In 1985, Brian Goode decided to reinvent himself.
He sold his successful residential rental real estate business in Atlanta, and started a years-long journey to figure out what he was going to do next.
“In a kind of crazy way, I ended up down on Hilton Head,” he said. “I bought half of what was probably the smallest vacation rental company there in 1991. And in eight years, we grew it into the largest manager on the island.”
After selling that business, Brian’s refocused his vacation rental business aspirations. In 2005, he used his experience and local know-how to found his own company, Goode Vacation Rentals. Soon, his service had a local reputation of outstanding care for luxury homes and well-appointed condos.
When Brian decided to retire in 2021, he needed to make sure he could find a company that could do right by his employees, owners and bottom line—as well as his legacy.
“Owning a vacation rental company is like owning a really disjointed hotel,” Brian told us. “You've got two bosses: your homeowners and your guests. Their expectations don't always coincide, but they're always very high.”
After decades of working with both parties, Brian knew that whomever he sold his business to would have to understand the value that the right people bring to a vacation rental operation.
“Generating revenue is always a challenge, but service and communication are the weak spots for a lot of rental companies,” he said. “I always felt like my employees were my biggest assets, not the properties we managed. They were the key to my business.”
When considering selling Goode Vacation Rentals, Brian wanted the value and potential to be a holistic reflection of that business. That meant factoring his great team and the trust they’d built with their homeowners and guests.
“I felt that when you buy Goode Vacation Rentals, it's very important that you keep the staff, because our staff is 10 out of 10—and our clientele really value and recognize them,” he added.
But the potential buyers who approached him left something to be desired.
“Three or four times a year, I would get an inquiry from someone asking about my exit plan,” Brian said. “Virtually all of them were investment groups that might have owned a few other rental companies, or none at all.”
When Brian looked at the future of his business—and considered passing it down to his stepdaughter—he realized he needed to look at the future of the industry, too.
“About five years ago, I had dinner with the managing director of an influential private equity firm,” Brian began. “He said they had been interested in buying a major vacation rental listing site, but they couldn't figure out a way to scale the company.”
“He asked me: ‘Can your industry be scaled at all?’” Brian recalled. “I replied, ‘Definitely. But the trick is to not scale everything.’"
Brian told him there was one company he thought had cracked that code.
“I said, Vacasa is doing it right. You can scale marketing, which is huge, because that's nearly 40% of the operating budget,” he said. “But you have to keep the local property managers, because there's got to be a dedicated relationship with the homeowners and guests.”
A few years later, Brian got a call from Vacasa’s acquisitions team. They asked the same question the other investment groups had before. But this time, Brian saw an opportunity.
“The people I had spoken with before hadn't figured it out,” Brian said. “I realized I wouldn’t sell to anybody unless it was a company that had successfully scaled their business.”
“Who did I have in front of me?” he continued. “The largest vacation rental company in North America with tens of thousands of units, thousands of employees, and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. The more I looked into Vacasa, the more I realized that this truly could be a mutually beneficial deal.”
And just like that, Brian began reinventing himself again.
He connected with Vacasa’s acquisitions department and began the process to sell Goode Vacation Rentals.
“I have a background in negotiating, and the Vacasa team was excellent,” he reported. “I didn’t get bad vibes anywhere along the line, which is natural in negotiated deals. It was all very professional.”
As for the personnel side of the business, Brian was happy to see that Vacasa recognized the singular expertise of his staff. During the integration process, Vacasa offered all of Brian’s employees jobs. Plus, Vacasa’s compensation and benefit packages were as good or better than those at Goode Vacation Rentals.
“Some of my best employees stayed on with Vacasa—including my stepdaughter, who’s been working in the industry since she was 15 years old,” said Brian.
And a year on from the transition, Brian has seen that Vacasa’s organization has impacted their work in other beneficial ways, too.
“Now, my staff is even more available than they’d been even at Goode Vacation Rentals,” he told us. “Vacasa is a more robust organization, which means other people can cover the things that were secondary and tertiary responsibilities my team had to cover in the past.”
Vacasa’s integrations team worked closely with Brian, his stepdaughter and the entire Goode Vacation Rentals team to make the transition as smooth as possible.
“The person who led the integration was great,” he said. “She was easy to work with, and knew what she was doing. She was the key to the success of the integration. Overall, I’d rate the experience with great marks.”
In fact, Brian was so satisfied with his sale to Vacasa that he advised others to follow in his footsteps.
“I recently helped another owner of a vacation rental company in Texas see the value of selling to Vacasa,” he began. “I told them the reason I sold: Vacasa has successfully scaled in this industry to the point where they're the largest rental company in North America. And they’ve found great success doing that. To my mind, you’re going to get the best offer from the experts, especially when you consider the other kinds of buyers you’d encounter.”
“I also told them that Vacasa is honest, but it's more than that,” he continued. “They’re professional. Vacasa will work to make the deal as painless as possible from acquisition to closing. They're on your team."
Now Brian can refocus his energy on more creative pursuits. A seasoned woodworker, Brian spends more time crafting fine furniture in his shop, and plays with his band at private parties around Hilton Head.
He’s also got a fabulous cruise lined up in the fall. But, as Dorothy would say, there’s no place like home.
“I did an eight mile bike ride this morning—the scenery here is absolutely beautiful. To be honest, it’s hard to leave Hilton Head,” he laughed.
How we helped one Vacasa homeowner share her “happy place"
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How we helped one homeowner rent with ease—from 17+ hours away
How a Vacasa skeptic became one of our biggest believers
How an experienced vacation rental owner found a company she could truly trust
How one homeowner found a local management team as detail-oriented as she is
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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 Colorado LLC (Micah Victory); Vacasa Delaware LLC, 302-541-8999; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Louisiana LLC, Dana MacCord, Principal Broker, ph 504.252.0155 (Licensed in LA); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 947-800-5979; Vacasa Missouri LLC, Susan Scanlon, Designated Broker; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC,45 NH-25, Meredith, NH 03253, 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; Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc., California DRE #01523013, Mark Graham, California DRE #00700720; 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 Maine, Michael McNaboe, Designated Broker); 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, 3350 Lower Honoapiilani Road, Suite 600, Lahaina, HI 96761; 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.