One of the largest players in the accommodation industry, Airbnb is present in over 65,000 cities and 200 countries around the world. You can make real money by playing in this rental accommodation market, and with the concept being one that has become widely accepted, short term rentals can range anywhere from condominiums to small villas and everything in between.
Not every owner has an extra room or house that is suitable for short-term renting, in fact, there are a number of considerations they should think about before buying a property with the intent of renting it out as with Airbnb.
Considerations Before Buying an Airbnb Investment
Like any other investment, you need to be cautious when choosing the right type of rental property to buy. There is, however, some margin for error in this task, because if you follow a few simple rules, your investment will end up being a smart one.
Cash in on Tourist Hot Spots
Location is a key term in the real estate industry, and finding a short-term rental property is no different. Cities that are major tourist attractions bring in just the type of clientele you want to rent out your space, so making a list of locations that are tourist-heavy will be one of the first steps on your agenda. Locations that feature many tourist attractions such as beaches, sporting events, museums, and a plethora of outdoor activities, tend to cater to high tourist traffic, and they also lead to increased rental demand.
High Property Values
Besides locations where tourists like to flock, consider zip codes and metropolitan areas that have affordable real estate pricing, growing economies, and significant infrastructure in terms of public transportation and roads. University towns are just one of the kinds of areas that tends to match all of the criteria, but warm weather, good nightlife, and lack of oversaturation are also variables to rank.
In an industry that features high competition, it is important to stand out from the crowd. One way to do this is to acquire properties that are appealing to general populations, yet have a certain uniqueness about them that will get them rented out more often than the average space.
Castles, camper vans that are close to the beach, and cabins that are close to ski resorts, are just a few ideas that might just come in handy during prime seasons and in certain areas. None of this means that there’s anything wrong with traditional units, but if you can find features that allow you space to vary from the norm while including all of the amenities that renters are often looking for, you’ll end up getting an edge on the local competition. Unique views, easy access to attractions, open rooftops, and private outdoor areas are a few more ideas and features that lead to extra bookings.
Short-Term Rental Regulations
It’s easy to miss details about housing regulations in an industry that has grown so significantly in a short span of time. Neighbours, housing associations, property taxes, and general standard operating procedures for your renters should be your prime research areas every year, to look for changes in the lease or other rental contracts and permits.
Not paying attention to these details can get you into the type of trouble that is more of an inconvenience than you might at first imagine. Ultimately, as an Airbnb investor, you don’t want to run the risk of breaking the law or accruing penalties and possible legal fees that could be associated with managing your property.
Choosing the Right Property
Investing in the right property for you can be a difficult task. The nature of real estate supply and demand dictates that a number of factors will come into play that can lead your decision one way or another. Areas of town that are close to downtown might attract business renters, while suburban areas that are not as densely populated could attract outdoor lovers and families. The only way to get the correct information about a target area is to ask around and collect as much data as possible so that you can make an informed decision.
Beaches and mountain areas are popular vacation spots. By targeting these kinds of clients, it may be a better decision to look for single-family homes rather than apartments. Ultimately, the type of property that you decide on goes a long way in determining the occupancy rate, and the rents that you can charge.
Over time, property values can make your investments turn into smart ones, or conversely, decrease the monthly income that you can expect from your rental purchase. When budgeting for your potential property, make sure to include wriggle room based on your best estimates of the monthly income that you can expect, based on occupancy, rental rates in the area, and any unique features and attributes of your space.
It is important to note that the devil is in the details and that being conservative with your income estimates, and aggressive with your expense estimates, can lead to more realistic monthly income projections.
Cost of Living
Many people feel that the cost of living is more important than the quality of the property. There are many factors that can impact the quality of a property, such as the type of building (like a single unit residential), the number of people who live within walking distance, the overall size of the building, and the population density of the area. In addition, there are many factors that can affect the quality of a property.
Here are a few of the most common factors that can affect the quality of a real estate property:
- The amount of time it takes to drive to downtown. If you live in a large city, this can make the difference between having a better time and having a better quality of life.
- The number of people who are able to afford to live in your particular area of town can also affect the quality of the property. In general, you can expect higher average income around popular inner-city areas.
- Here, the average rent becomes a more important factor. If you are in a small town, you will have to pay a higher amount of rent compared to your income, because the average income tends to be lower when compared to a larger city.
If your target property is in a fairly rural neighbourhood, you may not have adequate access to local public transport. This would mean that your tenants would have to factor in the price of a rental car as an add-on to renting your unit. And if your target property is in a school district, there may be a significant number of schools that have a large number of students nearby, making renters who are non-students less likely to desire the space.
Listing your Property
A great Airbnb listing should include a title, a thorough description, and as many photos as you can provide. With your title, your goal is to entice your prospective renters to pay attention to your listing, and your listing alone. A great title should get you the click, but sometimes it’s difficult to come up with a catchy title, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a few tries.
Your choice of words goes a long way to giving prospective renters a certain feeling. “Cozy” can be interpreted as small, “spacious” may sound like it’s not well decorated to some readers, and “nice” doesn’t do much, especially if your photos don’t seem to support the descriptions.
Targeting a specific audience in your titles is also a tip that can attract exactly the type of renters that you’re looking for. For instance, if you have a property that is amenable to larger families, target those groups specifically in your title.
One of the easiest ways to stand out with your descriptions is to provide details that are as clear as possible in describing the particular features of your property. The ability to answer questions before tenants have even asked them will lead to increased trust between you and prospective renters, and also reduce the majority of queries that prospective renters always have.
Remember, renters that are going to be staying in your dwellings are going to be in unfamiliar cities in many cases, and just need to feel comfortable that descriptions and photos that you’re giving them properly depict what they will be able to expect in reality.
In both your descriptions and pictures, you want to highlight the best features of the property, while maintaining authenticity throughout the listing. The more that your text descriptions line up with the photos, the better. Effectively, what you are doing is painting a picture of the space, and imagining that you are a guest renter seeing the property for the first time.
The style of the dwelling, the idiosyncrasies of the space, its condition, noise in the surrounding areas, the conditions during different seasons, and changing conditions that might occur at night as compared to during the day, all combine to form a complete picture in a renter’s mind.
Listing perks such as ultra-fast Wi-Fi, free bikes, surfboards that are easily accessible are all ideas that can help your rental stand out in areas with high competition, such as beach areas or areas near National Parks.
Remember, other short-term rental properties are not the only competition that you have; traditional hotels are also aware that Airbnb facilities are beginning to cut into their revenue. To make up for this, some facilities and brands in the hospitality industry are going to great lengths to ensure that they can continue to attract this crowd.
The Value of Photos
Stunning photos are probably the easiest and best way to entice potential guests to view your ad. To this end, make sure that you acquire the best photography that you can buy. Lighting and angles are aspects that you do not want to cut costs on, as they tend to raise the perception of the value of the property.
Highlighting areas that would be of interest to your target audience is a tip that translates well in photos also. High-quality pictures of large kitchens will help attract big groups, whereas well laid-out work areas can help attract business types to your rental property.
A Few More Tips About Photos
Taking your own photos can be risky, but if you do, make sure to use professional equipment rather than some high-end smartphone.
Getting a property in the picture-ready condition is a step that is often skipped by amateur and professional photographers alike. Declutter your area before taking pictures of living spaces or bedrooms. The last thing that the renter wants to see is a messy kitchen in a picture that describes the dwelling as clean and ready for business.
Tenants are wary of landlords who do not keep up the appearance of their rental units, and messiness or lack of communication are areas where bad reviews could make it difficult to get fully booked.
If you have any extra amenities or bonuses that you want to highlight in your text, do the same with your photos, to make sure that what you say and what you show continue to line up all throughout the listing. In this way, potential guests can skim through your highlights and bullet points and match it up with spectacular photos, giving them no choice but to feel that your listing is a no-brainer.
Overall, there are many aspects to running a successful Airbnb short-term rental business; a business model that has amazing upside, but also has many drawbacks and aspects which need to be researched to ensure smooth maintenance of a clean property that is highly desired and keeps you booked for years to come.
Convenience, speaking to the right audience, good communication, great reviews, amazing titles and photos, and the ability to be searched at the exact times that your tenants are looking for you, all give you the edge to make the rental investment one that brings you consistent revenue year after year.