BiggerPockets Podcast 229: Early Retirement Through Short-Term Rental Properties with Zeona McIntyre

by | BiggerPockets.com

Not everyone wants to work a “real job”—but luckily, real estate investing can offer financial freedom for those willing to put in the work. Today’s guest on The BiggerPockets Podcast exemplifies this perfectly! Our guest today, Zeona McIntyre, is a master at short-term (aka “vacation”) rental properties and has achieved early retirement with just a small handful of these units. On this fun episode, you’ll discover how Zeona began her rental journey before buying a single property, how short-term rentals can provide significantly more cash flow than traditional rentals, and numerous tips and tricks for getting the biggest bang for your buck. We also chat on private lending, finding deals, and the amazing number of countries (and continents) Zeona has traveled to. Whether you plan to buy short-term rentals in your future or not, this show packs a powerful punch that everyone needs to hear!

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How Zeona got into the real estate game
  • Why she started out by subleasing her apartment as an Airbnb rental
  • Why you should see private money lenders as opportunities
  • Why reading the fine print is important before signing anything
  • How she found her next deal site unseen
  • What’s unique about her market
  • How she uses systems to manage her units
  • What early retirement means to her
  • Tips for managing vacation rentals at a distance
  • Discriminations and legalities on these properties
  • Airbnb hacks and tips
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “You just take what you have and you leverage that.” (Tweet This!)
  • “You don’t fully understand until you’re in it, until you’re doing it.” (Tweet This!)
  • “You don’t have to be super studied. You just have to start doing it.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Zeona

Show Preview

About Author

Thanks for checking out the BiggerPockets Real Estate Investing & Wealth Building Podcast. Hosts Joshua Dorkin & Brandon Turner strive to bring top-notch educational content and interviews to our listeners -- without the non-stop pitch prevalent around the industry. With over 1500,000 listeners per show, the BiggerPockets Podcast has become the biggest real estate podcast in the world. But don’t take our word for it. We’re the top-rated and reviewed real estate show on iTunes — check it out, read the reviews on iTunes, and get busy listening and learning!

16 Comments

  1. Don Spafford

    One of the best podcasts! I am super pumped to look more into Airbnb. This show gave me a ton of great ideas and things to look into for my next step in my investment path to freedom. I very much appreciate BP and Zeona for helping new and seasoned investors become better. I wouldn’t have even started my path had I not found BP. I love it!

  2. Jarrod Williams

    I wanted to clear up a piece of the podcast relating to how AirBnB charges compared to the other short-term stay websites like VRBO etc. AirBnB does charge the home owner 3% but they also charge the renter 6%. So the total actual charge is 9% which is closer to what the other services charge (I think 10% was mentioned for the other services in the podcast).

  3. Nathan G.

    I used to manage 60 vacation homes in Cody, Wyoming. It’s a tourist town at the Eastern side of Yellowstone National Park. A lot of people see single family homes renting for $300 a night and think they can make fast easy money. This podcast seems to support the idea that any home in any area can be a successful vacation rental but the truth is you have to know your market and what it can bear.

    The competition got stiff in our area when Airbnb became popular a few years back. A lot of people started renting out guest houses, small investment properties, or even individual rooms in their homes. If someone were to buy a 2-bedroom 1-bath or even 3 bedroom 2 bath home in Cody and convert it into a vacation rental it would be extremely difficult to match the income they could make with a long term rental and the work required would be significantly higher. However, our market does have a high demand for large single-family homes that can sleep 8+ guests so a 4-5 bed home could probably out-perform a long-term rental. Our friends own a spectacular retreat that sleeps 35 people comfortably and rents for $6,000+ week and they’re booked solid every summer.

    There is a lot of good information in here. For anyone considering a vacation rental, I highly recommend Zeona’s blog.

  4. Cameron Godsill

    Love the show. Great carefree type attitude toward problems and the fear of the unknown. Really made me look at how I can get too worked up over some little things. Anything to shift the way I can think and interact toward life is awesome. Thanks for sharing your story Zeona!!!

  5. Tracey Geary

    I love the podcasts in general (just this week finished listening to all of them!) but this was an awesome show. I’ve been thinking about trying out renting out a spare bedroom in my house to give it a low-risk try and Zeona has really inspired me to pursue it. My primary residence is near both the beach and a college so I’m encouraged by her results. Also encourages me about the possibility of using AirBnB during the summer on the college rental I am buying.

  6. How do you find the on-call labor that was described (pay them $100 to be available whenever to do whatever)? And how do you make sure they are reliable before you start paying them to be on-call?

  7. Zoeimy Floyd

    Hi Zeona,

    This is Zoeimy (BP account is under my husband’s name). I wrote you a more…. robust 😛 …. email through your site.

    Wondering if you could openly share a little more logistics on a couple of points you mentioned:

    ? I’ve found that several HOAs for single family home communities near my home have a ban on short term renting. Not sure how it is in your markets, however is that part of your purchase process or of course would you recommend it to be… to ask about HOA regulations on STR before you put in the offer?

    ? Where does the thrift, garage sale, consignment shopping for your properties fit into your investing process?
    Meaning, since you are primarily out of state in your st. louis market, do you go shopping for all these items to stock the home after you’ve just bought one? And if so, can you generally find your entire inventory within a reasonable amount of time? Or, since the nature of these mediums is so hit and miss… if you’re doing the shopping prior to even purchasing a property… I mean I’m guessing you find some cool stuff you might not need just then but want to buy for later use… do you keep the inventory on hand in a storage area to stock and furnish the homes with your findings as needed?

    Thanks again for your transparency in the episode, and for your great content!

    ~ Zoeimy

  8. Zoeimy Floyd

    Thanks Mindy for your great input during your hosting episodes!

    A bit partial to this one since you requoted my all time favorite life quote by Henry Ford!

    “If you think you can, or you think you can, either way… you’re right!”

    Brandon you’re great too of course. It’s just extra nice hearing the strong and confident girl host whenever we get to. 🙂

    Thanks to all in BP for the consistently valuable and practical content!

    ~Zoeimy (I use my husband’s account) The girl comment makes more sense now doesn’t it 🙂

  9. Zoeimy Floyd

    For Zeona,

    If you would answer another question for us…

    ? What level of readiness do you look for in a Short Term Rental property? At the STL market pricing of $72k, $60k & $52k you mentioned, I’m thinking they may have needed some work to get them up to par for STR. If so, what have you generally spent on rehab & reno? Also, do you then have a local-to-market prep team that handles the property rehab & reno part while you’re away or even while you’re there? And if so… :)… sorry… this questions keeps giving birth to itself :P… what professionals does that team consist of?

    Thanks again for your input

    ~Zoeimy

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