Are vacation rentals in Panama City Beach a good investment?

7 things to do before investing in a Panama City Beach vacation home

There’s more to Panama City Beach than 27 miles of spectacular coastline, aquamarine waters, and bottlenose dolphins playing in the surf. It’s also an area brimming with vacation investment opportunities.

Located along the Gulf of Mexico in Northwest Florida, Panama City Beach is the quintessential warm-weather destination with an average of 320 days of sunshine. Every year, travelers fill up this city’s hotels and vacation rentals to bask in subtropical temperatures, dine on fresh-caught seafood, and fill their days with endless fun.

Before you invest in a vacation home in Panama City Beach to get your share of these bookings, here are seven things to do:

1. Understand Panama City Beach visitors

While Panama City Beach has universal appeal, it’s especially popular with:

  • Families drawn to its expansive beaches and family-friendly attractions, including amusement parks and mini golf courses.
  • Nature enthusiasts who want to swim, fish, birdwatch, hike, and bike in the area’s lush local and state parks, like St. Andrews State Park.
  • Spring breakers who descend on the area’s ivory sands every March and April.

Understanding who is likely to book your vacation rental can help you market to them better. For example, you might want to purchase safety gates, child locks, and a playpen to make your home more child-friendly.

2. Get the lay of the land

There’s plenty of real estate to invest in beyond the beach. From bungalows in gated resort communities to shorefront homes on Lake Powell, options abound for vacation house hunters.

Plus, different neighborhoods tend to attract different travelers. For example, Lower Grand Lagoon—the epicenter for entertainment, dining, and adventure tours—is a popular area for visitors wanting the full Panama City Beach experience. Meanwhile, Long Beach is ideal for families who want to stay close to Shipwreck Island Waterpark, ZooWorld Zoological and Botanical Conservatory, and mini golf courses.

3. Get familiar with local vacation rental regulations

More and more destinations have rules and regulations that vacation homeowners must abide by. Before signing for a Panama City Beach investment property, make sure you know all the rules concerning vacation rentals—within the city, the neighborhood, and in the resort community or condo building you’re looking at. You don’t want to book your first guests only to discover that your HOA doesn’t allow short-term rentals or forbids third-party vacation rental property managers.

To make things easier, Vacasa has local property management staff in Panama City Beach who are knowledgeable about local regulations.

4. Know where and when the traffic is

Every popular destination can attest—the more travelers, the more traffic there is. Panama City Beach is no exception. The closer you get to the beach during prime time, the longer visitors should prepare to spend driving, even if a few blocks away. While you may not be able to avoid traffic entirely because of Panama City Beach’s popularity, you can be upfront with your guests on the best and worst times to travel within the city. Even better, look for properties that offer great walkability so you can use it as a selling point.

5. Plan for regular maintenance

Sand, salt, and sun can all wreak havoc on your Panama City Beach property. Consistent preventative maintenance—especially measures specific for beach homes—is vital to keep your vacation home in tip-top shape. Here are some ways to preserve your home (and possibly even increase its value):

  • Regularly (and thoroughly) clean your home to prevent buildup of mildew and mold, even during off-season.
  • Pressure wash your home’s exterior twice a year.
  • Inspect your roof twice a year.
  • Varnish any wood every season.
  • Wash salt off the windows every season.
  • Replace HVAC filters every three months.
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6. Know how to combat pests

Come June (the start of rainy season in Panama City Beach), you’ll start to see some unwelcome visitors—mosquitoes and yellow flies. As the temperatures rise and humidity increases, pest populations can also boom. Keep things under control to keep your vacation rental occupied and your guests happy. Some precautions to take:

  • Invest in quarterly pest control.
  • Keep your outdoor gardens and landscaping clear of decaying vegetation (where pests like to lay their eggs).
  • Make sure you don’t have any standing water around your property, from birdbaths to flowerpots.

7. Prepare for storms

It’s no secret that Panama City Beach—along with many other destinations along the Gulf of Mexico—often experiences intense weather. Storms can hinder travel plans and throw off your rental income projections. Some ways to minimize the damage to your profits and your property:

  • Invest in flood and hurricane coverage, in addition to your standard vacation rental insurance.
  • Hire a vacation rental management company that can help prepare your home for storms and inspect for any damage afterward (if you work with Vacasa, our local Panama City Beach team can do this as part of our full-service property management).

Panama City Beach can be the dream destination for both travelers and savvy investors looking for promising profit potential. Lean on this list to prepare for both the opportunities and challenges that come with a vacation home in this region. Want to maximize your investment even more? Working with the right local vacation rental manager—like Vacasa—can mean standing out from the competition, getting more 5-star reviews, and earning top dollar every night.

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California licenses
Vacasa Seasonals Inc.
California DRE #02160171

Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc.
California DRE #01523013

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.

* Sources:
National Association of Realtors: Top Vacation Home Counties
National Association of Realtors: Vacation Homes are Getting a Pandemic Boost

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.