It’s an age-old debate about investing, it is an art, or is it a science? When it comes to the science, good investors have data. One way to get data is to go to Airbnb, VRBO and others, search for properties, look for ones similar to what you are seeking and gather rate information firsthand. There you can read reviews and get some additional insight as to the property and its setting.
With a strong demand for data, a number of companies now provide investors insight through subscriptions to their databases, some will even give you free samples. Here are a few STR analytics firms that my clients have referenced:
Wheelhouse, Dynamic STR Pricing: a tool that focused on successful pricing. Some have reported using it as a tool to help in viewing the potential results from an area.
When looking at the data, it is important to understand that not all rental properties are listed in these data sources because not all rental properties are listed online. The vacation rental business in the Poconos has been a viable business for more than 50 years, way before STR became the buzzword. Drive into any of the large communities and you’ll see real estate offices by the main gates. A number of firms offer property management service and for privacy reasons they do not always put their customer’s rental properties online. Additionally, a number of vacation rentals are handled through private transactions, so what you see from the data providers is not all there is when it comes to income opportunities.
Another factor in the data is the seasonality of an area. While many people in the Poconos do rent year-round, not everyone does and some may rent for just a season due to personal preferences. A vacation home in close proximity to a ski resort might rent for the entire ski season (10-12 weeks), those adjoining state game lands might rent for the hunting season and some may even rent for a just a peak month, or the entire summer. This means a property might only be listed as available as STR for a part of the year. These mid-term (seasonal) rentals may not be listed on the booking sites and therefore may not be picked up by the data services, and therefore a property may have additional rental opportunities that what the data provider says.
There are a variety of coaches who can provide you with additional resources and tools.
The Real Estate Robinson’s have a nice introduction to STR Analysis Video
Investing in real estate has risks and you should always thoroughly research any opportunities that come your way. In another article, Beyond the Numbers we discuss the challenges that come from over dependence on third party data. For most, STR is much more than just investing, Running Short-Term Rental is Running a Hospitality Business. The Poconos are a popular vacation destination and looks to be that way for years to come. If you are interested in buying a property in the area, there are many options available.