After multiple parts of the country and likely nearing mid double digit (50) times of renting short term Rentals (Airbnb and VRBO) …. (while this is mostly a financial and economic venue and discussion, it is also a money saving and best use of that hard earned capital)… We wanted to share the experiences in order to possibly bend your learning curve upward faster than normal, especially if you are new to short term rental!
So here are findings from the large number of experiences we have had over the last multiple years…
Generally you get what you pay for – We have found, within some boundaries of course, you generally get what you pay for… there have been some surprises, but with rustic being welcomed and unsafe shunned, rarely has there been disappointment!
Short Term Rentals allow Comforts of Home and Pets – For those of you new to the short term rental experience, most come with a full kitchen, washer and dryer and even allow pets… Check the fine print for deposits and when screening for pet friendlies and expect narrower options…. You may not have ALL the luxuries of home, but never have we experienced not enough to get by… hopefully not jinxing here..haha
Longer is a Better Use of Capital – There are vast variances in service and cleaning charges, but generally, much like taking one class versus taking a full load (College on the brain with the oldest heading off in a few weeks) staying for at least near a week and NOT overnight ever, has minimized the cost, and maximized pleasure of the trip as well… yaa yaa, we do work remote frequently, which lends itself to longer trips, but it is very likely an overnight stay is best completed at a traditional hotel… We also find that the daily rate drop with more nights, which makes sense, longer term and less turnover is appealing to owners!
Cancellations can Vary Dramatically – A small window of 24 hours or so is the norm for getting some of your funds back, to a less frequent full free return the day before is our experience… Read the find print CAREFULLY … It is their property and their rules… lack of knowledge can be frustrating for all parties but is really our responsibility as a renter! OH…. we had insurance on a long stay during the lock down… after careful review and multiple LOOOONG calls it was discovered it would not pay – a nice visit with the management company garnered a one year extension at an even better location! yay
Take the Reviews with a Grain of Salt – Bad experiences seem to garner more emotion than good ones… think about it, a bad meal at a restaurant sticks with you WAY longer than a really good one, and has greater long term effects and expectations… It is likely not every person can be made happy, and that handful may chirp in the form of a bad review, check out the subject matter and ask yourself if that would have really garnered a comment if you had experienced the same? One Caveat, if you see a repeated comment, such as “Only one elevator, long lines to get in” repeated over and over, there may be a structural problem at issue…. but something like, “Stairs are terrible” to a walk up, may be over the top critical!
Airbnb V VRBO – Airbnb is larger and has a greater number of options according to Wall Street Public records… Our experience and again this is just ours…. it appears that VRBO may have more economical prices, but again, review the first bullet… “We get what we pay for!”
Repetition May Garner Perks – Just like the frequency programs of Airlines, we have found repeat rentals lead to perks. During lock down, we repeatedly rented a place near a local lake. After a few rentals, the owner offered earlier check ins, later check outs and even a free day …. We are always careful … well – see next!
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask – If you have a question, ask before you rent… you want to all be on the same page in expectations. If it is not a good match, move on and they will do the same… Hey some like white cars and some of us like black… not wrong but personal preferences…. Just ask for clarity!
You get back what you put out – Not lecturing here, but our experiences have always been good. We really try to be courteous to the owner, landlord, neighbors and anyone we deal with… While we have had only one owner fraudulently take our money, in less than 24 hours it was refunded by the service AND they helped us find other accommodations … Sure other experiences may differ, but we find you get back what you put out!
With summer travels in full swing based on the traffic in our neighborhood, emails from the field (haha not kidding here), and the garage at our office… thought this might be a fun “light” post for your viewing pleasures!
Oh… and those of you that may question, we do not personally have a Rental, only like to be a good renter and have found the above experiences best practices for a mutually great outcome!
Have a Great “Short Term Rental Tips” Day!
John A. Kvale CFA, CFP
Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.
A Dallas Texas based fee only
Financial Planning Total Wealth