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Owning a Vacation Rental

Posted by Geordie Romer on July 6, 2006

A frequent request we get is a buyer who wants to buy a vacation home, but would like to rent it out when they aren’t using it.
It sounds like a great idea in theory, but rarely works out. First of all you need to consider zoning. In the city limits of Leavenworth nightly rentals are only legal in commercially zoned areas. There are a few houses in the commercial zones, but mostly this means buying a condo. It’s not the cabin that most folks dream of, but it is easier to rent and to maintain.
The next thing to consider is management. To make money you need to advertise, book, and clean your property. Most absentee owners pay a management company to handle this. Fees locally run 40-50% of the lodging cost. Without the advertising and booking services, your rental will sit empty. There is lots of competition for rental properties, a website alone won’t do the trick.
Do you plan to use your property? On the weekends? Holidays? That’s when the paying customers want to use it too. If you work weekends and holidays and plan on coming over mid-week or during the slow seasons between summer and skiing, then you might be ok. The other thing to think about your personal use is the cleaning fee. Your management company will probably charge you to clean your house after you visit.
In purchasing a vacation property you need to make the decision, is this an income producing property or a vacation property for me and my family? Rarely can a property be both.



    If you’re planning to buy a home in this area, the best place to start is with the Leavenworth Home Buyer’s Guide.

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