Yes, we love to splurge on a beautiful hotel every now and again, but these days, it often makes more financial sense to rent a swanky loft downtown or a tree house with a skyline view. Companies like Airbnb and HomeAway have become game changers in the hospitality industry. Their business model cuts out the middleman and puts consumers in direct contact with homeowners looking to rent out their properties. This isn’t only a sweet deal for adventurous travelers on a budget – it’s also a goldmine for real estate investors sitting on vacant properties.
If you’re thinking about getting your toes wet in the world of real estate investing, we invite you to look into a few of our favorite vacation rental sites. The companies below make it simple (and fun) to market your property and watch your investment income grow.
HomeAway.com is the #1 vacation rental company in the world. Their international network of websites receives tens of millions of visits every month. Competition is fierce, however, and you will have to pay to cash in on their popularity. Property owners can buy annual subscriptions (starting at $349) or pay a percentage of each booking (starting at 10%). Regardless, top owners advertising on HomeAway have reported earning up to $56K per year in rental income. Sounds pretty good to us!
One of the biggest perks of Airbnb is that you don’t have to pay a dime to create a listing, so it’s virtually risk-free to try out. You might also find comfort in the company’s Host Guarantee, which offers coverage of up to $1M in the rare event your house is damaged by a guest. Bonus: The site is beautifully designed and incredibly addictive.
Powered by HomeAway.com, VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) exposes your investment property to up to 65 million travelers every month. VRBO rentals average 1850 square feet, and many have a backyard, making them a great option for traveling families. Subscription fees options are the same as with HomeAway.com, and bundling options offer the discounts for marketing your property through both platforms. A recent survey reported that top owners advertising on VRBO.com make as much as $63K per year in rental income. Cha-ching!
OneFineStay differentiates itself in the vacation rental market by offering a complete service to homeowners. From marketing and insurance to cleaning, management, and maintenance, the experience is virtually hands off for hosts. All you have to do is log into your account and indicate when you’re going to be away. They’ll take care of the rest.
* Originally published 4/27/2015