Vail is a great place to buy vacation rental investment property. It has two peak seasons (summer and winter) with about 650,000 tourists each which makes 1.3 million for the year! All those people need a place to stay, which means short term rental sites like Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO are becoming quite popular. There were about 2,600 short term rental units on the market in 2018 and the numbers are only growing.
The average daily rate across all Vail properties is $540 a night, and with clever management you could be taking home $14,000 to $30,000 a year after all fees and expenses are paid. That’s a highly variable equation depending on the size of the house, location, etc, but our article on passive income breaks down some of the assumptions.
What to Look for in a Property
First of all, make sure your property is not under a restriction or covenant that would prevent it from being registered as a short term rental! After that, the general rule is that if you like it someone else will too. If the house will be a frequent vacation rental for your own family, get something that meets your needs.
However, there are a few things that help rental properties specifically. Two or three bedroom houses are more popular than single rooms or large mansions, which makes getting reservations easier. Hot tubs and direct access to the ski slopes are also very popular amenities that can fetch a premium price.
How to Do It
First, find a local realtor and start looking for properties in your price range that match up with what you see on Airbnb or VRBO. Make sure the properties are similar in terms of location, look, and amenities so you have a good comparison. Run the numbers to make sure it will be profitable. Remember to account for taxes, fees, and a realistic occupancy scenario (try calculating 15 days a month at first).
Then apply for a short term rental license on Vail’s website and follow the requirements. The local agent requirement is perhaps the trickiest and most important, as you will need to have a designated local agent who can respond to complaints 24/7! Take high quality photos of the property, write up a full description, and list it on Airbnb or VRBO (the listing sites have tutorials you can follow to make it easier). Find a local cleaner you can count on and set up an arrangement.
Once the bookings start rolling in, respond quickly to guests. Track all expenses for tax purposes, pay your taxes, and enjoy your property.If any of this sounds overwhelming, email firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk. We do all of the above…it’s what we’re best at!