Lately, there has been a hot topic when talking to potential condo buyers…Airbnb…
Are you thinking about buying a condo in the Cocoa Beach area and make it an AirBnB? There are at least 30 complexes in Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach that would be ideal for an Airbnb, VRBO, or short term rental because they will allow a one-week minimum rental period. There are even more condos that will allow a one-month minimum that is still a great option for short term rentals. Most of these condos are either oceanfront communities or east of A1A.
Some things to research if you are considering buying an Airbnb or VROB in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral.
How will you pay for the condo?
Since we are talking about a short term rental investment; most of the occupants are tenants. This makes it a little more difficult to get a loan if most of the units in the complex are rentals. The lower the number of owner-occupants & second homeowners; the more likely you will need to pay cash for the purchase or obtain some type of hard money or a portfolio loan. If you do not have the full amount in cash for the purchase, this might not be a good option for you right now.
Confirm the rental restrictions!
You must read the condo documents. You cannot trust the MLS on what the rental restrictions are. Nor should you rely on your real estate agent or the seller. If you do not want to read through the condo documents, hire a real estate attorney. Fortunately, Florida law allows a new condo owner 3 business days to review all the condo documents and financials for the condominium complex on a resale and 15 days for new construction.
Besides confirming the rental restrictions will work for you, you also have a chance to see what the other rules and regulations are & if they work for you. Will each tenant need to be approved by the condo board? Do they allow pets? Do they have a restriction on vehicle type? You also want to see the financial well being of the community you are buying into. Always ask if they have any recent or upcoming assessments.
Find a good property manager
This might seem like a strange idea if you plan on using a site like Airbnb or VROB, but you need to confirm what you can get for rent and there are a lot of factors that can affect the rental amount. I know Airbnb, VROB and other short term rental sites have resources but a local property manager has the local data and experience to tap into. Short term rentals are normally kept in house (not put in the MLS) and the property manager is doing their own marketing and working their database to keep the condos rented. They should also have connections with companies looking for executive rentals that are bringing people in town to work at the Space Center or the Port. January through April is when we have the snowbirds and spring breakers in town and when you can get the highest price rent for the property. Make certain you look into the rent for the offseason too. You should have a full rental for the first 4 months of the year, what about the other 8 months? Make certain you have the rent estimates for each month out of the year because they do fluctuate. Make certain you know there will be vacancies and work that into your budget & numbers.
It takes more to rent a property than simply putting it online.
Whether you hire a property manager or do it yourself, you need good photos and a great description of the condo & area. If you are not a photographer or a writer, pay someone to help. Please, do not use your phone to take the pictures for your marketing (This is true if you are selling too). The Airbnb and VRBO sites do generate online traffic that should help keep your property rented. If you hire a property manager, make certain they do this full time and have the database and find out how they plan on marketing the property to find a tenant and keep it rented.
How are you going to fix it?
If you ever owned a rental property, things break. You need to get your team together for these kinds of repairs. If you live near the property, it’s a little easier & you probably have a local connection that can help with the leaky toilet and the AC that just went out. If you are not local, stay in contact with the real estate agent that helped you buy the property (hopefully they are trying to stay in touch with you too). They should have resources to help. This is another plug for the property manager. The good ones have 2-3 plumbers they work with, they have 2-3 HVAC companies, 2-3 handyman, etc. Since these things usually happen on the weekend at 3 in the morning, they also have a system in place to get things done.
See what condos are available for sale that will allow 1 week to 1-month minimum rentals here http://bit.ly/ShortTermCondo
If you currently own an Airbnb or VROB property, I would love to hear from you to see what is working and what did not work. I would also like to know more about your property (especially if it is in the Cocoa Beach area). I do get calls from people looking for short term rentals & I would be happy to make the connection. Please comment below, send me a message at Eric@EricLarkin.com or give me a call/text at 321-795-1854
About the author:
Eric Larkin is a Broker Associate with REMAX Solutions. He lives, works, and plays in the Cocoa Beach area. Eric has been helping buyers and sellers with their real estate needs since becoming a real estate agent in 2003. His focus is always on helping, answering your questions, and doing everything possible to make certain you have a smooth transaction from beginning to end.
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