Salty sea breezes. Epic orange sunsets. The sound of waves lapping onto the sand. It’s little wonder that waking up in a beach house is every traveler’s dream. It’s also a dream of smart investors hoping to capitalize on people’s endless desire to stay on the coast.
From the sun-drenched shores of San Diego to the family-friendly Outer Banks in North Carolina, our real estate experts know what it takes for a beachfront vacation rental to have profit potential. Before purchasing that beach haven you’ve always wanted, here are their tips to help you choose the right property for your investment portfolio.
While gorgeous coastlines may be plentiful, worthwhile beach vacation rentals are not. A beach investment property can be a fantastic earner. Generally, tourists shell out more and pay a premium to stay at the beach over inland destinations. Purchasing a vacation rental in one of the popular beach towns or right on the beach could drive your rates up even higher. During peak season, it’s not uncommon for beach homes to be booked out entirely, opening up opportunities to offset your mortgage and expenses.
People have been drawn to the coast for decades, whether it’s for the calming warm sand, the soothing sounds and sights of water, or the exhilarating ocean air in your lungs. Not to mention the seemingly endless opportunity for physical activity—surfing, swimming, paddleboarding, boating, biking, and more. Being close to the ocean can be an asset to your well-being. And, it can also be an asset to your investment portfolio, with so many travelers willing to indulge in a few days of that beach life. Buying a beach house means not only having a seaside hamlet for you to escape to, but also opening a door for others to do so.
Family beach bonfires at sunset. Early morning jogs on the shore with your dog. Bodyboarding or sunbathing with sand in your hair. What can possibly top this? Having your own beach house to make it all happen. “There’s no better place to stash your water toys, such as paddle boards, surf boards, kayaks, and beach cruisers,” says Maria Dudley, Vacasa Real Estate’s sales manager in Florida’s Emerald Coast. Investing in a vacation property at the beach can provide opportunities for not just making more money, but also making wonderful new memories. Select a property that’s a short drive away and plan for impromptu weekends away to the coast. Or, if you opt for a destination further away, your beach house or condo can save you money on travel accommodations.
If you want to increase the odds of commanding top rates for your vacation rental, it could pay to consider an area that features more than just sand and shore. Think spacious beach boardwalks with restaurants, shops, parks, and family-friendly activities. These types of coastal vacation spots draw more travelers than those without fun attractions.
As with any vacation rental investment, location is vital and can be the biggest factor that determines how much rental income you can make. It could be worthwhile to invest in a waterfront property that opens right to the beach versus a home that is blocks away. These properties are generally more sought after by guests, can command higher rates, and are easier to market. Plus, guests may be attracted more to beach homes that are easily accessible by bus or train and provide easy parking.
For many destinations, peak season is during warm, summer months. During this high-demand period, you may expect back-to-back reservations and consistent rental income. During the off-season, it’s likely those bookings will hit a lull. Try not to depend on a single season of income. “Consider beaches that draw visitors throughout the year or that have consistent warm temps and sunny days,” says Lauren Allen, a Vacasa principal broker in Alabama. These include destinations like Florida, Southern California, or Alabama.
It’s important to note that several beach destinations may not be obvious year-round gems until you take a closer look. For example, the blustery Oregon Coast continues to lure tourists even in the winter, with its dramatic opportunities for storm watching. Partner with a local real estate expert who truly understands the area and the highs and lows in demand.
With the right amenities, your beach rental can stand out from the others and maximize your property’s earning potential. According to Dudley and Allen, here are a few amenities to consider:
With a well-kept property, in a popular destination, with sought-after amenities—yes, it’s possible for a vacation rental to pay for itself by offsetting your mortgage and other expenses. A great place to start your search is our list of the top 25 places to buy a vacation home, which highlights markets that generally deliver a good return on your investment, along with median home prices. Plus, we have found that vacation rentals that are pet-friendly and offer hot tubs generally see higher bookings.
Start with your favorite stretch of coastline. One of the perks of owning a beach home is having your own seaside retreat to escape to. Then, consider our list of top 25 places to buy a vacation home that shows destinations that typically deliver a good return on investment. You’ll see a variety of beach destinations here (such as the Outer Banks, North Carolina and Dauphin Island, Alabama) that can help guide your search. It’s also a smart investment strategy to consider beach locales that draw visitors year-round and that offer attractions such as fun beach boardwalks, dining, shopping, and other family-friendly activities.
Many amenities can boost your beach rental bookings. The closer you are to the beach, the better your profit potential. Rentals with ocean views tend to command a higher rate than those without. A pool—whether private or included in the condo community—is considered a top amenity for beach-goers. Same goes for outdoor living space, hot tubs, boat docks or slips, parking, and an outdoor shower to wash off after a day on the beach.
Looking for an expert to help you buy the right beach house? Reach out to our real estate team.
Once you’re purchased your beach home, a full-service property manager like Vacasa will make sure you get more R&R, too (reservations and rental income, that is).
Call 866-847-9186 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.
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 Delaware LLC, 302-541-8999; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Louisiana L.L.C. (licensed in Louisiana); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 947-800-5979; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC, P.O. Box 283, Conway NH 03818, Dave Grant, Broker of Record; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan E. Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacasa Real Estate Corporation, California DRE #02105811, Joseph Czapkowicz, California DRE #01380722; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Colorado, Daned Kirkham); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Idaho, Oregon, and Utah); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Tennessee, 615-671-9916); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Washington, Robert Brush, Designated Broker); Vacasa South Carolina LLC; Vacasa Tennessee LLC; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Hawaii LLC, 3350 Lower Honoapiilani Road, Suite 600, Lahaina, HI 96761; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Montana LLC, Patrice Tompkins, 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.
First-party search data from Vacasa.com, January 1–December 18, 2020
Wall Street Journal: For a Few Destinations, Tourism is Doing Better than Ever
Wall Street Journal: The Emerald Coast Emerges as Florida’s Crown Jewel
Forbes: The 20 Places Americans are Dreaming of Right Now
This document is for information and illustrative purposes only. It is not intended to provide “investment advice” or a “recommendation” regarding a course of action. The discussion is general in nature and has not taken into account your personal financial position or objectives. You should consult a licensed financial advisor or other professional to discuss your specific situation.
The ability to rent out a vacation rental property is subject to local market regulations and restrictions.