Tips on choosing a vacation rental investment property

The Florida Keys have long been a favorite vacation destination, so it's no surprise that many second homeowners choose to utilize their home as a vacation rental while they are not using the property themselves. Unlike other forms of investing, a well planned purchase of a home in the Keys is an investment you can use and share with others while it earns you income.

But to be successful, careful considerations must be made before purchasing.  Here are just a few points to consider.

Location is key. The old real estate cliche "location, location, location" holds true when picking out a vacation home. Not only will homes in more desirable neighborhoods rent better, but location within the neighborhood itself is important. Here in the Keys, most vacationers will want easy access to boating for fishing and diving. Having a home that provides quick, easy access to both the Atlantic and Bay side is preferred over a home that requires a long boat ride through a series of canals to reach the open water.

Property history or potential.  While looking at possible homes to purchase, find out if the home has ever been used as a vacation rental. If it has, ask for the history of the rental to see how much activity it has generated.  If the home has never been used as a vacation rental, find out if it will qualify. Some areas of the Keys have very restrictive property uses, so not all homes are created equal when it comes to using them as a vacation rental property.

Size matters. A lot of vacationers to the Keys that rent a private home over a traditional hotel or resort travel with family or friends.  To make things comfortable for everyone, homes that have 3 to 4 bedrooms will book more than homes that have only 1 or 2 bedrooms.  Be wary though of going too big. The bigger the house, the higher the rental rate. And just like higher priced homes for sale, high priced vacation homes generate fewer inquiries. 

Pay attention to details. The typical vacation renter chooses a private home because they want to have the comfort and convenience of home while on vacation. With this in mind, most travelers are looking for high quality furnishings that match their tastes at home. Fresh linens, ample towels, and comfortable, stylish decor should be provided. Appliances should be of a good quality but not so complicated that they cannot be easily figured out.

Maintenance is a must.  The Atlantic Ocean and Florida Bay - two things that draw visitors to vacation home - are also two things that will make your home require regular maintenance, along with the inevitable wear from extended use of the home.  While it is important to maintain your property, it should not be looked on as a daunting task. A good property manager will pay attention to your home even while it is not being rented to keep you advised when cleaning or repairs are needed to keep your home in tip-top shape.

Owning a second home in the Keys that can help generate income for you can be a great investment. For more details on homes that make good candidates, call or email me today. To get you started, here is a link for condos and homes that will allow short-term rentals (14 days or less).