. When money from partners is involved, this is non-negotiable!

I'm sorry that you've been screwed over several times but many people are investing internationally without having that issue. If it was the rule rather than the exception (which pretty much everybody would know thanks to the internet and social media), there wouldn't be that many people investing internationally today. Yet I totally understand where you're coming from. You want to prevent what happened to you from happening to other people. There is no better intention! Also, after what happened to you, nobody will blame you for deciding to stay at home when it comes to real estate investing.

Finally, there are no guarantees in life and, in spite of all the research I do, the precautions I take and the control I exert, the possibility always exist that I could be screwed over, like in any venture. If that was to happen to me, I would warn people, learn and share what I could have done better if anything and suggest actions to take to prevent such an issue and mitigate its effects if it happens nevertheless. I wouldn't want investors to be robbed of the benefits of diversification and potentially higher returns because of something that remains the exception rather than the rule if you are careful. But that's me and everybody is different and entitled to their own opinion. I'm no better than you!