Where to Buy a Vacation Rental Home

By: Kristin Dorsett

So you've made up your mind to get into the vacation rental business. Where should you buy a property?

Christine Karpinski, author of the books How to Rent Vacation Properties by Owner and Profit from Your Vacation Home Dream, suggests that 'anywhere in the US' is a good place to buy. This is because within almost every major metropolitan city, there is a vacation spot within a two hour drive.

Karpinski says, 'If you live in Atlanta you can go to the North Georgia Mountains, you can go to Tennessee, maybe even Florida. If you live in New York City, you can go to Cape Cod, the Poconos, or Upstate New York. If you live in LA, you can go to Big Bear, maybe even Palm Desert.' So pretty much, if you buy property in a vacation area that's within two hours of a big city, you'll probably be making a sound investment.

In her podcast, Intro to Vacation Rentals, Karpinski gives the example of Chicago. 'People know about the lakes as a vacation spot,' she says. 'But don't realize that there are vacation homes for rent in the more remote locations Illinois and Indiana.'

Often owners of second homes in remote locations don't think that anyone would want to rent their home. To that Karpinski replies, 'Well you bought it and enjoy it, so why wouldn't someone else? It's a refuge from the city, so don't automatically assume that somebody's not going to want to rent it.'

The one thing that you definitely need to check into before buying a vacation rental home is whether or not there are short-term or vacation rental bans effective in the area.

So the gist is: Choose a vacation property in a location that you enjoy and there will likely be a pool of renters who'll enjoy it as well.

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