With a shortage of new short-term rental properties, there should be two or more years of higher occupancy levels in these markets. If you’re buying a cabin for an Airbnb investment property, these favorable industry trends signal good potential for continued expansion.
The United States’ short-term (or vacation) rental market continues its impressive growth. In April 2021, rental unit occupancy levels reached 61.6%, the highest April figure in the industry’s history, according to AirDNA, a recognized industry data analytics firm. Rural/small city and resort/destination markets have experienced especially high demand in 2020 and 2021.
Building vs Buying a Cabin for an Airbnb Investment Property
Once you have chosen to jump into the short-term cabin rental market, decide whether to build your own cabin or purchase an existing one. Carefully weigh each option’s pros and cons before making a final decision.
New Construction: The Upsides
By building your own rental cabin, you can select your own size, configuration, and features. Many cabin construction companies offer an online library of home plans in varied sizes and price ranges. If you’d rather opt for a custom-built cabin, your home builder should accommodate your preferences and budget.
Your newly built cabin will be required to conform to updated building code and energy efficiency requirements. When completed, the home will also offer the latest appliances and will likely be wired for Wi-Fi connectivity. Taken together, these desirable attributes will help to raise the cabin’s resale value.
New Construction: The Downsides
At the same time, building a new cabin can present several disadvantages. First, some mountain-region owners choose difficult-to-access building sites. As a result, heavy equipment and materials suppliers may have a tough time reaching these locations, even in good weather.
Logistically, building a home involves a complex web of building permits, contractors, materials, and unforeseen obstacles and delays. The entire process can grind to a halt when a key contractor (such as electrical, plumbing, or roofing) is suddenly unavailable.
Under the best conditions, building your new cabin will take a minimum of seven months. If bad weather, human error, or unplanned delays become a factor, the process will take even longer. In addition, a longer construction time means higher building costs. The net effect: a significant cash outlay with no firm date on which you can begin collecting rental income.
Buying an Existing Cabin: The Upside
Purchasing an existing cabin provides you with two major advantages. First, the process takes approximately three months from start to finish. This is a much faster process than the seven-month (or longer) home construction cycle. The shorter home acquisition time means you can begin to generate rental income more quickly.
Buying an Existing Cabin: The Downsides
There are two disadvantages to purchasing an existing home. First, realize that the original owner had the cabin built to satisfy their own preferences. Therefore, you won’t be able to check off every item on your “dream home” wish list.
In addition, purchasing an existing cabin may mean you’ll need to pay for repairs and/or upgrades. Depending on the projects’ scope, your cash outlay may be higher than that of a new home.
5 Tips for Managing Your Cabin Rental
Buying a cabin for investment involves much more than simply purchasing the property. By keeping the home maintained, and keeping your guests happy, you’re in a good position to build a successful short-term cabin rental business. View these five easy-to-follow cabin rental guidelines.
Automate Your Check-ins and Check-outs
By automating guest check-ins and check-outs, guests can arrive when it’s convenient for them. Lockboxes and smart locks make this a simple process. If you manage these interactions badly, guests may leave you negative reviews.
Keep Your Cabin Clean and Sanitized
With the COVID-19 pandemic still a concern, guests want their rental cabin to be squeaky clean and well sanitized. Contact a top-tier cleaning service, and ask for client referrals before you hire the company.
Hire Reliable Local Contractors
If you live outside of the area, find a reliable home maintenance contractor to be your contact person. Make it easy for guests to contact this capable professional about any maintenance-related problems.
Install a Home Security System
A good home security system will protect your cabin against burglaries. A typical system includes burglar alarms, security cameras, motion detectors, and motion lights. Choose a system that will alert your smartphone about attempted break-ins.
Keep Your Cabin Listing Updated
Create a professional-looking listing that really shows off your cabin’s advantages. Include any perks your competitors don’t offer. For the best overall presentation, hire a skilled copywriter who can help potential guests visualize themselves staying there.
Launch Your Cabin Rental Business
To get your cabin rental business up and running, follow this five-step process. Whether you offer a simple cabin in the woods, or a multi-level home with plenty of bells and whistles, the steps are essentially the same.
Select a Scenic Location
Choose a beautiful natural setting that guests will enjoy. At the same time, consider the property’s distance to local conveniences and attractions.
Consider Income and Expenses
Determine whether you can afford the property even when guest income has slacked off. To do that, learn about the area’s typical vacation rental fees and occupancy rates. Compare these numbers to your monthly mortgage and operational costs.
Finance your Airbnb Investment Property
If paying cash isn’t an option, consider several types of financing vehicles. Typical financing methods include a portfolio loan, a conforming loan, or a short-term loan.
Hire Good Local Contractors
If you will manage your own cabin rental, hire reliable home maintenance and landscaping contractors. If you don’t live nearby, a property manager can handle these services.
Market Your Vacation Rental
Attracting guests begins with a coordinated marketing strategy. Besides listing the property on Airbnb, or any other vacation rental sites- its good to establish a presence on targeted social media channels.
Staying abreast of short-term cabin rental trends, and adjusting your strategy accordingly, will set the stage for your success. Finally, by keeping your cabin well maintained and updated, you’ll make a favorable impression on potential guests.
Need places to shop for your new cabin property decor? Check out our article Log Cabin Decor: The 8 Best Places to Shop Online, along with tips on how to decorate your cabin.