Best type of property for Airbnb

Which properties make the best vacation rentals

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Buying a vacation home can be a lucrative investment, especially with the right marketing (such as eye-catching photography and a smartly written vacation rental listing), offering amenities that guests want, decorating intentionally to boost bookings, and more.

But earning the most profits starts right here—choosing the right Airbnb property, in the right place. There are countless vacation home options, from mountain cabins, to beach condos, to lakefront homes.

We manage 44,000+ properties across the country and have seen it all. Let’s walk through how to find the best type of Airbnb for you and your goals.

What’s your financial goal?

First things first, determine your financial aim early on.

Here are some questions to address upfront:

Determine your budget

A savvy approach is to invest in an Airbnb property that you can comfortably afford, so consider all the expenses and costs that will impact your ROI. These include:

One of the biggest benefits of owning a vacation rental is that many of these expenses are tax deductible. So, be sure to document them come tax time.

Choose a location that already attracts visitors

As with any real estate investment, location is crucial. Your location determines both your bookings and your profit.

While it’s especially convenient to own an Airbnb close to your home, don’t limit yourself. Instead, expand your search. Some ways to do that:

  • Research the most profitable cities. Even easier—consult our Best Places to Buy a Vacation Home report, where we rank the year’s top 25 U.S. locations based on ROI.
  • Look at locations that draw a large number of visitors. In general, most travelers head to beaches, mountains, lakes, city centers, national parks and areas close to major events. However, keep in mind that even smaller towns and local gems can garner major appeal.
  • Determine the seasonality of the location. When are the low and high seasons?
  • Identify potential guests. Who is the location most desirable to—such as families, business travelers, or adventurers?
  • Not all neighborhoods are equal. Which neighborhoods attract the most visitors or have the must-see attractions?

Modern vacation rental management.

Your home is a success waiting to happen. We'll show you how.

Find out which home types do the best in that destination

House, condo, or cabin? It helps to consider who your destination attracts. For instance, the mountain town of Breckenridge, Colorado draws more adventurers and skiers looking for slopeside condos. Meanwhile Gulf Shores, Alabama is a favorite of families in the summer and snowbirds in the winter.

Do some research here. Or, even better, work with a real estate agent who specializes in vacation homes. Some types of homes will be more profitable than others in that particular city. Look at the data to see which homes are most sought-after by travelers. This will give you a clearer picture of the best real estate and neighborhood options.

Understand local vacation rental and Airbnb regulations

Make sure you can legally rent out a vacation home as a short-term rental. Local law—whether that’s at the city, county or state level, or all three—dictates how you’ll own and operate a vacation rental. Or, if you can own one at all. Plus, don’t forget to look into your homeowners’ association rules for renting out your property. Your HOA may have the power to prohibit you from renting your property and levy fines against you for violating restrictions.

Some helpful resources:

  • Vacasa has local staff in all of our markets who can assist you with staying in compliance.
  • Check Airbnb for the updated legal requirements for about 100 cities and counties
  • Check local government websites and Chamber of Commerce websites

Then, get clarity on:

  • Whether it’s legal to host an Airbnb or vacation rental in your city
  • What requirements you have to fulfill as a host (a special permit or license, for instance)
  • Are there any taxes and fees?
  • How many bookings are you allowed and when?

Find a real estate agent who understands vacation homes

As stated earlier, it helps to work with an expert in Airbnb properties. They can suggest specific locations that best fit your budget, personal interests, and financial options.

At Vacasa, we can refer you to agents to help with:

  • Local vacation rental performance
  • Rental income projections
  • Data on competing vacation rentals in the area
  • Which home features are most sought after by travelers
  • What vacation home amenities make an Airbnb listing stand out

Afterwards, we can help you with marketing, 24/7 guest service, and housekeeping when you’re ready to rent out your property.

The back of an Annapolis, MD vacation rental with a pool at dawn.

Best type of property for Airbnb FAQ

The best places to own an Airbnb are often in cities and towns that already attract a large number of tourists throughout the year and where short-term rentals are legally allowed. One of the best resources is the annual Best Places to Buy a Vacation Home report, which ranks top vacation rental destinations by ROI.

Yes, buying an Airbnb can be a good investment—especially if you invest in a well-kept property, in an in-demand destination. The rewards of investing in a vacation rental are numerous. Your rental income can possibly offset your mortgage and other expenses. Your home may appreciate in value over time, leaving you with a sizable nest egg or a beloved home to relish your retirement. You could have plenty to write off come tax time.

Plus, a vacation home can be a place where you create unforgettable memories with your closest family and friends (because we all could use more of that).

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Call 844-518-0967 to speak with a Homeowner Consultant, who can answer preliminary questions and see if we’d be a good fit for you.

If you'd like to move forward, we’ll put you in touch with our market expert in your neighborhood to explore the financial potential of your home, outline our management fee, and introduce your local team.

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Vacasa offers property management and other real estate services directly through Vacasa LLC and through Vacasa LLC's licensed subsidiaries. Click here for more information about Vacasa's licensed real estate brokerage/property manager in your state. Vacasa’s licensed real estate brokerages/property managers include: Vacasa Alabama LLC; Vacasa Arizona LLC; Vacasa of Arkansas LLC; Vacasa Colorado LLC (Micah Victory); Vacasa Delaware LLC, 302-541-8999; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Illinois LLC 481.014072, Micah Victory Managing Broker Lic# 471.021837; Vacasa Louisiana LLC, Dana MacCord, Principal Broker, ph 504.252.0155 (Licensed in LA); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 602-330-9934; Vacasa Missouri LLC, Vicki Lyn Brown, Designated Broker; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC,45 NH-25, Meredith, NH 03253, Susan Scanlon, Broker of Record; Vacasa Minnesota, Broker: Micah Victory, license #40877637; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Oregon LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc., California DRE #01523013, Mark Graham, California DRE #00700720; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Texas, Debra Brock, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Washington, Robert Brush, Designated Broker); Vacasa Seasonals Inc., California DRE #02160171, Lisa Renee Stevens, California DRE #01485234; Vacasa South Carolina LLC; Vacasa South Dakota LLC; Vacasa Tennessee LLC; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Hawaii LLC, 69-201 Waikoloa Beach Dr. Ste. #2F17, Waikoloa, HI 96738; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Montana LLC, Terah M. Young, Licensed Property Manager; Vacasa Virginia LLC; Vacasa Wisconsin LLC; Vacasa Wyoming LLC. In Canada, this advertisement is provided by Vacasa Canada ULC, CPBC lic. number 75826, 172 Asher Rd. V1X 3H6 Kelowna, BC.