Can you really own a vacation house for free? There are several shows on TV right now that say that you can. Even if the answer is yes, its not easy. One popular show Vacation House for Free shows owners how to find the right property to fix up and rent out during the high season to break even or even turn a profit.
There are many factors that go into choosing the right rental for an investment. The adage location, location is still the key factor. When looking for a rental many buyers will buy where they have vacationed previously. This is especially typical for many Jersey Shore rentals.
So, what do you look for in a vacation that will produce enough income to pay the bills?
How long is the rental season?
Many rentals are seasonal. This means your rental is in demand for a specific season more than others. Homes along the Jersey shore are summer seasonal. Typically, the season is June through September. The most productive rental is the rental with the longest seasonal appeal. There are certain rental locations that are busy 356 days out of the year. Research the area and determine the average rental season.
What are the cost associated with owning a vacation rental?
There are many costs associated with owning a vacation rental. Advertising, maintenance, insurance, mortgage, condo fees if applicable, cleaning, replacing damaged items, and many processing rent payments. building a website, property taxes and more. You may be able to meet y9our monthly mortgage payment but as you can see there are many other expenses involved. Also, you may have an off year and will want to factor in rent loss for bad years.
How do owners take care of a vacation rental when they do not live near the property?
Many owners hire a property maintenance company or person on call. This is an additional cost but a vital one for operations. Often owners are faced with calls from renters who may have issues that require onsite vests.
What do renters want in a vacation rental?
Know your market before buying. If it is a beach rental many renters want to be near the beach. Rents typically are much higher the closer you get to the Beach. Stock your rental with the things guests will want while on vacation. Books, games, movies, bike racks, sleeper sofas are just a few of the typical items guests use while at a rental.
Why are repeat guest so important?
The cost to acquire a renter can be very expensive. Advertising can typically cost hundreds of dollars per rental on popular listing sites. If an owner can build a following of guests who come back year after year there is less of a need to advertise. Many owners of rentals have the same guests book the same week each year. There is another plus to repeat or return guests. You know them. You know your property will not be abused. Some owners do not require a security deposit for repeats.
How can a buyer save money when looking for the right rental?
Many buyers look for the cheapest rental in the area and fix it up. Buyers need to calculate the costs associated with a fixer upper versus buying new or recently remodeled.
So can you really own a vacation house for free? As you can see the answer depends on many factors. Owning a vacation home can be an enriching and rewarding experience but it can also be a costly one. Choose wisely.